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Congresswoman Young Kim Smiling in a Red top and Black Blazer

Sep 27, 2023 | Health, Press Releases

Washington, DC— Today, U.S. Representatives Young Kim (CA-40) and Grace Meng (NY-06) introduced the bipartisan Health Communication Access and Resources for Everyone (Health CARE) Act (H.R. 5762) to reduce barriers to health care access for patients.

The Health CARE Act would create a universal language access symbol as a consistent, simple, and low-cost way to let patients know that language services are available at a facility providing health care, health insurance, or related service. More than 25 million people in the United States are Limited English Proficient (LEP) and face barriers when seeking health care options. Federally funded health and health insurance providers are required to make language services available but do not have a consistent way to show these services are available to patients.

“Language barriers should not keep Americans from accessing health care. As someone whose second language is English and the representative of a diverse district with Americans of different backgrounds, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to express health care needs and know what resources are available,” said Rep. Young Kim. “I’m proud to lead the Health CARE Act to reduce language barriers and ensure Americans know what health care options are available to them, regardless of the language they speak. I thank Rep. Meng for joining me in this bipartisan, commonsense effort to improve health care access in our communities and across the nation.”

“Health care is a basic necessity for functioning societies, and in a place like the United States that is made up of different cultures, backgrounds, and languages, it is important that there are means of communication to reduce language barriers in health care settings,” said Rep. Grace Meng. “I am proud to help champion the Health CARE Act alongside Rep. Young Kim. This is a commonsense solution, that people from every district across the country will benefit from and I look forward to moving this bill along in the House.” 

“While it is critical that we all get information about our health in a way that is accessible, too often people face barriers to accessing health information in their primary language. The creation of a universal language access symbol is an innovative yet simple solution that can better connect our communities to language services and improve their health outcomes. We are grateful to Rep. Young Kim and Rep. Grace Meng for introducing this crucial bill, and we urge Congress to pass the Health CARE Act without delay,” said Kica Matos, President, National Immigration Law Center.

“With over 25 million Americans dealing with limited English Proficiency it is crucial that we work to tear down the barriers across all fields but especially health care. For many first-generation households such as my own, we often find ourselves translating and supporting our parents through their health care process. LIBRE is committed to increasing awareness of language services in federal funded health and health insurance programs. We strongly support the bipartisan Health CARE Act and commend Rep. Young Kim and Rep. Grace Meng’s leadership in making health care more accessible to Immigrants in their language of choice,” said Isabel Soto, Policy Director, the LIBRE Initiative.

The bill also has the support of the National Health Law Program, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum.

Read the bill text HERE.

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