Bullock, Kinsey introduce bill for health equity

HARRISBURG, Sept. 3 – State Reps. Donna Bullock and Stephen Kinsey, both D-Phila., have introduced a bill that would formally establish the Office of Health Equity in state statute to ensure that Pennsylvania’s current commitment to equitable health care for every resident continues.

“Health care is a basic human right,” Bullock said. “This fundamental truth is acknowledged by the World Health Organization and embraced by scores of nations – developed and lower-income countries alike – that have built health systems devoted to providing equal access to quality health care for all citizens. In order to establish an ongoing commitment to the health of all Pennsylvanians, regardless of income, Zip code, etc., this is a necessary step to oversight and advocacy in health care.”

According to the Pennsylvania Office of Health Equity, health equity means that every resident can live a healthy life regardless of race, sex, location, education or income level. The office works to ensure all Pennsylvanians receive the care they need, regardless of any of the social or economic factors listed above.

“This last year has made abundantly clear that our health system discriminates against marginalized people and populations without access to care,” Kinsey said. “As this catastrophic episode in our history continues to claim the lives of the undervalued and underpaid, we can no longer ignore nor delay righting this destructive state of affairs. Repairing a problem as massive and complex as the glaring inequities in our health care involves making a long-term commitment to focus on establishing equal and fair access to quality health care for every Pennsylvanian.”

The Office of Health Equity was formally integrated into the Pennsylvania Department of Health through an executive order signed in May 2007. It is located within the Office of Operational Excellence.