Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), who championed an expansion to childrens health insurance coverage and became a top figure in the fight against healthcare disparities, died in Cleveland on Wednesday after suffering a brain hemorrhage. Tubbs Jones, who represented the hospital-heavy east side of Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs, was 58.
Though known more for her work on the House Standards of Official Conduct Committee that she chaired, Tubbs Jones was also a vocal member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, where she helped shape Medicare legislation. Last October, she took the lead in opposing parts of a revised Internal Revenue Service form that would require not-for-profit hospitals to report more in-depth financial and community-benefit data. The IRS released instructions for the new Form 990 on Tuesday.
We already ask a great deal of our nations hospitals, she wrote in a letter, co-signed by Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.), and sent to the IRS in October. We should not take them away from this important work by requiring them to spend valuable time and resources filling out IRS forms that bear little relationship to the healthcare and other benefits they provide to their communities.
In a January speech in Washington, Tubbs Jones talked about the toll unequal treatment has on minority populations. Racial and ethnic minorities account for about one-third of the U.S. population, but account for more than half of the uninsured, she said. Racial and ethnic minorities are more likely than whites to report not seeing a specialist when it was needed, forgoing needed healthcare because of cost and not having a usual source of care.
Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, Washington, lauded Tubbs Jones' extraordinary effective voice on healthcare issues, and called her a "key leader" in trying to improve care. -- by Matthew DoBias