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“Making Coverage Affordable is the Cornerstone of Our Work”: CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure Joins Protect Our Care and NAACP in Fireside Chat to Mark Black History Month

By February 29, 2024No Comments

Watch the Full Event Here.

Washington, DC — Today, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure joined Protect Our Care and the NAACP, in partnership with NAACP’s Howard University Chapter, the Howard University Graduate Student Assembly, and the Howard University Graduate Student Council, to discuss improving health outcomes for Black Americans. 

President Biden appointed Administrator Brooks-LaSure as the first African American to lead CMS. Under her leadership, the agency has built on the success of the Affordable Care Act and implemented the Inflation Reduction Act to make health insurance and prescription drugs more affordable for millions of Black families. 

Historically, Black Americans have faced barriers to achieving and maintaining optimal health. More than 65 percent of uninsured Black adults have become eligible for zero-dollar premium plans through enhanced premium savings. The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities estimates these increased savings will cause a sharp decline in the uninsured rate across every racial group, with a projected one in three uninsured Black adults gaining coverage. For people who have historically been marginalized and faced difficulty receiving the care they need, Black Americans in particular, these lower costs are translating to better access to care. Additionally, the Biden-Harris Administration is fighting the maternal health crisis by expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers to one year postpartum, awarding millions of dollars to create a maternal mental health task force and other programs. Read our report on how the Inflation Reduction Act is helping Black Americans here

“The Biden-Harris Administration has and will continue to prioritize making health care coverage affordable,” said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, CMS Administrator. “President Biden and Vice President Harris took the baton that President Obama handed to them, and this Administration continues to transform health care to change millions of people’s lives for the better. We’ve expanded coverage. We’ve expanded the number of Black and Brown people enrolled. What we seek for our country is for everyone eligible to be enrolled in one of CMS’ programs and for insurance not just to be a card in their pocket, but to mean that they have access to the care they need.”

“The fight to protect and advance the health of Black Americans is at the forefront of our mandate to improve Black lives,” said Dr. Chris T. Pernell, Director of the Center for Health Equity at the NAACP “The Inflation Reduction Act is a necessary tool to beat back the barriers to access to care and the cost of prescription drugs especially. Assuring optimal health for all communities, particularly those who have been saddled with higher rates of chronic disease and staggering costs, is exactly where the Biden-Harris Administration should be focused. This is what equity in action looks like – saving lives, preventing disease, and controlling costs.”

“Health care and eliminating inequities in health care is so important,” said Brad Woodhouse, Executive Director of Protect Our Care. “That is why we must have people at the wheel who want to drive in the right direction – getting affordable health care to every American. CMS led by Administrator Brooks-LaSure is getting the job done. It’s so important that Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration continue this historic work to preserve and expand health care.”

“In almost every indicator in which we measure health, Black Americans are lagging,” said Joi Chaney, Senior Health Equity Advisor at Protect Our Care. “But it’s not just about closing gaps, it’s also about making sure Black Americans can have a healthy life. Protect Our Care is dedicated to making high-quality, affordable, and equitable health care a right and not a privilege for everyone in America. The Biden-Harris Administration is doing the same – overcoming political opposition and obstruction to fight to close health disparities and improve health outcomes for Black Americans.”