Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) secured various provisions in the fiscal year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations mark that passed out of the House Appropriations Committee today. They support first-generation college students, fund maternal health interventions, address teacher shortages, and more.
“I am grateful to Chairwoman Nita Lowey, and subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro for their help in ensuring my values, and those of my constituents, are included in this bill,” said Watson Coleman. “When I was appointed to the Appropriations Committee earlier this year, I made a commitment to ensure that funding for federal programs reflects those values, and I will continue to see that through.”
The bill, which will now head to the House floor, covers discretionary spending for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, as well as various related agencies including the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, and the Social Security Administration.
Provisions from Watson Coleman include:
- Maternal Mortality: acknowledging the crisis of black maternal mortality, with rates similar to those in developing countries (report, page 45); urging the National Institute of child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to continue to support research into maternal morbidity and mortality, including racial disparities (report, page 94); urging CDC technical assistance for state databases to include data on the type of delivery in light of studies exploring the connection between Cesarian sections with mortality (report, page 68); and encouraging the CDC to provide technical assistance to State Maternal Mortality Review Committees that addresses implicit bias among healthcare providers (report, page 68);
- Resources for First-Generation College Students: Noting the lack of dedicated support for first-generation college students, requesting a study on ways to improve the effectiveness of federal policy and opportunities for improvement (report, page 196-7);
- Teacher Shortages: acknowledging the lack of appropriately trained and certified teachers in many classrooms, particularly in communities of color, requesting a study on trends in teacher shortages and the factors contributing to recruitment and retention challenges (report, page 212);
- Increasing Mental Health Access for Youth: urging the National Institute for Minority Health (NIMH) to research youth suicide, with a focus on addressing the disproportionately high rate in youth of color (report, page 101); providing funds to state agencies and schools to help more students get access to mental health services at school (report, page 115-6 and 185-6); urging the Office of the Surgeon General to develop a report on the increasing rate of youth suicides, particularly among Black youth (report, page 160);
- Insurance Prior Authorization for Care: providing at least $500,000 for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to fund research that examines the impact of insurance companies requiring patients to get certain treatments, tests and procedures approved, by the company, prior to proceeding with the recommendations of the medical professional providing care (report, page 124).
A summary of the fiscal year 2020 LHHS bill is here. The text of the bill is here. The bill report is here.