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Booker, Pascrell Introduce Bill to Reduce Health Disparities Among Disadvantaged Groups

New Jersey’s ethnic communities have higher disease rates than whites, including prostate cancer, kidney disease, infant deaths, HIV, diabetes, and breast cancer.

July 30, 2015

Washington, DC - U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (both D-NJ) today announced the reintroduction of The Reducing Disparities Using Care Models and Education (ReDUCE) Act, legislation aimed at reducing disparities in healthcare among disadvantaged groups.

“Disparities are prevalent in access to healthcare and the quality of care available, especially in disadvantaged communities.” Sen. Booker said. “In order to tackle this problem, we must first identify its causes. This bill will help get the information we need to most effectively direct federal funding towards programs and initiatives that are successfully addressing these disparities.”

“I think we can all agree that race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, or geographic location should not determine what type of health care people can access,” said Rep. Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. “By identifying which strategies are successful in reducing health disparities and directing federal dollars towards those programs, we can ensure that resources are used on programs that work.”

The ReDUCE Act requires the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to conduct research to determine the causes of health disparities and to identify successful methods that are being used to help eliminate them. The bill then targets federal funds to implement strategies successful in reducing health disparities.

New Jersey is affected by health disparities at a disproportionate rate compared to the United States. A recent report found that in New Jersey, ethnic communities have higher death rates than whites from every disease or condition examined, including prostate cancer, kidney disease, infant deaths, HIV, diabetes, and breast cancer.

Specifically the ReDUCE Act will:
Direct the Institute of Medicine to issue a report on the extent of health disparities, identify contributing factors, evaluate existing programs to reduce health disparities, and make recommendations for developing and implementing successful programs.

Based on the Institute of Medicine recommendations, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will establish a grant program for community organizations to implement programs and strategies to reduce health disparities. Additionally, the legislation will direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to establish a pilot program to implement a combined payment and health care delivery model that includes incentives for meeting health disparities targets.

The ReDUCE Act is supported by the following organizations:
The American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Osteopathic Association
The Arc
The Arc of New Jersey
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
The Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center
The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved
The Children's Health Fund
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
The National Immigration Law Center
The YMCA New Jersey State Alliance
Families USA
First Focus
Morehouse School of Medicine