NMA Applauds Senate Introduction of the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA)
Monday, December 3, 2018
Washington, D.C. (December 4, 2018) – National Medical Association (NMA) is pleased that the Senate companion legislation of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018 (HEAA) has been introduced by Sen. Mazie Hirono. The bill, which complements the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and focuses on eliminating racial
and ethnic disparities, was introduced in the House (H.R. 5942) by Congresswoman Barbara Lee and 67 co- sponsors on behalf of the Congressional Tri-Caucus, comprised of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, earlier in May.
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 their health and the delivery of care have been limited by inadequate resources for funding, staffing and accountability.
“HEAA provides the funding to address health disparities such as the increased mortality rates of breast cancer and heart disease in African American women and prostate cancer in African American men,” says Dr. Niva Lubin-Johnson, president of the National Medical Association. “Also, investing in the pipeline is critical to addressing the health care apparatus.”
HEAA builds upon the strengths of the ACA and provides the additional tools necessary to address and eliminate health and health care disparities experienced by minority and underserved communities. The bill 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.
NMA is committed to ensuring passage of this legislation. For far too long, the health of African-Americans has been a secondary concern when it comes to policies. We are happy to see legislation that will be prioritized for
this overlooked population.