SWHR Calls on HHS to Address Structural Racism with Action on Section 1115 Demonstrations

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Published 7/20/20

SWHR joined 279 other organizations calling on Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to address racial disparities and years of structural racism by acting on certain pending section 1115 demonstrations.

According to Medicaid.gov: “Section 1115 of the Social Security Act gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services authority to approve experimental, pilot, or demonstration projects that are found by the Secretary to be likely to assist in promoting the objectives of the Medicaid program.”

The letter urges two immediate steps on section 1115 demonstration projects:

  1. Reject pending proposals to impose punitive work requirements on parents with very low incomes in Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and South Dakota. Data has shown that punitive work requirements have a deleterious impact on Black women and families, and would likely be even more harmful if imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Approve pending and future state proposals to extend postpartum coverage to reduce maternal and infant mortality. Nationally, Black and Native women experience maternal mortality and morbidity rates 2-3 times higher than non-Hispanic white women due to systemic racism.

Read The Letter