Latina Health Advocates Applaud Introduction of Health Equity Bill

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) celebrates today the introduction of landmark legislation that would build on the gains of the Affordable Care Act to decrease health disparities and improve health outcomes for Latinas.
“Latinas face formidable barriers to accessing the health care we need, and the sad outcome of this lack of access includes higher rates of cervical cancer, gestational diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and unintended pregnancy than our white counterparts,” said Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director of NLIRH. “The Health Equity and Accountability Act bill would begin to set right longstanding inequities and improve the health of Latinas, our families, and our communities.”
The Health Equity and Accountability Act (S. 2474) was introduced to the U.S. Senate by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) with the co-sponsorship of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI). Late last year, leaders in the Congressional Tri-Caucus introduced corresponding legislation in the house.
In addition to improving access to culturally and linguistically appropriate care, diversifying the health care workforce, and improving data collection standards, the Health Equity and Accountability Act specifically calls for programs to reduce the reproductive health disparities faced by women of color, including Latinas and immigrant women. The bill establishes federal screening guidelines for cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs); expands comprehensive sex education programs; and increases access to information about emergency contraception, dating violence, and healthy relationships in communities of color.
“The Health Equity and Accountability Act, in building upon health reform, advances a comprehensive framework to reduce racial and ethnic health inequities and, in doing so, seeks to improve health outcomes for millions of Latinas,” said González-Rojas.

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