Yesterday, the Biden Administration released plans to advance equity and racial justice through the federal government for a number of areas of interest, including health equity. Among the other areas for which equity plans were released are economic justice, educational equity, environmental justice, civil rights, criminal justice, housing justice and community investment, and global equity.
As stated in the plan, "A once-in-a-century pandemic highlighted and exacerbated pre-existing disparities in our health care system. President Biden took swift action to promote an equitable recovery from COVID-19 by lowering health care costs for millions of low-income families, advancing equitable vaccine distribution and access through partnerships with community-based organizations, and directing federal agencies to prevent anti-Asian xenophobia and bias as they responded to the pandemic. As our nation continues to recover from COVID-19, agencies are advancing health equity, addressing the social determinants of health, and expanding access to quality and affordable health care to meet the needs of underserved communities."
Three key points addressed in the Biden Administration's health equity plan are to expand health coverage and improve health outcomes for underserved communities; address disparities in nutrition security; and to serve as a model employer on health equity.
Regarding expanding health coverage and improving health outcomes for underserved communities, as part of this plan the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will provide targeted outreach to underserved communities to encourage enrollment in free and low-cost health care. Additionally, HHS will respond to the national maternal mortality crisis by addressing increased pregnancy and postpartum morbidity and mortality among Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native pregnant and childbearing people.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will address the social and economic determinants of health for underserved veterans, including veterans of color and veterans who live in rural communities where access to care is more limited.
In an attempt to address disparities in nutrition security, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will improve access to the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition assistance plan.
In addressing the administration's goal to serve as a model employer on health equity, the Office of Personnel Management will improve the process for selecting healthcare benefits plans and will aim to strengthen healthcare literacy among public servants.
Click here to access the Biden Administration's health equity plan, their other equity plans, and for more information.