The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health Applauds the Introduction of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) applauds the introduction of The Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018 (HEAA). The bill focuses on eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities and serves as the benchmark of how health equity advocates and Congress see to comprehensively achieve health equity in the United States. Today, the landmark legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Barbara Lee on behalf of the Congressional Tri-Caucus, made up of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The Senate version is expected to be introduced shortly by Senator Mazie Hirono
While national demographics are rapidly changing, communities of color are expected to continue growing in the coming years and facing substantial cultural, social, and economic barriers to obtaining quality health care and achieving equitable health outcomes. Communities of color also experience poorer health statuses than their white counterparts. Efforts to improve their health and the delivery of care have been limited by inadequate resources for funding, staffing, stewardship, and accountability.
“Latinxs, including immigrant women and LGBTQ Latinxs, experience substantial systemic barriers such as high costs, lack access to clinics in rural areas, and insufficient culturally and linguistically competent health care. Additionally, discriminatory immigration policies make it difficult–and in some cases nearly impossible–to access critical, affordable, and comprehensive routine health care. Consequently, Latinxs and other underserved communities suffer from health inequities and poorer health outcomes than their white counterparts. If passed and enacted into law, HEAA would significantly reduce the race and ethnic health disparities that endanger our communities. It is with this comprehensive approach that we can eradicate persistent disparities in communities of color,” said Nina Esperanza Serrianne, policy analyst for NLIRH.
As the most inclusive version of the bill, and ensures that a full range of culturally and linguistically appropriate health care and public health services are available and accessible in every community, creates a pipeline and new training opportunities for minority-serving professional and allied health care workers, and incorporates strategies to address a range of disease-specific, mental and behavioral health issues facing communities of color. These are all important steps towards creating a sustainable health care system that can pave the road to health equity.
“At a time when health care is under attack, this bill serves as vision for what our communities need. HEAA is proactive legislation that would protect our fundamental human right to health, dignity, and justice. HEAA is a step towards guaranteeing Latinxs have access to the care they deserve and ensuring health equity for all. NLIRH applauds the efforts of the Congressional Tri-Caucus to expand health care coverage and looks forward toward the passage of the bill,” Serrianne added.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 28 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.