National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., authored an op-ed for The Hill, a major daily publication that’s known to influence policy in the nation’s capital.
Chavis’s op-ed focused on the NNPA Coronavirus Task Force and Resource Center, which is helping to shine a spotlight on the health disparities that the African American community face daily.
The task force includes publishers, editors, physicians, nurses, corporate partners, sponsors, associates, and supporters of the Black Press of America.
The national resource center is designed to provide timely and accurate information to stakeholders and the African American community.
“Minority and low-income Americans suffer from a significant lack of access to quality health care. They are also more likely not to have health insurance and are often hit with surprise medical bills they cannot afford,” Chavis wrote in the op-ed. The coronavirus is no different, he noted.
“Many Black Americans will not get tested for coronavirus — whether they have symptoms or not — due to the fact that they cannot easily access medical facilities, and/or they are worried they will not be able to afford the medical services,” Chavis stated.
The NNPA president also noted the rise of Democratic Presidential Candidate, Joe Biden, and how the Black vote will play a vital role in the November general election.
“I believe it is time now for our concerns to be taken a bit more seriously by policymakers in Washington, starting with the dramatic challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic,” Chavis wrote.
Because of the coronavirus, unemployment rates among African Americans continue to rise, and Chavis said that surprise medical bills had been a significant problem in the American healthcare system. For years, politicians have debated how to handle them, he added.
“Nationwide closures and loss of income caused by the coronavirus will force many black families to choose between paying for rent and food or paying for health care,” he stated.
“Unfortunately, politicians in both parties are trying to use coronavirus relief legislation to jam unrelated policy proposals through Congress. One such proposal is to include surprise medical billing legislation that puts the cost burden on patients and providers, rather than insurance companies.”