On June 15, led by Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL), members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) (H.R. 5475). The groups, also known as the Congressional Tri-Caucus, have introduced versions of the legislation since 2007, which has served to inform other health-related legislation considered by the Congress, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Introducing the bill, Rep. Kelly, chair of the CBC Health Braintrust, noted that HEAA “is a reminder that there is much work to be done to improve health outcomes in minority populations.” She was joined at the bill’s roll out by CAPAC chair Judy Chu (D-CA), CAPAC Health Taskforce co-chair Barbara Lee (D-CA), CHC Health Task Force chair Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), CHC chair Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and CBC chair G.K. Butterfield (D-NC). The bill currently has 18 co-sponsors.
Among other things, if enacted, the bill would direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support research addressing minority health and health disparities. Issues and topics addressed by the 800-page bill include: data collection and reporting; workforce diversity; mental health; healthcare outcomes for women, children and families; “high impact minority diseases” (cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic disease, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, lung disease); health information technology; accountability and evaluation; and social determinants of health, the built environment, and environmental justice.