Health equity

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Health equity

To CMS, health equity means the attainment of the highest level of health for all people, where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their optimal health regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, preferred language, or other factors that affect access to care and health outcomes.

CMS’ health equity strategy will build on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government, as described in President Biden’s Executive Orders 13985 and 14091.

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How is health equity incorporated into CMS’ work?

A key pillar of CMS’ Strategic Plan is health equity. CMS’ strategies to advance health equity address the disparities that underlie our health system through stakeholder engagement and by building this pillar into the core functions of the agency.

How can CMS address health equity?

CMS programs cover more than 160 million people across the country through the 3Ms - Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Marketplace. In short, CMS provides health coverage to 1 in 2 Americans.

CMS programs are critical to ensuring all Americans have access to quality health care. Our goal is to ensure that every person has the opportunity to access the care they seek at an affordable cost.

These programs distribute substantial funding throughout the U.S. health care system annually and CMS provides quality oversight for most hospitals, health systems, health care facilities and providers across the country.

The following are examples of how CMS programs are moving the needle on health equity:

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Pregnancy-related mortality rates are two to three times higher among Black non-Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native populations compared to White populations, even when adjusted for education and income. Nationally, roughly 40% of U.S. births are covered by the Medicaid program, Latino, Black, and American Indian and Alaska Native individuals. Therefore, the Medicaid program can play a key role in reducing disparities in maternal health outcomes.

CMS is working improve access to continuous coverage and quality of care in the postpartum period by working closely with states to encourage uptake of 12 months of extended postpartum coverage for pregnant people enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP.

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After substantially increasing Affordable Care Act Marketplace outreach and education, and with the American Rescue Plan’s enhanced and expanded premium tax credits, more people of color are accessing quality health care coverage through the ACA Marketplace.

Since 2020, Black consumer enrollment has increased by 49 percent, Latino consumers saw a 53 percent increase in enrollment, and American Indian and Alaska Native consumers saw a 32 percent enrollment.

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CMS and the Social Security Administration are implementing provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act that expand eligibility for the full Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS) or “Extra Help” program benefit.

CMS is also improving access to health care and lowering costs for millions of Americans by streamlining enrollment in the Medicare Savings Programs for people with limited income and resources.

CMS estimates these improvements will save older adults and people with disabilities nearly 19 million hours in paperwork each year and reduce state administrative burden by over 2 million hours annually. These actions together will help an estimated 1.2 million older adults and people with disabilities with limited income afford their Medicare coverage and health care costs.

How is CMS working to address health equity?

CMS is working to advance health equity by designing, implementing, and operationalizing policies and programs that support health for all people served by our programs by incorporating the perspective of lived experiences and integrate safety net providers and community-based organizations into our programs. Together this work will eliminate avoidable differences in health outcomes experienced by people who are disadvantaged or underserved and providing the care and support that people need to thrive.

Health Equity at CMS: Equity is in Every Pillar

All of CMS’s work is organized and managed along six strategic pillars that promote the establishment of broad programmatic goals. CMS is building health equity into each of its strategic pillars with the goal of improving the health care experience and outcomes of the communities we serve. The following section details key actions undertaken at CMS to advance health equity.

Page Last Modified:
02/22/2024 08:18 AM