SEARAC Denounces Trump Administration Rule Erasing Civil Rights Protections under the Affordable Care Act

Weakening health care access during a global pandemic is heartless

Washington, DC – On Friday, the Trump Administration finalized a proposal to roll back the Health Care Rights Law (also known as section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act), which protects patients from health care discrimination based on a number of categories, including race, gender, ethnic identity, disability, and limited English proficiency. This move largely impacts people of color, immigrants, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals during a global pandemic when access to quality health care can determine life or death.

For Southeast Asian Americans who especially deal with high proportions of limited English proficiency — roughly 45.1% for Vietnamese, 35.4% for Cambodian, 32.9% for Lao, and 32.1% for Hmong, compared to 8.5% for the total US population — this rollback harms those in our community who already struggle with receiving linguistically competent care, especially elders.
“To erase civil rights protections and weaken access to quality health care for our families during a global health emergency is nothing short of heartless and cruel,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “In the midst of civil unrest brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and demands for justice in the killing of George Floyd, and during PRIDE month, we demand leadership that will step up to protect the most vulnerable communities. This proposal runs counter to the systemic change our country needs to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of all its citizens.