December 2, 2017

WASHINGTON – Today, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) released a statement following the Senate’s passage of tax legislation, including an amendment to repeal the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Due to the repeal, an estimated 13 million people will lose their health insurance.

“It is shameful that in the midst of open enrollment as millions of Americans head to the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace to get coverage they can rely on, the Senate has voted to partially dismantle that same coverage in order to pass tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest in our nation, while adding an estimated 1 trillion dollars to our deficit,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “This is dangerous for communities, such as Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, who disproportionately face disparities and barriers in accessing health insurance and utilizing health care. The increase to the deficit will also lead to automatic future spending cuts to certain programs like Medicare and the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Health care must be affordable and available for all. We will work alongside other health advocates in calling on Congress to listen to their constituents and heed the call to protect our care.”

Since the ACA became law, the individual mandate has helped to reduce the uninsured rates for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPI) by half. The Congressional Budget Office estimated repealing the mandate will lead to 13 million people losing their health insurance and premiums will increase by 10 percent. Many AAs and NHPIs disproportionately experience a range of chronic conditions that, prior to the ACA, were considered pre-existing conditions that required routine access to preventive care and treatment. Before the ACA, many groups, such as Korean, Indonesian and Micronesian Americans had uninsured rates above twenty percent.

The House plans to vote on the tax bill Monday and must work with the Senate to reconcile differences. If passed, the bill will then move to President Trump for signature, setting the stage for further attacks on health care programs in 2018.

APIAHF urges the House to reject the Senate Bill and to stand up for the constituencies they represent.