The National Center for Transgender Equality commends the Congressional Tri-Caucus, comprised of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) for reintroducing the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) of 2014 on Capitol Hill today. The bill’s lead sponsor is Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), along with Congresswomen Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Donna Christiansen (VI).
The Act was first introduced in 2003 and has provided a principled, comprehensive, and strategic plan to eliminate health disparities and improve the health of communities of color. This 2014 version of the bill expands upon the original by providing more federal resources, policies, and infrastructure to eliminate health disparities, with a special emphasis on racial and ethnic minorities as well as subpopulations that face additional barriers due to gender identity and sexual orientation, immigration status, age, disability, sex, and proficiency in English.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s passage was a significant advancement for the health of communities of color in the last four decades, and additional investments are needed in order to fully realize human equity. HEAA of 2014 builds on the gains for health disparities elimination achieved by the ACA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) historic health equity initiatives by directing additional resources for funding, staffing, stewardship, and accountability.
As an omnibus piece of legislation, HEAA of 2014 contains 10 titles related to data collection, culturally and linguistically appropriate health services, improving health outcomes for women and children, addressing diseases with high impact in minority communities, among many others. Of concern for LGBT persons of color, there is specific emphasis in data collection, accountability, and HIV/AIDS to address intersectional barriers when it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation. A specific non-discrimination in health care clause in the bill includes gender identity and sexual orientation, and the legislation also requires HHS to collect demographic data regarding individuals’ gender identity and sexual orientation in order to better address health disparities and trends amongst minority communities.
HEAA of 2014 has been extensively updated to reflect the latest legislative approaches to achieving health equity for minority communities, and has the support of broad coalition of organizations and advocates, including NCTE, who are committed to eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities and achieving health equity.