Neal Applauds Biden Administration’s Commitment to Addressing COVID-19 Health Inequities
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) applauded the Biden Administration’s leadership on addressing health disparities faced by communities of color. The Chairman sent a letter to then-U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar on June 8, 2020, asking for more information on HHS’s efforts to assist racial and ethnic groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and just recently received a detailed response from HHS Office of Minority Health Acting Director Roslyn Holliday Moore.
“Last June, shortly after the Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the ‘Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color,’ I wrote to the Trump Administration’s Secretary Alex Azar II asking for answers and accountability on the issue,” said Chairman Neal. “Eight months later, I commend the Biden Administration for making this a priority. All of our work must be grounded in addressing our country’s existing health and economic inequities, that have only been exacerbated by this crisis, and I know the Biden Administration will be a strong partner in this work.”
In his June 2020 letter to the HHS, Chairman Neal wrote, “I write seeking additional information about efforts the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS or Department) is taking to assist racial and ethnic minority groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19. While I continue to await responses to prior Committee inquiries into HHS’s pandemic response and recovery activities, recent correspondence about ongoing Department actions raises concerns related to the mission, transparency and accountability of the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) in addressing the current public health emergency.”
On February 19, 2021, the Chairman received a response to his original letter from HHS Office of Minority Health Acting Director Roslyn Holliday Moore.
“While we have responded to your questions as provided based on efforts that took place during the previous Administration, we want to assure you that we are incredibly focused on addressing disparities resulting from the pandemic,” wrote Moore in HHS’s response to the Chairman. “We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you or your staff further about President Biden’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, which includes as one of its goals: to ‘Protect those most at risk and advance equity, including across racial, ethnic, and rural/urban lines.’”