Ways and Means Democrats Release Framework to Achieve Health and Economic Equity

Jan 11, 2021
Press Release
Committee demonstrates unprecedented commitment to tackling issues of inequity in Congress

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) released a new legislative framework for how the Committee will address the role that racism, ableism, and other social, structural, and political determinants have in perpetuating health and economic inequity in the United States. The framework is placed into context in a Democratic Committee staff-prepared report that examines the history and intersection of federal policy and inequities in the United States.

The report, entitled Something Must Change: Inequities in U.S. Policy and Society, provides key context on which members’ legislative priorities are based, and the framework, entitled “A Bold Vision for a Legislative Path Toward Health and Economic Equity,” lays out pillars and policy priorities focused on achieving equity in health and the economy that will steer the Committee’s work in the 117th Congress and beyond. The COVID-19 pandemic’s uneven impact on communities across the nation has highlighted the urgency with which the Committee must act, just as last week’s tragic insurrection at the U.S. Capitol starkly illustrated the vastly different treatment certain populations receive from law enforcement and other institutions.

“There is no silver bullet to correct the inequities that are 400 years in the making and deeply ingrained in our systems, institutions, and laws. But we cannot allow the scope of these challenges to intimidate us,” Chairman Neal wrote in his foreword for the framework. “The framework we present here is Ways and Means Committee Democrats’ plan to make our nation a more just and equitable place. Some actions we can pursue almost immediately. Other advancements may take longer to become law. But inaction is not an option. Complacency cannot be tolerated.”

In their framework, Committee Democrats put forward the following pillars, each accompanied by several policy approaches:

Health Equity Pillars:

  • Adaptable, Accessible Technologies and Modernized Infrastructure
  • Appropriate, Adequate, and Trusted Workforce
  • Affordable, Comprehensive, and Accessible Health Care
  • Support to State and Local Governments for Maximum Efficiency of Resources

Economic Equity Pillars:

  • Economic Justice for Workers
  • Economic Justice for Families and Children
  • Retirement Security
  • Investment in Communities from the Ground Up
  • Environmental Justice

Read the report and full framework here: