SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Senator Edward Markey held a news conference in Springfield to announce new legislation to help reduce climate change in health care centers.
Senator Edward Markey, author of the Green New Deal for Health, and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal announced the introduction of the Granting Resources for Eliminating Emissions Now in (GREEN) Hospitals Act. The new legislation would provide $105 billion to revive a New Deal-era program to modernize and weatherize health facilities in order to reduce emissions, protect public health, and ensure that more Americans have access to health care before, during, and after climate disasters and extreme weather events.
Senator Markey is the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security and chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety.
“Hospitals are already history’s great defenders in the face of pain, and illness have now had to join the frontlines of the climate crisis. It is only going to get worse. What we are seeing is a preview of coming calamities,” said Senator Markey.
“As hospitals across America provide critical lifesaving care every day, we must ensure they are able to operate under severe weather conditions that have become far too prevalent due to the climate crisis,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “This legislation would give hospitals the funding and resources they need to increase capacity, be more resilient in the face of public health crises and climate disasters, and reduce their environmental footprints. I’m so proud to join Senator Markey in introducing this bill to safeguard our nation’s collective health while protecting our planet for future generations.”
The GREEN Hospitals Act would:
- Invest $100 billion into revive the Hill-Burton grant program to fund capital projects that increase capacity to provide essential health care and update facilities to become more resilient to climate disasters and public health crises.
- In exchange for Hill-Burton funding, medical facilities commit to a community service obligation to provide a specific amount of free or below-cost health care services to qualified individuals unable to pay.
- Grants include labor protections to ensure a prevailing wage, adequate staffing, and organizing protections.
- Invest $5 billion into planning grants to fund pre-development planning needs, such as community assessments and engineering evaluations, so sustainability and resiliency projects for medical facilities meet the needs of the surrounding communities and patient populations.
- The program prioritizes facilities that have a majority Medicaid and Medicare payer mix or have a high proportion of patients that are uninsured and serve patients that experience low air quality, lack green space, bear higher cumulative pollution burdens, or are at high risk of experiencing the adverse effects of climate change.
- Grants include labor protections to ensure a prevailing wage, and organizing protections.
- Half of these funds are designated for use in environmental justice communities.
WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in March 1953 providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.