Press Releases

Rep. Roybal-Allard, Tri-Caucus Members Introduce the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2014

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Washington, July 30, 2014 | Ben Soskin ((202) 225-1766) | comments
Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) of 2014.  HEAA was formally introduced this morning by Congresswoman Roybal-Allard, the bill’s lead sponsor and the Chair of the CHC Health Task Force.  HEAA builds on the advancements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by providing federal resources, policies, and infrastructure to eliminate health disparities in all populations, regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration status, age, ability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or English proficiency.   The bill included 65 original cosponsors.

“I am honored to introduce the 113th Congress Health Equity and Accountability Act on behalf of my colleagues in the Tri-Caucus,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard.  “HEAA provides a consensus blueprint of the most principled, comprehensive, and strategic plan to eliminate health disparities and improve the health of all communities.  We believe that no one’s life expectancy should be determined by the color of their skin, or the zip code in which they are born.  By adopting HEAA’s wide spectrum strategy of racial, ethnic, ability, language, and gender health disparity elimination initiatives, we hope to dramatically reduce the disproportionately high rates of premature death and preventable illness in our minority communities.”

The Tri-Caucus has introduced HEAA in six consecutive Congresses, and through the years it has served as a comprehensive blueprint for reaching health equity.  It has continually proven its worth as a source of valuable and viable health equity ideas: many past HEAA provisions have informed ACA provisions and HHS initiatives.

This year’s HEAA bill improves and guides federal efforts in the following vital areas: data collection and reporting; culturally and linguistically appropriate health care; health workforce diversity; health care services; health outcomes for women, children and families; mental health; high impact minority diseases; health information technology; accountability and evaluation; and addressing the social causes of health disparities.

“As co-chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus healthcare taskforce, I am excited to announce the re-introduction of the Health Equity and Accountability Act. The Affordable Care Act has dramatically expanded access to healthcare for communities of color, and includes many provisions to address persistent health disparities and inequities faced by these communities. The Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2014 builds upon these efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate disparities when it comes to health status, outcomes, and life expectancy for communities of color,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13). “In particular, this measure will focus on comprehensive ways to address incidences of diseases that disproportionally affect communities of color, especially cancer, heart disease, hepatitis, diabetes and HIV/AIDS, and to strengthen and ensure access to culturally and linguistically appropriate care.”

"The Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2014 builds upon the progress that we – as a nation – have made in health disparity elimination,” noted Congresswoman Donna Christensen (D-VI), a physician and Chair of the CBC Health Braintrust.  "It also serves to remind everyone that we still have so much more work that needs to be done.  To that end, this critical piece of legislation not only bolsters ongoing health disparity elimination efforts, but also applies a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to ensure health equity for every man, woman and child in the United States and in the U.S. Territories."

Link to Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s speech introducing HEAA in the House of Representatives this morning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9ccuqb0SQc

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