June 14, 2018
WASHINGTON — Today, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Heath Forum issued the following statement reacting to the proposed Fiscal Year 2019 House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Funding Bill (Labor-HHS Bill).
“The House Labor-HHS bill fails to adequately fund critical components of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and, when taken together with changes to existing regulations impacting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), threatens to undermine the health of all Americans. The bill would completely ban funding for health insurance navigators who have been critical to educating and enrolling millions of Americans through the ACA. Coupled with a short open enrollment period, weakened requirements for navigators, and few other investments in outreach, essentially ending this successful program in most states would undermine the progress made to expand coverage to millions. Congress must take steps to improve access to coverage and ensure that navigators are part of the solution.
In addition, while the bill text only provides partial funding numbers for FY 2019, Congress must adequately fund the HHS Office of Minority Health, responsible for addressing services for and barriers to the health of communities of color, the HHS Office for Civil Rights and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health. Funding for these critical programs has been stagnant or worse in recent years and do not account for inflation.