Co-Chairs: Donna Christensen
Members: John Conyers, Edolphus Towns, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Bobby Scott, Danny Davis, David Scott, G.K. Butterfield, Hank Johnson, Marcia Fudge, Terri Sewell
The Healthcare Taskforce is chaired by Donna Christensen. The House Committees of jurisdiction for the Taskforce is the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The health care reform debate raises many complex issues including those of coverage, accessibility, cost, accountability, and quality of health care. Last Congress, with the support of the CBC, a major feat was accomplished with the passing (and subsequent signing into law) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Nearly every aspect of the Affordable Care Act positively impacts minority communities: from protecting those with preexisting conditions, ensuring dependent coverage, providing vital preventive services and care, making health care affordable for small businesses, and increasing Medicare benefit coverage. While this was a tremendous victory for all Americans, it was particularly important to the Black community.
It is necessary that the Caucus remain diligent in addressing these problems to holistically improve African American communities. Furthermore, it is important to protect health equity and the access to affordable healthcare. African Americans have long-suffered from poorer health and premature mortality as a direct result of their disproportionately high rates of uninsurance, HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and overweight and obesity, as well as from the social determinants of health that not only sustain, but that exacerbate racial and ethnic health disparities. Furthermore, it is important to protect health equity and the reliable access to affordable healthcare that this new law will ensure.
The Healthcare Taskforce works to improve the health and wellbeing of all Americans by putting forth common sense healthcare policy proposals. During the 112th Congress, the Taskforce will continue to use its influence to advocate for and protect the provisions and programs in the new heath care reform law germane to health equity. They include the following:
- Expanding access to health care to more than 30 million currently uninsured Americans;
- Empowering patients and their providers – not health care executives – to better collaborate around health care decisions;
- Protecting patients with strong consumer protections;
- Supporting and collaborating with the new Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at NIH and the new Offices of Minority Health across HHS;
- Working with health equity advocates and researchers across the nation to reduce racial and ethnic, as well as gender and geographic health disparities;
- Strengthening the racial and ethnic diversity in the health workforce;
- Strengthening Medicare and Medicaid to ensure that our nation’s most medically and financially needy residents have access to reliable, affordable, high-quality health care; and
- Bolstering data collection efforts to ensure that standardized data around race and ethnicity are collected and reported.
Additionally, the Healthcare Taskforce will continue to work with colleagues within the Tricaucus to ensure that the issue of health equity and the improvement of minority health remain on the national radar. The applicable portions of the House of Representatives Rule X for this taskforce’s jurisdiction are as follows:
Committee on Energy and Commerce.
(1) Biomedical research and development.
(3) Health and health facilities (except health care supported by payroll deductions).
(12) Public health and quarantine.