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11.28.2018 / Press Release

Next Generation Legislation Central to Our Nation’s Ideals of Fairness, Focused on Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health and Health Care

Washington, D.C. —Today, the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018 (HEAA), was introduced in the Senate by Senator Hirono (D-HI), joined by Sens. Duckworth (D-IL), Cardin (D-MD), Harris (D-CA), Booker (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Kaine (D-VA), and Blumenthal (D-CT). Over 300 organizations across the country have signed a letter in support of this bill. A companion bill was introduced in May by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) on behalf of the Congressional Tri-Caucus —the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Following is the statement of Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA:

“The Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018 is a game changer for lawmakers who are truly committed to achieving health equity. Despite the enormous progress attained through coverage and system improvements over the last decade, African Americans, Hispanics, Native American and Alaska Natives, and many Asian and Pacific Islander Americans are still more likely to be uninsured, less likely to have a regular doctor, and more likely to have certain chronic conditions and die from them, compared to white people.

“Families USA is proud to have worked closely with the Tri-Caucus, the Asian & Pacific Islander Health Forum—who spearheaded the advocacy coalition— and other partners in developing this legislation. Because there are no easy solutions for addressing racial and ethnic health inequities comprehensively, this bill tackles a wide range of health equity concerns, from fighting conditions that disproportionately impact communities of color, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS, to improving data collection and reporting to measure and hold our health care system accountable.

“We are thrilled that this year, for the first time, the bill includes a new subsection: Advancing Health Equity Through Payment and Delivery Reform, which experts at Families USA were instrumental in drafting. This brings our nation one step closer to the goal of giving everyone access to the best health and health care possible. We urge lawmakers to seize the opportunity to pass this bill and remedy the long-standing disparities in coverage, access, and outcomes for minority and underserved communities. A fair nation that gives every family a chance to achieve all that they are able is central to the American dream and our nation’s values. To make these ideals a reality, policymakers must ensure that every family in America —especially those from communities that historically have been silenced and subjected to systemic racism— can avail themselves of the best health and health care.”