Project Update: NHC Convenes Roundtable on Equity in Health Coverage

By Jennifer Dexter, Director, Policy 

As a follow-up to the National Health Council (NHC) and the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) consensus statement signed by 58 Chief Executive Officers in our volunteer health agency membership, on Tuesday, July 27 the NHC hosted the first Roundtable on advocating for equitable access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage.  

A group of diverse thought leaders from across the health ecosystem came together and had a robust discussion on issues that plague our health care system when it comes to access to health insurance coverage using an equity lens. We set out to specifically discuss: 

  • Quality of Coverage, including underinsurance and access to medication; 
  • Outreach & Enrollment, including making plans understandable and navigating the process for enrollment;  
  • Medicaid, including the program as a target for state budget cuts and inequities between states due to the optional status of some Medicaid services; and  
  • Community Specific Issues, including immigration bans on coverage for five years and LGBTQ health care coverage.  
  • Roundtable participants developed a list of recommendations that they believe need to be addressed to help enhance equitable access to coverage and prioritized these recommendations. 

In the coming weeks, the NHC staff will present the group’s recommendations to the NHC’s volunteer policy leadership committee and fine-tune the recommendations in collaboration with NHC membership. We anticipate an early fall release of the policy recommendations based on the Roundtable.  

This builds upon the four principles outlined in our consensus statement: 

  1. Promote an inclusive, equitable, accessible, and high-quality care delivery system; 
  2. Advocate for equitable access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage; 
  3. Partner with organizations that have a track record in addressing social determinants of health to reduce health disparities; and 
  4. Collaborate with the biomedical and health-services research and the health economics ecosystem to support equity in development and valuation of new and innovative treatments and services. This includes the collection and reporting of demographic factors in research to include race, disability status, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, and other factors to help identify and eliminate biases. 

Our health equity task force serves as advisors for our health equity initiatives by helping to ideate and prioritize a series of Roundtables, identify other member-facing resources, and advise the NHC on planning additional activities. Supporting the task force are four Roundtable work groups that will each focus on one of the issues outlined in our consensus statement. Two additional Roundtables in addition to the July 27 session, are planned for later this year. 

For more information, check out our website for additional resources and information on health equity, diversity, and inclusion here.