Sanders unveils plan to address racial disparities among health care professionals

Sanders unveils plan to address racial disparities among health care professionals
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Overnight Energy: Court upholds Trump repeal of Obama fracking rule | Oil price drop threatens fracking boom | EPA eases rules on gasoline sales amid coronavirus The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders pushes on in 2020 race MORE (I-Vt.) unveiled a plan Wednesday seeking to boost the number of black employees in the health care industry as the White House hopeful works to shore up support in Democratic presidential primary.

Sanders's campaign unveiled the plan shortly after he appeared at a presidential forum in Detroit for the NAACP National Convention. The plan would work to train and hire more black health care providers and supplement his “Medicare for All” plan.

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“We must not only guarantee health care to all as a right, but also end the long-standing racial disparities that exist within the health care system,” Sanders said in a statement.

“When we are in the White House, we will address the need for more black doctors, more black dentists, more black nurses and more black mental health providers who can provide culturally competent care in their communities.”

The plan would expand the National Health Service Corps, Community Health Centers and Teaching Health Centers to hire more doctors and nurses of color to underserved areas and boost the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program to help train more African American primary care physicians. 

Sanders also intends to grow the Nurse Practitioner Residency Training Program and the Nurse Faculty Loan Program to boost the number of nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, his campaign said.

The Vermont Independent argued that his proposal to cancel student debt would also help “free up doctors and nurses to work in communities that need care the most.” 

Sanders's campaign did not detail how much it expects his plan to hire more doctors and nurses would cost. The Hill has reached out to his campaign for additional information.

Sanders has sought to highlight both his Medicare for All plan and his intention to tackle racial inequities should he be elected president, both priorities of the party’s progressive base.

He is currently facing a stiff challenge from Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging Democratic senators call on FDA to drop restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men MORE (D-Mass.) for the progressive mantle in the Democratic presidential primary, as a handful of national and statewide polls show the Massachusetts Democrat leapfrogging him.