Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg released a plan to disparities in health care access based on race, gender or where a person lives.
If elected president, the South Bend, Ind., mayor said his plan would make achieving health equity a strategic priority, direct funding to under-resourced communities and provide training for health professionals to combat bias.
"Our national healthcare and public health systems do not equitably serve all communities. For example, people of color and members of other minority groups have been -- through both negligence and intention -- excluded from these systems," Buttigieg's website states.
Buttigieg's plan calls for launching a National Health Equity Strategy Task Force within his first 100 days in office to outline steps all federal agencies can take to ensure health equity and establish a roadmap to focus on providing healthcare for underrepresented groups.
He also pledged to appoint a secretary of Health and Human Services committed to the concept of health equity and revitalize the Office of Civil Rights in the department.
Further, Buttigieg plans to designate communities with "significant health disparities" as Health Equity Zones that will receive a federal budget of $5 billion over 10 years.
These areas would establish multi-sector coalitions focused on health equity, to address factors such as local housing authorities, food banks, environmental protection organizations, local NAACP chapters, healthcare systems, economic development agencies and safe transportation groups.
The plan would also provide programs to train health practitioners to identify and reduce bias, create grant programs for colleges that recruit underrepresented groups into health professions and require Medicare and Medicaid to consider diversity as they develop provider networks.