Long before he became a politician, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy was a practicing physician, a gastroenterologist based at the old Earl K. Long Hospital in Baton Rouge, which served the uninsured. So health disparities between patients of different races, which have been both highlighted and exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, are no surprise to him.
Cassidy, a Republican, said last week that he’d join Democratic colleague Brian Schatz, of Hawaii, in sponsoring the John Lewis National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Endowment Revitalization Act, to invest in critical research on the subject and to help increase diversity in the scientific community.
“As a doctor who worked in Louisiana’s charity hospital system and now a senator, providing quality health care to underserved communities is a priority,” he said. “Universities like Xavier in Louisiana are doing great research to address minority health disparities. This legislation supports their efforts.”
The bill, named for the civil rights icon who died last year after a long career in Congress, has bipartisan authors in the House as well. We appreciate that Cassidy is putting his expertise to use and reaching across the aisle to tackle serious problems in Louisiana’s communities — and that he recognizes that matters of life and death know no party.