WASHINGTON, DC (July 21, 2021) – Aligning for Health, a coalition of leading health insurers, providers, and vendors, is thrilled that Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Tom Cole (R-OK), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) have launched the bipartisan Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus.
Economic and social conditions have a powerful impact on our health and wellness. Known as social determinants of health, a focus on these non-medical factors can improve health outcomes and well-being, address disparities, and increase our return on investment in both health and social services programs.
Congressional responsibility for programs to address social determinants of health is divided among many committees and delivered across multiple federal agencies. The Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus will bring together Members of Congress from disparate jurisdictions to highlight opportunities for coordination across federal investments in health, public health, food, housing, transportation, and other important drivers of health.
Aligning for Heath applauds the leadership of Representatives Bustos, Cole, Butterfield, and Mullin in forming this caucus to break down the barriers that impede better coordination between health and social services programs. More information about the Caucus can be found here: www.CongressionalSDOHCaucus.org
“We are thrilled to see Reps. Bustos, Cole, Butterfield, and Mullin taking action on the growing evidence that social factors deeply impact health and wellbeing. This Caucus will catalyze important policy development that will ultimately improve wellbeing, health, and other positive outcomes in communities across the country.” – Krista Drobac, Co-Chair, Aligning for Health
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many deep disparities in our health system and greatly exacerbated the already persistent barriers to health that many families in Illinois and across our country face, such as a lack of access to fresh foods, affordable health care and safe housing to name just a few,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, (D-IL), Co-chair, Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus, “The Social Determinants of Health Caucus will serve as a platform for Congress and community leaders to come together to put forward the solutions we need to finally tackle these longstanding issues at the root. I’m pleased to join my bipartisan Co-Chairs Cole, Butterfield and Mullin today to launch this key initiative and foster strong partnerships moving forward.”
“I am delighted to join my colleagues in the Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus to develop strategies to address factors that adversely impact health outcomes and improve the well-being of Americans,” said Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK), Co-chair, Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus. “By focusing on these non-medical factors, we can work toward a healthier population and more efficient spending of federal and state health care dollars.”
“There is no denying there is a health disparities crisis in our country,” said Congressman Butterfield (D-NC), Co-chair, Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus. “Patients in minority, rural, and underserved communities experience higher incidences of disease and worse health outcomes than their peers. We know there isn’t a single cause for this disparity, but rather, many factors that contribute to the health of an individual. Congress must take a holistic, whole-person approach when considering policy solutions to address health disparities. I am proud to join my fellow co-chairs to launch the Social Determinants of Health Caucus, which will serve as a hub for collaboration and evidenced-based information sharing as Congress considers policy solutions to address these important issues.”
“Quality health care is more than just treating an illness, ailment, or chronic condition. Social determinants, or non-medical contributors, of health are an important part of our strategy to improve overall health and wellbeing of Americans. In order to improve health outcomes in the long run, we must look at the full picture of patients’ lives and address these social determinants of health. I am proud to join my colleagues in forming this caucus to work towards solutions that improve health care for all Americans.” – Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Co-chair, Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus
Additional Support for the Congressional SDOH Caucus
“A focused congressional SDOH Caucus will advance policies to bring communities, funding sources and organizations together to foster cross-sector partnerships to address issues like equity, poverty and affordable housing,” said John Lovelace, President, Government Programs, UPMC Health Plan. “Initiatives like UPMC Health Plan’s ‘Cultivating Health for Success’ to support unhoused members would not be possible without strong government and community collaboration – and this bipartisan Caucus will amplify these efforts, which impact communities in every congressional district in the country.”
“I am very glad to see the strong, bi-partisan support for the new Congressional SDOH Caucus,” said Len Nichols, Non-Resident Fellow at the Urban Institute and Professor Emeritus at George Mason University, “While lots of good work in SDOH has been occurring around the country recently, local assets and initiatives can be leveraged most effectively with targeted federal resources and rule changes. The best way to discover and enact them is on a bi-partisan basis.”
“Social factors — like where we live and work, and our access to healthy food and transportation — play a critical role in shaping Americans’ health and the health of our communities,” said Justine Handelman, senior vice president of the Office of Policy and Representation at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “We are thrilled to see Congress come together to form the Social Determinants of Health Caucus, whose work will put people and their needs first, allowing them to live longer, healthier lives. Thank you to Reps. Cheri Bustos, G.K. Butterfield, Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin, as we look forward to working with the caucus to advance health equity.”
“Improving health – especially in underserved places – requires a holistic approach to addressing interconnected health and non-medical challenges and adequate supports for community-based organizations that provide critical services to people who live in areas with high levels of health disparities,” said Julia Ryan, VP for Health Initiatives, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), “LISC applauds Representatives Bustos (D-IL), Cole (R-OK), Butterfield (D-NC), and Mullin (R-OK) for launching the Social Determinants of Health Caucus in an effort to better coordinate federal programs and resources across sectors, and for their commitment to eradicating barriers to health and well-being.”
We’re thrilled to see members of Congress coming together to find ways to accelerate progress on addressing social determinants of health and advancing health equity,” said Taylor Justice, Co-Founder and President of Unite Us. “At Unite Us, we believe that social care should be elevated to the same priority level as health care. New policies and better coordination of programs can accelerate the system transformation that’s underway in states around the country.
“At CareSource, we can attest to the critical need to support social determinants of health in order to improve physical and behavioral health and wellbeing. Improving the lives of individuals, families and communities cannot happen through isolated support systems,” explained Karin VanZant, Vice President, Integrated Community Partnerships at CareSource. “The founding of the bipartisan Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus is an imperative step to drive federal policies and funds to support healthier communities.”
“On average, 80 percent of a person’s health outcomes are determined by what happens in their community, outside the clinical setting. We cannot improve outcomes in our country unless we address these social determinants of health. The Y commends Representatives Bustos, Butterfield, Cole and Mullin for their leadership in forming the Social Determinants of Health Caucus and their commitment to improve coordination across federal departments and agencies, so that more people get the support they need to live their healthiest life.” – Kevin Washington, President and CEO, YMCA of the USA
“We applaud the Caucus leads for forming this Caucus. Bipartisan Congressional leadership is needed to help advance cross-cutting, impactful policy that will improve health outcomes. We need strong SDOH legislation in the Medicaid program, which will benefit our members and many others nationwide,” Dr. Gloria N. Eldridge, Divisional Vice President from the Health Care Service Corporation.
“This convening of the Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus by Representatives Cheri Bustos, Tom Cole, G.K. Butterfield and Markwayne Mullin is a hopeful movement for advancing policy at the federal level. The more we can find common ground to address conditions affecting quality-of-life risks and health outcomes where people live, the better those outcomes are addressed. As a result, it will also reduce the costs to address them. I encourage every individual and entity engaged in the well-being of Americans to back this Caucus.” – Erine Gray, Founder and CEO of Aunt Bertha
“Democratizing access to and use of data is critical in addressing social determinants of health,” said Ginger Zielinskie, Chief Strategy Officer at data.org. “I am thrilled that Representatives Bustos, Cole, Butterfield, and Mullin have launched the Congressional SDOH Caucus to advance data-driven policy that can lead better outcomes for all.”
“Signify Health applauds the creation of the bipartisan Social Determinants of Health Caucus and thanks Representatives Cheri Bustos, Tom Cole, G.K. Butterfield and Markwayne Mullin for their leadership on this important issue. As a company that enables outcomes-focused networks to address social determinants of health, Signify Health knows firsthand how social needs can impact a person’s health. We look forward to working with the Social Determinants of Health Caucus, and offering our expertise so that people can spend more happy, healthy days at home.” – Kim Holland, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs at Signify Health
About Aligning for Health – Aligning for Health members include: Alliance for Better Health, American Hospital Association, Aunt Bertha, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, CareSource, Centene, HCSC, Signify Health, UPMC Health Plan, and Unite Us.
Additional information about Aligning for Health may be found at www.AligningforHealth.org