April 14, 2017
The Honorable Toni Atkins
State Capitol, Room 4072
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: (916) 651-4939
RE: SB 223 (Atkins): Health care language assistance services
AAP-CA Position: SUPPORT
Dear Senator Atkins:
I am writing on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, to let you know that we strongly support your proposed legislation SB 223 (Atkins). This bill would align current California regulation with those of the Affordable Care Act in regards to language assistance services and non-discrimination protections.
The Affordable Care Act provided important nondiscrimination regulations by barring health care discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, age or disability, as well as providing standards on skilled interpreter services for individuals with Limited English Proficiency and access for people with disabilities. These must be protected. However, if the ACA were to be repealed or amended at the federal level, these protections could go away because they are not currently found in California law.
SB 223 (Atkins) would make sure that federal legislation does not eliminate these crucial protections for Californians, by requiring all health plans in California to meet the highest standards in non-discrimination measures, consumer protections, and language assistance standards. This would be immensely beneficial to California children, who should never have to face discrimination—especially not when seeking medical care.
Pediatricians across the state strongly support SB 223 (Atkins). We thank you for your leadership on behalf of the health and well-being of children, youth, and families in California.
Nancy Graff, M.D., Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
State Government Affairs Committee, American Academy of Pediatrics, California
CC: Kris Calvin, CEO; AAP-CA Leadership; Lydia Bourne