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May 02, 2023

Schiff Introduces Equal Health Care for All Act

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) reintroduced legislation to protect access to equitable health care. The Equal Health Care for All Act would make equal access to health care a protected civil right, addressing racial inequities and systemic failures in the United States medical system that continue to exacerbate health and mortality disparities among Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous communities. Last Congress, key provisions of Rep. Schiff’s legislation were included in the landmark Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2022, legislation that is introduced each Congress by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to address health disparities in the United States. 

Specifically, the Equal Health Care for All Act will establish a definition for “inequitable health care” to help ensure that hospitals provide the same high quality health care services to all patients, regardless of race, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or religion. The bill would also create a Federal Health Equity Commission to oversee the progress of health equity efforts, create a formal office within the Health and Human Services department to enforce the consideration of health care as a protected civil right, improve data collection efforts to inform more equitable health care practices, and provide grants to encourage providers to practice equitable health care.

“In America, everyone should receive high quality health care,” said Rep. Schiff. “Communities of color continue to receive disparate care in medical facilities and as a result have a higher likelihood of serious illness and death. Today, I reintroduced the Equal Health Care for All Act to ensure that equitable health care becomes the standard and all Americans can feel confident that they will receive the best medical care possible.”

The legislation is endorsed by NAACP, National Urban League, and National Disability Rights Network, and American Diabetes Association.

The Equal Health Care for All Act is cosponsored by Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.), Hank Johnson Jr. (D-Ga.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.). Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Shontel M. Brown (D-Ohio), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Kevin Mullin (D-Calif.), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-Washington D.C.).

The full bill text can be found here.