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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 3, 2021 10:47 AM
From: Representative Brian Sims
To: All House members
Subject: Recognizing Discrimination as a Public Health Issue
Historically, discrimination has negatively impacted the health of marginalized communities and the COVID-19 pandemic has further deepened the divide. Discrimination against people of color, women, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, and other marginalized groups is being exacerbated  due to COVID-19 and those who work in fields with higher rates of exposure, who live in areas without access to quality medical care, and who face obstacles for treatment are all at increased risk of illness and even death.   
Discrimination in general is a stressful experience that has negative effects on one’s mental and physical wellbeing, and discrimination in health care can harm and even kill patients. This issue became more clear in Pennsylvania when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights instructed Pennsylvania to retract and revise existing crisis standards of care because they illegally discriminated against some disabled Pennsylvanians. In several states, disabled people and people of color who have tested positive for COVID-19 have died preventable deaths after being denied care or turned away from hospitals. These incidents can intensify distrust in medicine during this critical moment where following medical guidance is imperative for everyone.
Discrimination in medicine and society at large causes measurable negative health effects on the lives of many Pennsylvanians. We must combat these insidious ideas and recognize the real harm that discrimination causes. Please join me in cosponsoring this resolution recognizing discrimination as a public health issue. 

Introduced as HR54