WASHINGTON, DC — Today marks the tenth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the most significant piece of healthcare legislation enacted in our generation. Over the past decade, more than 20 million, including Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs), have benefited from the ACA’s expanded access to affordable health insurance and consumer protections. The ACA was a historic achievement and continues to make considerable advancements in our nation’s healthcare infrastructure.
“Thanks to the ACA, our communities cut the percentage of uninsured by more than half for Asian Americans and nearly half for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders,” said Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum. “The progress we have achieved so far, coupled with the continuing need to advocate for healthcare coverage for all residents makes it imperative that our voices are heard and that our elected leaders affirm their support for the ACA. Furthermore, we look to leaders who pledge a philosophical commitment to making our healthcare system equitable and easily accessible, regardless of language, race or national origin.”
Consistent with our founding principles, the ACA has narrowed racial and ethnic disparities. APIAHF, together with its partners – Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles – contributed to decreasing the uninsured rate for countless families through the creation of a coalition of 72 community-based organizations and community health centers called Action for Health Justice. Together, we have outreached to and enrolled over 1 million AAs and NHPIs in coverage under the ACA. Prior to the passage of the ACA, over 15% of AAs and 14% of NHPIs were uninsured. Through our collective efforts, these numbers have decreased dramatically to just over 6% of AA and 8% of NHPIs being uninsured in 2018.
The Affordable Care Act has improved the health and lives of countless individuals and families in our community. Examples include:
- A single mom of three was able to get health coverage for the first time ever. Due to the protections afforded by the ACA, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, she had access to affordable surgery, reconstruction and long-term care.
- Aleki, a four-year-old in Utah, suffered from asthma attacks since birth and has been hospitalized several times. Thanks to the ACA, Aleki’s parents qualified for Medicaid, which allowed them to afford Aleki’s inhalers.
- Thao, a fisherman with diabetes in Biloxi, Mississippi, makes $8 an hour and was previously uninsured. Thanks to the ACA, Thao was able to enroll in a health plan that covered his pre-existing conditions, provided tax credits and got him the lifesaving care he needed.
While the law has had a demonstrable impact on the lives of millions, there are several threats to these gains. The state of Texas brought the case Texas v. United States to weaken the ACA, which is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, actions by the Trump administration, including the expansion of public charge and cuts to critical community outreach and enrollment efforts, threaten to reverse a decade of progress. Instead of making threats that have harmed the progress of the ACA, we look to our country’s leaders to protect our care, build on this decade of success and strive towards universal coverage for all Americans.
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The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.