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U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asked black pastors and clergy members to help the administration fight what she called “mistruths” about the health care reform law President Barack Obama signed into law last year.

Sebelius, addressing crowd of over 5,000 at the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference Tuesday night, said that black churches had a key role to play in helping to drum up support for the law, which has ignited controversy.”As faith leaders you have a unique ability to reach people, especially the most vulnerable populations,” Sebelius said. “No one can do more to arm your communities with tools and information.”

Sebelius said that too many blacks were still uninsured and that gaps in coverage affect the economy. “Racial and ethnic disparities cost our economy more than $300 billion in economic activity,” she said. In the speech Sebelius compared the Administration’s battle for health care reform to the civil rights movement, referencing the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. several times, who was a past speaker at the 97th annual event.

“Dr. King once said that of all the forms of injustice, the disparities in health were the most shocking and the most inhumane,” Sebelius said.

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