For Immediate Release
September 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) applauds the introduction of The Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2011 (HEAA). The bill, introduced by the members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus — comprised of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — builds on previous successes and provides the tools necessary to address the health and health disparities experienced by minority and underserved communities.

Last year, Congress and the Obama Administration, passed the most comprehensive health care reform bill that covers millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans and established the foundation for eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in this country. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more Americans will have access to the health care they deserve. The introduction of HEAA builds on the gains provided by the ACA and takes the next steps to disparities elimination.

“APIAHF applauds the hard work of our leaders in the Congressional Tri-Caucus and their dedication to working with community groups to develop an effective health equity bill that complements and utilizes the tools provided in the ACA,” said Kathy Lim Ko, president and CEO of APIAHF. “This bill will help us become a healthier and stronger nation.”

The bill specifically outlines initiatives that will better identify racial and ethnic health disparities, while providing innovative and effective investments and reforms for closing the gap in care. The bill offers increased data collection and reporting, ensures workforce diversity, makes available cultural and linguistically appropriate health care services and improves overall health for women, children, and families.

“This legislation will serve a vital purpose in our nation’s health care system, bringing health equity to all corners of our nation,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, Chair of the Healthcare Task Force of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “Building on the historic provisions in the Affordable Care Act, the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2011 includes new and tools to ensure effective, prioritized action is taken to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities, which can help our nation save trillions of dollars in savings.”

The bill was introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee, along with Rep. Donna Christensen, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard and dozens of members of the Tri-Caucus.

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.