Washington (April 3, 2023) – Senator Edward J.
Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security, today applauded the
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for heeding his call to
modernize the energy infrastructure of health care facilities by issuing a new
waiver that will allow U.S. health care facilities to transition to safer,
cheaper, and more reliable clean energy infrastructure in the form of
renewable-powered microgrids or independent electric grids.
In December 2022, Senator Markey sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra urging the modernization of outdated electrical regulations that force U.S. health care facilities to use fossil-fueled-based generators, often powered by diesel fuel, as the emergency power source for their buildings. By allowing health care facilities to adopt clean energy microgids and move away from fossil fuel-based generators, this new action from CMS will protect patients and safeguard nearby communities. It will also support public health by reducing pollution from diesel generators that harm sensitive lungs, contribute to climate change, and can be unreliable or subject to volatile prices in an emergency. This waiver will enable health care facilities to take advantage of new investments in the Inflation Reduction Act that lower costs for clean energy and energy storage installations.
“Communities expect hospitals and health centers to be anchor institutions that provide safe haven in a storm. This change will help them continue to do just that in the face of intensifying climate crises,” said Senator Markey. “Health care facilities shouldn’t be forced by outdated regulations to pollute their communities when clean energy solutions are available, affordable, and reliable. I applaud CMS for heeding my call to ensure that our health care facilities are part of the solution and not the problem in the effort to improve air quality and fight climate change. I will continue to fight for forward-looking policy solutions that support our health care sector in transitioning away from dangerous fossil fuels and toward healthy to protect public health, health centers, and our climate.”
For years, Senator Markey has brought attention to the interconnection between climate change and health care policy and fought to advance clean, green energy in the health care system. In June 2022, Senator Markey applauded the Senator Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee for its bipartisan vote to move forward with his Preventing Health Emergencies and Temperature-related (HEAT) Illness and Deaths Act, legislation to address the increasing health risks of extreme heat. In December 2022, Senator Markey introduced the Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act with Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20) to create a first-of-its-kind $30 million pilot grant program through the Center of Disease Control (CDC) that provides funding for community-based mental wellness and resilience programs to support communities facing compounding systemic mental health issues from climate disasters. In February 2021, Senator Markey introduced the Protecting Moms and Babies Against Climate Change Act with Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) to establish a grant program investing in community-based programs that reduce exposure to extreme heat, air pollution, extreme weather disasters, among other environmental threats related to the climate crisis, which pose serious health risks to pregnant and postpartum patients. In August 2021, Senator Markey and Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-08) applauded the Biden Administration for heeding their call to create the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, a climate and health program under the HHS that mirrors the two lawmakers’ Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act introduced in May 2021.