Washington, D.C. – The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) applauds the introduction of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018 (HEAA). Introduced today by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Rep. Barbara J. Lee (D-CA13), the bill has the support of the Congressional Tri-Caucus, which includes the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
HEAA of 2018 will eliminate existing access barriers to affordable health insurance coverage, promote investments in innovative health delivery methods and technologies, and advance research and data collection about the health needs and outcomes of diverse communities. It also provides for a full range of culturally and linguistically appropriate health care and public health services to be made available and accessible in every community; creates a pipeline and new training opportunities for minority-serving professionals and allied health care workers; and incorporates strategies to address various social determinants of health such as the built environment and lead exposure.
Despite numerous landmark reports and legislation, communities of color continue to face substantial cultural, social, and economic barriers to obtaining quality health care and achieving equitable health outcomes. Efforts to improve the delivery of care and public health and social services have been limited by decades of inadequate funding, staffing, stewardship, and accountability.
“This bill makes important steps toward eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities and creating a sustainable health care system that addresses health equity,” says Dr. Angela Mickalide, MCHES®, SOPHE President. “Health equity has long been a strategic focus of SOPHE, and we are proud the bill recognizes the contributions that health educators can make to individual and population health improvement across all demographic, geographic and social sectors.”
HEAA builds upon the strengths of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and provides additional strategies to eliminate health and health care disparities experienced by minority and underserved communities. It addresses gun violence, which disproportionately impacts low-income and racial and ethnic minority communities, by repealing the Dickey amendment and calling for firearms research and prevention.
In addition to Senator Mazie Hirono and Rep. Barbara Lee, the bill is co-sponsored by dozens of members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus. SOPHE’s 4,000 members across the country will be working to educate policymakers on these important steps forward to improving health outcomes.
Contact: Cicily Hampton, PhD, MPA, Senior Director, Health Science & Policy | 202.408.9804 | CHampton@SOPHE.org