June 18,2020

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Taylor Harvey (202)224-4515

Wyden Lays Out Agenda For Addressing Racial Health Disparities in Committee

Letter to Chairman Outlines Steps to be Taken By Committee This Year, Including Hearing and Maternal Mortality Legislation

Washington, D.C. –Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today outlined several steps the committee should take this year to address systemic racism in the nation’s health care system and the economy as a whole.

“The Finance Committee must leverage its expansive jurisdiction and influence to dismantle the significant racial and ethnic disparities that are embedded in the programs the Committee oversees, and the organizations with which we work,” Wyden wrote. “Actions will be the true marker of this Committee’s will to make a real difference. I look forward to getting to work and implementing these priorities with you.” 

The letter to Chairman Chuck Grassley comes as Americans across the country speak out about police violence and structural racism in our institutions and society. The letter calls on the chairman to prioritize the following steps the Finance Committee can take to begin this urgent work:

  • Hold a committee hearing to examine racism and racial and ethnic disparities across our health care system, with the intent of identifying policies that will improve health outcomes and end structural discrimination against Black, Latinx, Asian American, and Indigenous peoples and other communities of color.
  • Develop ongoing work on maternal mortality into legislation and pass it into law this year.
  • Organize future hearings on similar racial and ethnic equity concerns within the committee’s jurisdiction, including the tax code, the child welfare system and human services, which are steeped in structural racism and urgently need the Committee’s attention for reform.

The full letter to Chairman Grassley can be found here.