NCHC & West Health Hill Briefing: The Burden of High Drug Prices Among Communities of Color (Part 1)

NCHC Writer

NCHC & West Health Hill Briefing: The Burden of High Drug Prices Among Communities of Color (Part 1)




On March 18, from 1-2pm ET, The National Coalition on Health Care and West Health co-hosted the first of a two-part, Hill briefing series: “The Burden of High Drug Prices on Communities of Color” 

Watch the full recording here:

The first briefing highlighted how high drug prices, coverage gaps, and other systemic issues drive health inequities for communities of color. The briefing featured several prominent speakers (biographies below) and updated data from West Health’s survey on drug accessibility and affordability. The briefing also focused on how COVID-19 has underscored the substantial impact that race and income have on health outcomes, exacerbated by inaccessible drugs and systemic barriers to coverage. The session also discussed how previously proposed legislation would potentially impact communities of color and reduce health inequality.

The second briefing will focus on specific legislation later in the year (more details to come!).

West Health Infographics:




West Health | Gallup Poll Highlights:

  • People are worried about paying for medications: Nearly 1 in 5 households (with at least one prescription) are “concerned” or “extremely concerned” that they will be unable to pay for needed prescriptions
  • Lowering the cost of drugs is widely popular: 76% of democrats and 61% of Republicans think these should be either “high” or “highest” priority
  • Drug costs impact communities of color in non-expansion states the most: adults of color in non-expansion states are 88% more likely to suffer 12-month medication insecurity

Featured Speakers: 

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL)
Congresswoman Underwood serves Illinois’ 14th Congressional District and was sworn into the 116th U.S. Congress on January 3, 2019. Congresswoman Underwood is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first millennial to represent her community in Congress. She is also the youngest African American woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives.

Congressman Steven Horsford (D-NV)
Congressman Horsford serves Nevada’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was elected in 2012 as Nevada’s first African American Congressman. Prior to 2012, he broke down barriers as the first African American Majority Leader in the Nevada State Senate. The Congressman was recently selected by the House Ways and Means Committee to lead the Racial Equity Initiative, which will address the role of racism in perpetuating health and economic inequalities.

Jamal Watkins, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Advancement, NAACP 
Jamal R. Watkins serves as the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Advancement at the NAACP. Jamal previously led the Association’s efforts to maximize the African-American community’s participation and representation in our democracy as the Vice President of Civic Engagement. 

Tim Lash, MBA, CSO and Executive Vice President, West Health
Tim Lash oversees the development and execution of West Health’s successful aging portfolio across its nonprofit applied medical research, policy and advocacy initiatives and outcomes-based philanthropy. This work supports the organization’s mission of lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services.

John Rother, President, NCHC 
John Rother is President of the National Coalition on Health Care, America’s oldest and most diverse group working to achieve comprehensive health system change. Prior to joining the Coalition in 2011, Mr. Rother served as the longtime Executive Vice President for Policy, Strategy, and International Affairs at AARP.

David  Certner, Legislative Counsel and Director of Legislative Policy, AARP
David Certner is the Legislative Counsel and Director of Legislative Policy for Government Affairs at AARP.  He has been with AARP since 1982, and is a member of AARP’s Leadership team.  He serves as counsel for the Association’s legislative, regulatory, and policy efforts, as well as for litigation opportunities before the courts.  

Amber Hewitt, Director of Health Equity
Hewitt, a social justice expert, is responsible for developing strategic priorities that help eliminate racial, ethnic and other disparities in health care. Prior to joining Families USA, she was Manager of Policy and Advocacy at Nemours Children’s Health System—where she focused on health equity issues related to payment and delivery reform among a broad range of other key children’s health issues.