Obama administration ties MLK to healthcare reform

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius marked Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday Monday with a blog "tribute" praising the healthcare reform law. Sebelius called the Obama administration's healthcare efforts a "fitting tribute" to King, who once called health disparities in America "the most shocking and inhumane" form of injustice.

"When the average African-American child born today will live five fewer years than the average white child, with a greater likelihood of illness, we are still falling far short of Dr. King's vision," Sebelius wrote. "But in the last year, we have made great progress. With the passage of the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, we took the most important step to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities that our nation has seen in the last 40 years."

Sebelius in her blog post highlighted provisions of the new law that could help to reduce disparities, such as expanding access to 32 million uninsured Americans, focusing on prevention and screening and investing in data collection and research about disparities.

She also drew attention to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that details how blacks, Hispanics and American Indians continue to fare far worse than whites in many health categories.