July 31, 2019
Take action: Submit a comment to protect health care rights for all
By: Elaine Sanchez Wilson

This post originally appeared on the SEARAC blog.

Health is a human right, and that is why we believe that a patient’s health should come first. The Trump Administration has introduced a new proposed rule that would radically reinterpret civil rights protections under the Health Care Rights Law (Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act) for people who are limited English proficient (LEP). This includes changing how US Department of Health and Human Services and federal and state health insurance marketplaces must comply with the law, limiting enforcement of civil rights, and rolling back protections.

Trump’s proposed rule will impact LEP Southeast Asian Americans. Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and Hmong Americans have significant high proportions of limited English proficiency at 45.1%, 35.4%, 32.9%, and 32.1%, respectively, compared to 8.5% for the total US population. The proposed rule limits the language support needed for SEAA communities to receive quality health care.

When all patients can access translation resources and in-language support during their medical care, we all benefit. We urge the Southeast Asian American community to take action and stand with the many families who are at risk of being harmed because of this proposed rule.

REFERENCE 1. American Community Survey, 2017 1-year estimates

TAKE ACTION: There are four things you can do to protect your community from losing in-language health care protections.

  1. Submit your own comment. This comment portal is easy to follow and will help you craft a unique comment in less than 5 minutes. Comments that include personal stories or organizational impact will be most useful to opposing this rule. 
  1. Get your organization to submit a comment. Use this template or SEARAC’s comment for reference to help get you started.
  1. Share widely with your networks. For sample social media messaging, see below:

The Trump Administration wants to take your health care rights away. Will you stand with @searac to #PutPatientsFirst and demand our rights be protected? TAKE ACTION: http://bit.ly/LanguageAccessNow #LanguageAccessNow

  1. Join us for the Language Access & Immigrants Week of Action. This week we will be participating in a week of action bringing awareness to this issue and how it impacts language access and immigrant communities.

Twitter: Join us for a live Twitter chat on July 31 at 3 pm ET / 12 pm PT to raise awareness on how this proposed rule puts our communities at risk. Use the hashtags #PutPatientsFirst and #LanguageAccessNow with http://bit.ly/LanguageAccessNow.

Instagram: Share a 10-15 second video on how language access impacts you, your family, and community. Please be sure to add the http://bit.ly/LanguageAccessNow link to your Instagram bio.

SEARAC has submitted a comment to oppose this proposed rule. Will you submit a comment to support? The last day to submit a comment is Tuesday, August 13, 2019.

If you have any follow-up questions or need additional support, please email An Nguyen at an@searac.org.



The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.