WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes introduced the Reducing COVID-19 Disparities by Investing in Public Health Act of 2021. This bill will double the federal investment in the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Fund at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention to $2.4 billion. The bill would also double funding for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Offices of Minority Health within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 


The increased investments will help the federal government and state public health departments better prevent and combat the diseases that were COVID-19 comorbidities and led to increased patient hospitalization and death rates. These chronic diseases include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, dementia and other neurological diseases, and cancer. 


“I am introducing the Reducing COVID-19 Disparities by Investing in Public Health Act of 2021 because our fight against chronic diseases and public health disparities is not over,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “The lingering impact of COVID-19 on the health of those with chronic diseases, and the healthcare system supporting patients in this category, requires federal support. The pandemic challenged chronic disease care, exposed disparities long suffered by communities of color, and made so many more vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19. Risk reduction and preventative care for these communities and the general population should be more robust to combat systemic inequities and build a healthier country moving forward.”


The Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Fund has been historically funded at $1.2 billion per year. In FY21, the Fund received $1.4 billion. Chronic disease groups agree this is still too little to appropriately combat diseases that left so many communities increasingly vulnerable to COVID-19. 


The American Heart Association issued the following statement in support of the legislation:


“The pandemic has laid bare the stark health disparities in America and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people with underlying conditions such as heart disease,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “Strong, sustained investments in the nation’s public health infrastructure are needed to address inequities in our health care system and improve chronic disease prevention and treatment, while better preparing us for future health crises. The Reducing COVID-19 Disparities by Investing in Public Health Act would help address chronic health challenges and persistent inequities that plague our country.”


The Reducing COVID-19 Disparities by Investing in Public Health Act of 2021 is supported by the following organizations: American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Diabetes Association, American Kidney Fund, Catholic Health Association, Alzheimer's Association and Alzheimer's Impact Movement, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), American Cancer Society.


To learn more about this bill, read it here.



Congresswoman Jahana Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District. She was a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.

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