CA Senate Health Committee Passes Rubio Bill Targeting Childhood Racial Disparities in Healthcare

April 7, 2021

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, the California Senate Health Committee passed a bill by Sen. Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) that will help reduce racial disparities in childhood chronic diseases and illnesses by 2030.  

Senate Bill 682 requires the California Health and Human Services Agency, in collaboration with departments under its purview and relevant agencies and stakeholders, to reduce the disparities by 50% by 2030 by establishing clear goals, and developing and implementing a plan to meet those targets.

“We know that these health disparities exist, and that our children and families of color are disproportionately affected,” Sen. Rubio said. “As a legislator with a large minority population, I am proud to work on this piece of legislation that will establish clear plans and goals on how to reduce these health inequities.”

“We applaud Senator Rubio for authoring this bill that outlines concrete steps to reduce racial disparities in chronic childhood health conditions,” said President of Children Now, Ted Lempert. “Childhood chronic diseases have lifelong implications and are far deadlier for Black and other kids of color. It’s time for California to have a comprehensive strategy to address the systemic barriers that lead to racial inequities in children’s health outcomes.”

“The upward trend in childhood chronic disease in California is threatening the health of the next generation, but the racial disparities are stark evidence of the impact of racism on health. By setting specific targets, a timeframe, and clear metrics, this bill will ensure that California state agencies have an explicit directive from the legislature to take action to eliminate racial disparities in childhood chronic disease,” said co-sponsor and Executive Director of Public Health Advocates, Harold Goldstein.

“We are proud to co-sponsor SB 682, which will ensure the state has a comprehensive strategy to address racial health disparities in children – one that moves beyond the traditional focus on individual behaviors and choices and instead seeks to understand and address the root causes of inequitable health outcomes” said President and CEO of the California Children’s Hospital Association, Ann-Louise Kuhns.

Studies have shown that approximately 25% of all children experience chronic health conditions, including asthma, depression, and diabetes. Chronic conditions and illnesses that last longer than a year create limitations in everyday life and reduce productivity in adulthood. Unfortunately, children of color are disproportionately affected and 1.5 to 2.0 times more likely than white families to have chronic diseases. Health concerns not only have a physical impact on children, but also take time, resources, and energy away from families, especially for Black, Latino, and Asian & Pacific Islander communities.

SB 682 will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.