Rashida Tlaib knows that healthcare is a human right. But our country’s broken healthcare system prioritizes profits over people, forcing millions of U.S. residents into crippling debt just to afford the care they need.
Research shows that 90% of bankruptcies are due to extreme medical debt. Thousands of Americans die each year just because they can’t afford healthcare. And now the pandemic has made this crisis even more urgent. In addition, the pandemic has exposed even more clearly how racially unjust our healthcare system is.
Long neglected by our government, Black people in America have borne the brunt of the pandemic’s health and economic crises. Black Americans are three times more likely than white Americans to be hospitalized and twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white Americans. These disparities in healthcare show up over and over, including the rise in Black infant and mortality rates. Rashida is fighting against this unjust status quo.
Rashida is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with billionaire bullies, including health insurance and Big Pharma CEOs who want to keep profiting off our pain, our illnesses, and our deaths. She’s pushing for reproductive justice and to end medical debt.
Here are some of the ways Rashida has been fighting to ensure that we all can access the care that we need to survive and thrive:
- Voted for and helped pass bills in the House to ensure reproductive healthcare access across the country, including protecting abortion providers and securing abortion rights, including the right to travel across states to receive abortion care.
- Continues to advocate to get rid of the Hyde Amendment, which denies abortion coverage to people already more likely to be systematically underserved by our health system and struggling to make ends meet, including women of color, young people, transgender people, and non-binary people.
- Fundraised for abortion care funds across the country as attacks on reproductive rights are growing—including local fund the Reclaim MI WIN Fund, which is the only abortion fund in Southeastern Michigan.
- Joined the Black Maternal Health Caucus in Congress and co-sponsored the Black Health Momnibus Act of 2021. Founded the Mamas’ Caucus in Congress in partnership with Mothering Justice to center and advocate for mothers of color and their families. Mothers of color face unjust maternal and infant health disparities along with economic disparities, and are leaders in the fight for reproductive justice and policies such as affordable childcare and paid leave.
- Co-sponsored the Medicare For All Act of 2021 (and previous versions), and co-led a virtual rally to unveil the legislation.
- Passed bills that prevent medically necessary debt from being listed on credit reports, and which reduce time negative credit and stays on a credit report from 7 years to 4 years. No one chooses to get sick, and undergoing a medically necessary procedure should never haunt someone financially. Nearly 1 in 5 adults have one or more medical debt collections listed on their credit report, which means they may be denied housing, transportation, or other necessities because of a sudden health crisis or visit to the emergency room. Medical debt is also a leading cause of personal bankruptcy in our country.
- Pushed to expand Medicare coverage and lower prescription drug prices in the Build Back Better Act.
- Advocates for the rights of trans and nonbinary people to receive medically necessarily gender-affirming healthcare.
- Introduced the Health Equity and Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Community Inclusion Act of 2022, which will help ensure the experiences and needs of the MENA community are reflected in the federal government’s focus on public health.