November is Native American Heritage month. It’s a time to celebrate the rich history, culture, and traditions of American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), and elevate the many contributions they have made to our nation. But to truly honor American Indians and Alaska Natives, we must work together to eliminate the profound health inequities AI/AN people face, and ensure that our government honors their treaty responsibilities to ensure the health and welfare of these communities.
Hispanic Heritage Month provides us an opportunity to recognize and lift up the achievements and contributions of the 57.5 million Latinos living in the United States. At the same time, it’s important that we all understand the challenges that Latinos face so we can work together to address them, because their well-being and success are inextricably linked to the well-being, success, and future prosperity of the United States as a whole.
There has been an important and ongoing effort over the past decade to address the manifest failures of our health care system by changing payment and provider organization to reward value and not volume. But transformation efforts largely ignore one of our system’s most fundamental problems: persistent, extensive, severe, and costly health and health care inequities based on race, ethnicity, and geography, among other factors.
Congress and the Trump Administration Should Put Their Money Where Their Mouths Are on Gun Violence Research
Back in March, in the wake of just one in a long line of tragic and senseless mass shootings, Families USA organized a letter to Congress signed by more than 170 national and state organizations calling for an end to the “Dickey Amendment.” The Dickey Amendment, enacted by Congress in 1996, forbids any funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that “may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
Racial discrimination in the United States is pervasive and affects health outcomes and access to health care on multiple levels—from the interpersonal, to the institutional, to deeper structural divides. Such ingrained racism creates significant barriers for people of color, making it harder for them to get equal access to jobs, housing, education, and health care services.
Central to our core value that every single human being deserves an equitable chance to enjoy the best health possible is that no one is excluded. Not even if they were born outside of the United States. Not even if they lack the proper paperwork.
As health equity advocates we share a fundamental vision of a nation where every single human being has an equitable chance to enjoy the best health possible, no matter who they are—including where they were born. For us, it is not about being on the left or right of the political spectrum. Equal access to good health is an intrinsically human value.
Efforts to shift to a value-based health care system create an opportunity to improve the quality of care and health outcomes, save money for consumers and the health care system as a whole, and drive reductions in health disparities. But such positive outcomes from payment and delivery reform efforts are not guaranteed. There are some elements of this proposed rule that can help reduce health disparities, but a real commitment to health equity requires additional steps from CMS.
Connecticut just took an important step toward improving health outcomes for its most vulnerable residents. Earlier this summer, the governor signed a law that lays the foundation for the broader use and support of community health workers (CHWs).
Community health workers play a valuable role in helping people achieve better health. Because they are trusted community members, they are uniquely effective at connecting underserved communities to the health care system and helping people navigate social factors that pose barriers to good health. In doing so, CHWs help to improve health outcomes and narrow health disparities.
We know how the House Republican bill could affect people who get insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace and Medicaid. But what has been overlooked is how the bill, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), could affect the coverage people get through their jobs. In other words: The Republican bill could make everybody’s coverage worse.