WASHINGTON — Today, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the “Expand Navigators’ Resources for Outreach, Learning, and Longevity (ENROLL) Act” in the U.S. Senate. The ENROLL Act would restore funding to the Navigator program and allow Navigator grantees to better serve their communities by undoing recent regulatory attacks on the program.
“Navigators serve an essential role in enrolling Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in health insurance, helping immigrant and limited English proficient families in understanding what can otherwise be a complex enrollment process and empowering them to choose a health plan that works best for them,” said Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum. “Congressional leadership in restoring funding for this vital program is especially critical for the health and well-being of all minority communities.”
APIAHF and its partners know the importance of ACA outreach first hand, particularly building on the work of Action for Health Justice (AHJ), a national coalition of more than 70 health groups that provided quality assistance to those navigating the health insurance enrollment process. Over four open enrollment periods, AHJ helped enroll over a million Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islander. The work of unbiased navigators and other assisters is important to reaching communities who face barriers such as language, income, and low health literacy.
The ENROLL Act was introduced earlier this year in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL-14) as H.R. 1386 and passed the House in May. APIAHF calls on the Senate to also pass this bill, which would be an important step towards reducing health disparities in the United States, restoring the trend of lower health insurance rates among communities of color that has stalled for the first time since the passage of the ACA.
APIAHF applauds Senator Baldwin for introducing this important legislation, along with co-sponsoring Senators Casey (D-PA), Shaheen (D-NH), Booker (D-NJ), Stabenow (D-MI), Hirono (D-HI), Duckworth (D-IL), Merkley (D-OR), Van Hollen (D-MD), Hassan (D-NH), King (I-ME), Coons (D-DE), Menendez (D-NJ), Peters (D-MI), Tester (D-MT), Harris (D-CA), Smith (D-MN), Murphy (D-CT), Rosen (D-NV), Blumenthal (D-CT), and Klobuchar (D-MN).