64 Organizations Call for Hearing on Bustos Bill

Washington – More than 60 organizations have called for a hearing on Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ (IL-17) bipartisan, bicameral Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2019. In a letter sent to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which builds on the legislation’s growing momentum, the group expressed support for the bill, which would create a federal grant program to empower states and local governments to tackle persistent economic and social conditions — like limited access to health care providers, stable housing, reliable transportation and healthy foods — that often hinder health outcomes.

Calling the bill a “critical step to overcome these challenges and move the ball forward,” the letter was signed by 64 health care stakeholders from across the nation. The Congresswoman introduced this legislation with Representatives Tom Cole (OK-04), Jim McGovern (MA-02) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05).

“Fresh food, affordable health care and safe housing are all critical to a happy, healthy life. As more and more Illinoisans face increasing quality of life challenges, I was proud to introduce the Social Determinants Accelerator Act to tackle the persistent conditions that impact our overall health,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “It’s time we deliver innovative solutions for our communities and I’m pleased to see this bill continue to gain support.”

“Clearly there is a widely recognized need for greater coordination in our efforts to address the social determinants of health, as shown by the 64 organizations – representing all aspects of healthcare, local governments, and a wide range of nonprofits working to address housing, transportation, food and other social challenges – that have joined together in sending this letter,” said Krista Drobac, Co-Chair of Aligning for Health. “We applaud and thank the sponsors of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act for their bipartisan, bicameral leadership in advancing this important legislation.”

BACKGROUND

Economic and social conditions have a powerful impact on our health and wellness. Stable housing, reliable transportation and access to healthy foods are all factors that can make a difference in the prevention and management of many health conditions like diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Known as social determinants of health, a focus on these non-medical factors can improve health outcomes and wellbeing.

The Social Determinants Accelerator Act will help states and communities develop strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of families, especially those participating in Medicaid. The bill would make up to $25 million available to state, local and tribal governments to develop plans to target social determinants that are negatively impacting high-need patients. Additionally, the legislation would provide technical assistance to grantees to help them implement plans and identify federal authorities, opportunities and strategies to tackle health care challenges.

The full letter in support can be found here, a one-pager on the bill can be found here and a section-by-section can be found here.

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