Congressman García Introduces Five Health Equity Bills

December 17, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC - Today Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) introduced a suite of five health equity bills aimed at reducing health disparities for communities of color. The bills are part of the larger Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2020 introduced in April by Congressman García and the Tri-Caucus.

“COVID-19 does not discriminate, and yet, Black and Latino community members continue to contract the virus and die at higher rates. The impact of cuts in services and food insecurity also fall disproportionately on working class neighborhoods. In Chicago, one’s zip code determines exposure, access to care, the chances to live or die, and that must change,” said Congressman García. “People should not go hungry or face barriers to health care simply because they cannot afford it. I’m introducing these bills to create a more inclusive, equitable health care system to ensure working people have access to life saving services. If we are serious about addressing this unprecedented public health emergency, we must urgently end disparities in health outcomes for Black, Latino, and marginalized communities and provide access to the affordable, quality health care we all need and deserve.”

Descriptions of the bills can be found below:

  • Health Workforce Diversity Act

Establishes grants to Hispanic-serving health professions schools, Historically Black Colleges & Universities, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions, Tribal Colleges, Regional community-based organizations and national minority medical associations, for counseling, mentoring and information on scholarships and financial assistance to recruit underrepresented minority individuals to enroll in and graduate from health professions schools.

  • Health and Nutrition Access for All Act

Removes eligibility restrictions based on immigration status for individuals who are lawfully present to access coverage and benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program.

  • Removing Barriers to SNAP Act

Reinstates food stamp benefits to individuals with drug-related convictions.

  • Inclusive Clinical Trials Act

Requires coverage of routine patient costs associated with participation in approved clinical trials, consistent with the benefits that would be provided under the State plan if the patient was not enrolled in an approved clinical trial.

  • Inclusive Diabetes Research & Education Act

Requires the HHS Secretary, acting through the Director of CDC to: (1) enhance the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to better understand the prevalence of diabetes in certain populations and to educate the public on the causes and effects of diabetes in minority populations; (2) direct the Division of Diabetes Translation to carry out demonstration projects for diabetes prevention, develop a strategic plan to reduce diabetes in minority populations, support the implementation of the National Diabetes Prevention Program in underserved areas highly impacted by diabetes; (3) educate the public on the causes and effects of diabetes in minority populations; and (4) carry out diabetes health promotion and prevention programs for minority populations.

Congressman García previously introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2020 on behalf of the Congressional Tri-Caucus to reform our health system and ensure that historically marginalized communities and communities who face health disparities receive the health services they need to thrive. The legislation reforms policies and expands federal health care resources for racial and ethnic minorities, as well as other underserved populations who face discrimination and barriers to care due to their immigration status, sex, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and English proficiency.