WASHINGTON D.C. (WAVY) – U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mazie Hirono announced the Health Equity and Accountability Act on Wednesday.
The legislation would address health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities as well as women, the LGBTQ+ community, rural populations, and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities nationwide.
“Whether someone lives or dies should never depend on factors like race, income, gender, or LGBTQ status. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to underscore the deep inequities in our health care system, I’m proud to co-sponsor this bill to build a healthier, more equitable future,” Senator Kaine said.
Senator Kaine said the Health Equity and Accountability Act will address the following:
- Expand access to health care, including health care for immigrant and rural communities.
- Improve care for underserved communities through enhanced language access services, provider training on cultural competency, and investments in diversifying the health workforce.
- Dismantle barriers to care and fund programs to support mental, infant, maternal, sexual, and reproductive health for marginalized and underserved individuals and communities.
- Increase federal resources to address diseases that disproportionately affect minority communities, and engage the entire federal government in building and funding strategies to address social determinants of health.
The Health Equity and Accountability legislation was also cosponsored by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Jeff Merkley, Tammy Duckworth, Richard Blumenthal, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, and Ben Cardin.
A companion bill was introduced in the House by Representative Jesús “Chuy” García earlier this year, with support from the Congressional Tri-Caucus.