People For the American Way

We Need Fairness, Justice, and Equity in Health Care—We Need the Health Equity and Accountability Act

People For in Action
We Need Fairness, Justice, and Equity in Health Care—We Need the Health Equity and Accountability Act

On May 23, Representatives Barbara Lee and Judy Chu of California led members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus in introducing the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA). This legislation takes on racial and ethnic health disparities using an intersectional approach that addresses the numerous factors that may impede a person’s access to care, including age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, language, immigration status, and socio-economic status. People For the American Way and PFAW’s African American Ministers In Action are among the national organizations who’ve joined state and local allies in supporting HEAA. You can download our letter here.

Dear Health Leaders of the Congressional Tri-Caucus:

As organizations committed to achieving health equity, we write to express our organizational support for the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018.

Since the 108th Congress, the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) has provided a comprehensive and strategic legislative approach to eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities and achieving health equity. Understanding that our communities hold multiple identities, HEAA addresses the intersections of race and ethnicity with age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, language, immigration status, and socio-economic status. This approach ensures that federal efforts to end health disparities address the numerous factors that may impede a person’s access to care. HEAA provides federal resources, funding, and policy changes, as well as the infrastructure necessary to improve access to quality care and improve health outcomes for communities of color and other underserved populations.

HEAA 2018 is comprised of the following titles that include provisions to address the wide spectrum of inequities that persist in health care access, quality, and outcomes.

These titles are:

  • Data collection and reporting;
  • Culturally and linguistically appropriate health care;
  • Health workforce diversity;
  • Improving health care access and quality;
  • Improving health outcomes for women, children and families;
  • Mental health;
  • Addressing high-impact minority diseases;
  • Health information technology;
  • Accountability and evaluation; and
  • Social determinants and environmental justice.

This year’s reintroduction of HEAA is particularly important as we both defend health care gains while simultaneously working to address the vast gaps that remain. Communities of color continue to experience severe health disparities and as a result, poorer health outcomes. As this country continues to face numerous social and political challenges, HEAA stands as a solution that commands broad support. Over 300 groups comprise the HEAA Community Working Group dedicated to supporting the solutions advanced in HEAA. It is imperative that we work together to help eliminate the significant social, cultural, physical, and economic barriers that continue to impede communities of color and others from obtaining affordable, quality care. HEAA 2018 builds on the progress of the Affordable Care Act by providing additional investments to create a sustainable, cost-effective health care system that is rooted in fairness, justice, and equal opportunity.

We thank you for your leadership and steadfast commitment to achieving health equity for all.