SEARAC Applauds Introduction of Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2020

Represents a progressive milestone for SEAA communities

Washington, DC –  Today, the Congressional Tri-Caucus, led by Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) of 2020. This critical piece of legislation includes provisions that would eliminate barriers to coverage, expand access to affordable health care, and improve the data collection and reporting of disaggregated data. The bill also creates culturally and linguistically appropriate health and mental health services to address the unique needs of immigrants and refugees.

As the largest refugee community ever to resettle in the United States’ history, Southeast Asian Americans (SEAAs) experience unique health and mental health challenges resulting from decades of unaddressed trauma and physical impacts of the US-backed war in Southeast Asia. For instance, SEAAs suffer disproportionately from hepatitis B, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. Hmong and Vietnamese women are at a higher risk of cervical cancer than other racial/ethnic groups. Additionally, many community members need support dealing with the physical, mental, and emotional scars from the war, which is further compounded by inadequate access to culturally and linguistically competent health care.
“We applaud Rep. Garcia and the Congressional Tri-Caucus for introducing the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2020. This bill remains a progressive milestone for our communities and the direction our country’s health care system must move toward,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “Equitable access to health care is more important now than ever. The threat of COVID-19 has exposed that our country’s current health care infrastructure does not work for all Americans. Too many Southeast Asian Americans still lack access to health care or are provided inadequate coverage and culturally competent care. We urge Congress to move quickly and advance this bill.”