WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) participated in The Atlantic Festival where she joined staff writer, Vann R. Newkirk II, on stage as part of a discussion on “Health Equity in America.” Specifically, Congresswoman Bustos and Newkirk covered Bustos’ Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2019. This legislation 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.

“I introduced this legislation to help tackle the countless conditions that impact our ability to lead a healthy, happy life,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “After working in health care administration for a decade, I knew this was an issue that needed to be addressed. In Illinois, I’ve seen firsthand everything from physician shortages in rural areas to food deserts. But, I know there are many more major health challenges that persist across our country. It’s time for Congress to finally act and that’s why this bill takes a data-driven, community-based approach to solve these issues in order to bring down costs and improve overall health outcomes.”

Click HERE for photos of the conversation.


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.