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Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Jane Ka'ala Pang, RN, PHN

Retired Nurse, PIHP Full Time Volunteer Program Manager

Before health care reform, I had a client who was not able to afford health coverage and was able to get Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program) coverage once she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but only for 18 months. My client is a home caregiver and developed breast cancer without any medical or financial resources. She requested support and referral from Pacific Islander Health Partnership.

Potri Ranka Manis

RN & Community Health Worker Trainer

Before health care reform:

Small business needs:…it was difficult for a small organization like ours with only 3 employees at the time to find affordable health insurance packages.

Workforce: it was difficult to find funding to hire community health workers to serve our community.

Health care reform is important to me because:

Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS

A Provider Perspective

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), particularly aspects related to pre-existing conditions, has increased our HIV-positive patients’ access to medical services in a timely manner. Our HIV primary care clinic exists to provide access to primary care services, particularly targeting Asian & Pacific Islanders, the LGBT community and other people of color. We serve a significant number of patients who are uninsured.

Dennis Chau


Before health care reform, I can barely remember the days when I still had insurance. From early on, going to the doctor's was seen as something was very commonplace; even to the point where we were on a first name basis with the doctor. One day though, when our family didn't qualify for governmental insurance, we found ourselves foregoing quality over economy. The number of doctors changed as often as the seasons, and price was always weighing heavily on our minds.

Anton Saleh


Before health care reform, I was unable to afford my prescription medications because my cancer medications were not on my insurer's approved drug list. The drugs I must take to treat my cancer cost $40+ per capsule and I presently take 4 per day, though this may soon increase to 6. At present, the cost of my medication is nearly $5,000 per month, which was $60,000 per year. Despite knowing that this medication is necessary to save my life, HealthNet has repeatedly declined further support.

Jane Ka'ala Pang, RN, PHN

Marshallese Community CA Survivors

PIHP continues to partner with other small NHPI community agencies to provide the critical support for many NHPI clients navigating the fragmented, hostile medical services available. One of the elder leaders in the Marshallese community is experiencing a medical crisis at a premiere medical center in Orange County, CA. The center does not have any Marshallese translators on staff to help provide services, inform consent, advance directive, or critical medical information.

AnhDao Bui


The types of barriers that I have encountered with relating to healthcare access and insurance is that when I turned 18, I was no longer under my dad's health insurance plan. For a few years, I was uninsured until my friend told me about UNM care (a country-based medical assistance program). I also had to pay out-of-pocket expenses before and even after I obtained health insurance.

Kazuko Davis

Access to Culturally Adequate Care

Before health care reform, my problem regarding health insurance or healthcare access is the language barrier. Since English is not my first language, it has been difficult for me to understand the American healthcare system. Thus, I have trouble navigating through it. There are also times where I am unable to describe my symptoms in English because I either do not know the English equivalent or there is no English word to describe a Japanese word.

Kijoong Shin

Small Business Owner

Before health care reform, I was on Nationwide insurance with a $5000 deductible. I had open heart surgery and the bill was $54,000. The insurance company canceled my policy because my bills were too high. I had to self-pay for all follow up doctors' visits, other lab and x-rays, and medicine. In 2008, my business went under and I could not afford insurance. I have been uninsured ever since.

Health care reform is important to me because I was unable to afford insurance and now I can get health insurance.

Published:November 2013
Type:Fact Sheet
Topic:Affordable Care Act » Learn
Affordable Care Act