U.S. House Lawmakers Urge Passage of Bill That Aims To Reduce Minority Health Disparities, Increase Access to Care
House lawmakers at a press conference on Thursday introduced a bill that seeks to end racial and ethnic health disparities and increase minorities' access to care, CQ HealthBeat reports.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), includes the same provisions as a bill (S 1576) sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), such as:
- Providing grants to increase the number of minority health professionals;
- Funding local minority health programs that target a specific disparity;
- Conducting research to highlight disparities; and
- Reducing language barriers in health care services.
The House bill also would ensure Medicaid coverage for children of low-income, documented immigrants and contains provisions for language services, according to CQ HealthBeat. At the briefing, Solis and Del. Donna M.C. Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) urged passage of the House bill over the Senate version.
One of the House bill's "major challenges to passage is the cost," though "supporters say Congress can ill afford not to pass the bill," CQ HealthBeat reports. Christensen said that "passing this bill will not be easy and we will have only one bite at the apple." Sixty-eight lawmakers have signed on in support of the bill, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has committed to moving the legislation forward but not to a specific timetable for doing so, Solis said (CQ HealthBeat, 6/28). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.