Social Determinants and Health Disparities Legislation

Social Determinants Accelerator Act

Aligning for Health has been active in advocating for key legislative solutions to address social determinants, including through the introduction of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (H.R. 4004/S.2986).

Aligning for Health is proud to support the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in the House (H.R. 4004) by Reps. Bustos (D-IL), Cole (R-OK), McGovern (D-MA), and McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and in the Senate (S. 2986) by Sens. Young (R-IN) and Stabenow (D-MI).

The Social Determinants Accelerator Act will help states and communities devise strategies to better leverage existing programs and authorities to improve the health and well-being of those participating in Medicaid by creating an inter-agency social determinants council and providing planning grants and technical assistance to state, local and Tribal governments to help them devise innovative, evidence-based approaches to coordinate services and improve outcomes and cost-effectiveness.

Senate Finance Committee Response on Health Disparities

  • On July 8th, 2020, Aligning for Health sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chair Grassley (R-IA) in response to a request for input on steps the Committee can take to address health disparities.
  • AFH strongly supports the Committee’s efforts to assess and discuss what actionable steps Congress can take to improve access to, and the coordination of, public health, health care, and social services both during and after the public health emergency subsides.
  • AFH noted that the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (S. 2986/H.R. 4004) is a bipartisan, bicameral proposal that has been referred for consideration by the Senate Finance Committee and if passed, would take important steps toward improving the health of families on Medicaid by helping to address their social needs.

Senate HELP Response on Preparing for the Next Pandemic

  • On June 26th 2020, Aligning for Health sent a letter to Senate HELP Committee Chair Alexander (R-TN) in response to a request for information on  recommendations for creating a system of health care resiliency and preparing for the next pandemic.
  • AFH recommended strengthening medical and social care alignment, noting that social service networks are generally not connected to the health care system in a sustainable way.  Congress should take advantage of this moment to catalyze a large-scale effort to build community-based infrastructure that will efficiently allow health and social providers to collaborate while maintaining accountability among entities for better health outcomes.
  • AFH recommended that Congress take up consideration of a proposal to help states develop community integration networks. AFH described the need to provide seed funding to states to develop and launch community integration networks built around a lead entity and which connect payers, providers, community based organizations, and state agencies.

Senate Finance Committee Response on Maternal Health

  • On March 20, 2020, Aligning for Health sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee in response to a request for information on solutions to improve maternal health.
  • In its letter, AFH noted that the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (S. 2986/H.R. 4004) would provide funding for states and localities to design and tailor approaches and strategies that meet their residents’ needs, which could be focused on efforts to improve maternal health.

Ways and Means Response on Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force

  • On November 27, 2019, Aligning for Health sent a letter to the Ways and Means Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force in response to a request for information on November 15, 2019. In response to the RFI, AFH described barriers that impede coordination between health and social service programs, and the lack of comprehensive evidence around interventions focused on the social determinants of health, which limits the replicability or scaling of successful interventions.

The Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2020 Letter of Support

Aligning for Health is proud to endorse the Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2020 introduced by Rep. Barragan (D-CA), which would authorize the CDC to create a program to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequities by coordinating CDC social determinants of health activities and improve the capacity of public health agencies and community organizations to address social determinants of health.

 

CARING Act Letter of Support

Aligning for Health thanks Representatives Blunt Rochester (D-NY) and Bilirakis (R-FL) for introducing the Collecting and Analyzing Resources Integral and Necessary for Guidance (CARING) for Social Determinants Act of 2019. The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance for states to address social determinants of health under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This is an important bipartisan step in the right direction to help states address social determinants of health.

UNDERSTAND ACT Letter of Support

Aligning for Health is proud to support the introduction of S. 1323, the Utilizing National Data, Effectively Reforming Standards and Tools, to Address Negative Determinants of Health (UNDERSTAND) Act, which would improve the collection of data related to the social determinants of health for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

Read More about SDAA

Other Social Determinants Legislation

Here is a full list, updated regularly, of other pieces of legislation related to social determinants, health disparities, and health equity.

To see a full list of the legislation related to social determinants, health disparities, and health equity from the 116th Congress, click here.

House of Representatives

H.R. 56 – Patient Access to Medical Foods Act

  • Introduced by Rep. Biggs (R-AZ), this bill would amend the Orphan Drug Act with respect to the definition of medical food and expand access to these products, including to Medicare Part D and TRICARE patients.

H.R. 159 – Community Parks Revitalization Act

  • Introduced by Rep. Sires (D-NJ), this bill would authorize the Secretary of HUD to establish a program enabling communities to better leverage resources to address health, economic development, and conservation concerns through needed investments in parks, recreational areas, facilities, and programs.

H.R. 321 – FEMA Empowering Essential Deliveries (FEED) Act (bipartisan)*

  • Introduced by Rep. Thompson (D-CA) and 30 cosponsors, this bill would authorize the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to approve state, local, and Indian tribal government plans to partner with small and mid-size restaurants and nonprofit organizations to provide nutritious meals to individuals in need, and to waive certain matching fund requirements.

H.R. 379 – Improving Social Determinants of Health Act

  • Introduced by Rep. Barragan (D-CA) and 30 cosponsors, this bill would authorize the Director of the CDC to carry out a Social Determinants of Health Program to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequities by coordinating CDC social determinants of health activities, and would improve capacity of public health agencies and community organizations to address social determinants of health.

H.R. 433 – Family Support Services for Addiction Act (bipartisan)

    • Introduced by Reps. Trone (D-MD) and Meuser (R-PA), this bill would establish a grant program for family community organizations that provide support for individuals struggling with substance use disorder and their families.

Senate 

S. 19 – FEMA Empowering Essential Deliveries (FEED) Act (bipartisan)*

  • Introduced by Sen. Scott (R-SC) and eight cosponsors, this bill would authorize the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to approve state, local, and Indian tribal government plans to partner with small and mid-size restaurants and nonprofit organizations to provide nutritious meals to individuals in need, and to waive certain matching fund requirements.

House of Representatives

H.R. 79 – Nationally Enhancing the Wellbeing of Babies through Outreach and Research Now (NEWBORN) Act

  • Introduced by Rep. Cohen (D-TN) and 11 cosponsors, this bill would authorize funding for the creation and implementation of infant mortality pilot programs in standard metropolitan statistical areas with high rates of infant mortality.

H.R. 259 – End Diaper Need Act of 2021

  • Introduced by Rep. Lee (D-CA) and 13 cosponsors, this bill would amend the Public Health Service Act to address the increased burden that maintaining the health and hygiene of infants and toddlers places on families in need, the resultant adverse health effects on children and families, and the limited child care options available for infants and toddlers who lack sufficient diapers.
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SDOH Bills
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Health Disparities Bills
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Maternal Health Bills
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Coverage, Payment Reform Bills