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Congressional Tri-Caucus Introduces Legislation to Promote Health Equity

August 1, 2014—Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) July 30 introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2014 (H.R. 5294), legislation intended to complement efforts of the Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) in eliminating health disparities. Members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus — the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) — are among the 65 original cosponsors of the bill.

In addition to provisions aimed at improving culturally and linguistically appropriate care, data collection and reporting, and other initiatives, the bill strives to strengthen the health care workforce. For example, the bill includes:

  • A section establishing the “Health Professions Workforce Fund,” which will provide for expanded and sustained financial support for the Health Resources and Services (HRSA)’s Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs;
  • A grant program jointly administered by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Labor, to assist academic institutions in developing capacity to improve health equity in their communities;
  • A “Sense of Congress” that eliminating the freeze on graduate medical education support through Medicare is “critical to ensuring an appropriate supply of physicians to meet the Nation’s health care needs, is critical to facilitating equitable access for all who seek health care, and is critical to mitigating disparities in health and health care,”; and
  • Language allowing teaching hospitals to count all time residents spend in approved residency programs in an attempt to resolve a longstanding regulatory barrier to residency training in nonhospital settings. 

Upon introduction of the bill, CHC Healthcare Taskforce Chair Rep. Roybal-Allard said, “I am honored to introduce the 113th Congress Health Equity and Accountability Act on behalf of my colleagues in the Tri-Caucus. HEAA provides a consensus blueprint of the most principled, comprehensive, and strategic plan to eliminate health disparities and improve the health of all communities.” 

She continued, “We believe that no one’s life expectancy should be determined by the color of their skin, or the zip code in which they are born. By adopting HEAA’s wide spectrum strategy of racial, ethnic, ability, language, and gender health disparity elimination initiatives, we hope to dramatically reduce the disproportionately high rates of premature death and preventable illness in our minority communities.”


Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Senior Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806