Special to the Record
State Representative Judith Garcia of Chelsea testified as a lead sponsor in favor of the Health Equity Bill before Members of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. Representative Garcia was joined by fellow sponsors Representative Bud Williams, Senator Liz Miranda, and Senator Pavel Payano on a testimonial panel to push for consideration on the crucial health care bill.
The Health Equity Bill aims to provide more equitable and diverse inclusion into health care and Massachusetts State government infrastructure. The bill provides a more equitable framework in creating positions fostering gender, race and ethnic inclusivity into governmental and healthcare leadership, addresses healthcare insurance inequity in Massachusetts to immigrant and underrepresented communities, develops and improves existing infrastructure for reporting health equity data, and improves the quality of healthcare services.
Rep. Garcia and her fellow sponsors are proud to partner with the Health Equity Compact (the “Compact”) on this bill. The Compact is a group of over 80 leaders of color who aim to advance health equity together in Massachusetts. Compact members are high-level executives and experts from a diverse set of health, business, labor, and philanthropic organizations, including hospitals, health centers, payers, academic institutions, and public health. We bring our lived experience, expertise, and commitment to our work to advance health equity.
“We have a health care system that is a leader in the world, yet it is not accessible to all, especially to brown, Black and Asian populations,” state Rep. Garcia said. In addition, Representative Garcia testified to the lack of crucial needs of Massachusetts residents from the cost of medications to the lack of linguistic, ethnic and cultural support helping patients throughout the Commonwealth.
Attorney General Andrea Campbell testified in full support of the bill by saying, “The challenges we are confronting — unequal access to care, maternal health disparities, systemic racism affecting the health of our communities — are nothing short of a public health crisis.” She went on to say that it is a priority for her office to see this bill get passed to protect health care consumers.
The Health Equity Bill also received remarkable participation from constituents who shared their personal stories at the hearing. On the morning of the bill hearing, the line of visitors waiting to get into the State House to testify could be seen stretching to the sidewalk in front of the building. In particular, the Health Equity Bill received massive support from Health Care for All, 1199SEIU, La Colaborativa, Gladys Vega, and many other key health care stakeholders who attended to share their personal stories.
“Massachusetts has been a leader in healthcare reform for decades; let’s live up to this by ensuring equitable healthcare for all” notes Representative Garcia before adding, “I am proud to partner with the Health Equity Compact to fight for the health of all Massachusetts residents”.