09/28/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/28/2023 08:40
As part of Biden-Harris Administration's National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, HHS Joins Agencies from Across the Administration in Producing Fact Sheets on Title VI Enforcement
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) joined seven other agencies in clarifying, for the first time in writing, that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits certain forms of antisemitic, Islamophobic, and related forms of discrimination in federally funded programs and activities.
The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) took steps to counter antisemitism by issuing a bulletin describing how civil rights laws may protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of their actual or perceived ethnicity or ancestry. This important reminder is HHS's latest action in furtherance of the Biden-Harris Administration's National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.
OCR enforces federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination. Specifically, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI)1 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department, for example hospitals or clinics that receive such funding. In addition, Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Section 1557) prohibits discrimination on various bases, including race, color, and national origin, in covered health programs and activities.2 Depending upon facts and circumstances, these laws may prohibit discrimination against individuals who are or perceived to be Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, or of another religion, if the discrimination is based on their ancestry or ethnic characteristics.
"Too many people in this country are being denied access to care or support because of their gender, sexual identity, religion, race, or disability," said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. "Discrimination in any form is unacceptable, and the Biden-Harris Administration won't stand for it. Today's bulletin raises awareness about federal laws prohibiting antisemitism and related forms of bias and discrimination. This is an important step on our journey towards being a nation where everyone can access the critical programs and services they need and deserve."
"OCR is committed to protecting individuals from discrimination based on who you are or what you believe," said HHS Office for Civil Rights Director Melanie Fontes Rainer. "We believe that Americans deserve the agency to receive the care they need regardless of what they look like or believe in, and we are proud to be joining seven other agencies in explaining obligations under Title VI."
HHS is one of eight agencies-the Departments of Agriculture, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security, Interior, Transportation, and Treasury-producing materials explaining that Title VI prohibits discrimination based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, including certain antisemitic and related forms of discrimination and bias in federally funded programs and activities.
Today's bulletin provides insight and examples of the kinds of incidents that could, depending upon facts and circumstances, raise concerns under or violate federal civil rights law:
Today's announcement builds on HHS's other commitments to implement the Biden-Harris Administration's National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism:
HHS is committed to ensuring that all people can access health care and human services, free from discrimination. If you believe that your or another person's health information privacy or civil rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with OCR at: https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/complaints/index.html
1 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., as implemented by 45 C.F.R. Part 80.
2 42 U.S.C. § 18116, as implemented by 45 C.F.R. Part 92.A