Kidney disease affects communities of color at higher rates than the white community. Due in part to high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure — the two leading causes of kidney disease — communities of color have disproportionately high rates of kidney failure. For example, Black Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population but account for about 35% of Americans with kidney failure. Additionally, Hispanic people in the U.S. are twice as likely as white people to develop kidney failure.
One way to address these health disparities is to address social determinants of health (SDOH) – the conditions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines social determinants of health (SDOH) as "conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. These determinants can have a major impact on people's health and well-being.
Essentially, there are correlations between non-medical factors and poorer health outcomes. There is an association between a healthy community and access to nutritious food, safe housing, education, and good jobs.
As part of the CDC's Healthy People 2030 initiative, they included a goal of creating "social, physical, and economic environments that promote attaining the full potential for health and well-being for all." The CDC has stated that community-wide, nonclinical aspects of public health show positive outcomes that improve public health and decrease health care costs.
As part of efforts to address SDOH, Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) introduced H.R. 1066, the CARING for Social Determinants Act of 2023. The bill would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide guidance every three years to each state to address SDOH through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In many states, private health insurance companies referred to as Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) provide health benefits to Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries. They have innovative ideas and use their funding to help beneficiaries with nutrition, housing, or caregiving. These programs can be replicated in other states. Providing this information to Medicaid and CHIP programs in other states can provide state leaders with the knowledge to utilize those ideas in their states. It can help address underlying issues that lead to higher rates of diabetes and hypertension, and thus, higher rates of kidney failure in underserved communities.
Please contact your federally elected officials and ask them to cosponsor this important legislation by clicking below.