National Urban League Policy on Health

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Empowerment Goal: Health- Every American has Access to Quality and Affordable Health Care Solutions

Disparities in healthcare cost our nation billions of dollars in lost economic activity. This cost is borne overwhelmingly by African-Americans in higher health care spending, and, tragically, significantly higher levels of illness, disability, and death.

In 2012 the National Urban League issued a landmark report, The State of Urban Health, that underscores the tragic reality that health disparities among African-Americans don’t just carry a human cost in higher levels of illness, disability, and death; it heaps a financial burden on families still trying to recover from the Great Recession.

The National Urban League believes that improving health outcomes is a vital component to building economic empowerment. Healthy individuals live longer and have a better quality of life; and this directly benefits their families, communities and ultimately the nation. The National Urban League  Washington Bureau is charged with engaging in health policy, research and advocacy to advance our 2025 empowerment goal that Every American has access to quality and affordable health care solutions.

To this end the Urban League movement has been a driving force in the reduction of health disparities, providing free health services to over 6 million people since 2004. Through Project Wellness, the National Urban League’s signature health program, Urban League affiliates are providing low-income, underserved communities with free chronic disease prevention and management training, access to medical screenings, health and wellness services, as well as access to affordable health care coverage.

We focus our health policy work on the following areas:

  1. Full and timely implementation of the historic Affordable Care Act

Providing access to quality and affordable health care for all, promoting community-based prevention efforts, and expanding Medicaid to our most vulnerable citizens, the ACA will play a pivotal role in reducing the human cost of these disparities.

We also urge the federal government to work to incentivize Medicaid expansion to every state and we stand ready to educate voters and advocate in the states to ensure that the Affordable Care Act is implemented with Medicaid expansion intact.

  1. Eliminate Health Disparities

The elimination of health disparities is a moral and economic issue for our nation. Health disparities create an economic burden on society and African Americans bear the largest portion of these costs. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which NUL strongly supported, will help address health disparities.

And in the 114th congress the National Urban League has been appointed by Representative Robin Kelly(D-IL), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Health Braintrust, to serve as the lead organization coordinating the efforts of the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) community working group. This coalition is comprised of over 300 national, state and local stakeholders will advise the “Congressional TriCaucus” as it is collectively known, on signature health equity legislation which will be introduced in the spring of 2016 under Representative Kelly’s leadership.

  1. Develop a Diverse and Culturally Competent Health Workforce

By 2050, people of color are projected to account for a majority of the U.S. population. Preparing a workforce that can communicate effectively with diverse populations is important to ensure better health outcomes and to eliminate health disparities. Growing the number of community health workers and building cultural competency across the health workforce will help ready the nation for the demographic shifts.

  1. Prevent Hunger and Increase Access to Healthy Foods

Food insecurity and the inability to access healthy food options affect health outcomes. African Americans are disproportionately affected by poverty and food insecurity and are more likely to be overweight or obese, as compared to other populations. NUL supports SNAP and other programs that help families access food and is developing policy solutions and community interventions that create healthy environments for communities of color.


Dowloadable Documents: 

Recent Policies

Jan 30 2018 National Urban League Encourages Resolution to Altice-Starz Dispute to Ensure Supplier Diversity in Entertainment  
Jan 30 2018 Comments in Response to Proposed Rulemaking: Tip Regulations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Dear Ms. Melissa Smith:   The National Urban League writes in response to the Department of Labor’s (the Department) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), whereby the Department seeks to rescind portions of tip regulations it issued in 2011 (the 2011 Final Rule) pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards... Read
Jan 10 2018 Urban League Opposes Kenneth Marcus Nomination for Assistant Secretary of Office of Civil Rights at ED Dear Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray: On behalf of the National Urban League, a 107-year-old nonpartisan civil rights organization with 90 local affiliates serving more than 2 million people in 36 states and the District of Columbia, I write to express our concerns... Read
Nov 29 2017 Nine National Civil Rights Groups Urge Congress to Oppose Tax Bill Dear Members of Congress: On behalf of the National Urban League and the undersigned leaders of national civil rights organizations we write to urge rejection of the proposed tax legislation now before you. By giving huge tax cuts to wealthy Americans and profitable corporations—cuts that will... Read
Nov 20 2017 Civil Rights Organizations Urge DHS to Extend Temporary Protected Status to Haitian Nationals The Honorable Elaine C. Duke Acting Secretary U.S. Department of Homeland Security Washington, D.C. 20528 Dear Acting Secretary Duke, With the November 23, 2017 deadline for redesignation quickly approaching, we write to urge you to fully extend Haitian Nationals Temporary Protected Status... Read