For immediate release

November 7, 2012

WASHINGTON—The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) congratulates President Barack Obama on his reelection and welcomes new and returning members of the 113th Congress. The 113th Congress will be one of the most diverse, welcoming 18 female senators including Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), who becomes the first Asian American woman senator; Grace Meng (NY-6), New York’s first Asian American to be elected to Congress; Congresswoman-elect Tammy Duckworth (IL-8), the first Thai American woman elected to Congress; Representative-elect Mark Takano (CA-41), the first openly gay Asian American elected to Congress; and Representative-elect Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2), the first Samoan woman elected to Congress.

“Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders are becoming a growing voice and increasingly vital to national politics, priorities and policies,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF president and CEO. “Last night’s election results show just a glimpse of the impact that Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities can have at the local, state and national levels.”
The 2012 election cycle was historic in terms of the changing U.S. demographic makeup and growing minority electorate. Minority groups played an integral role in the President’s reelection, including Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs), who supported President Obama by a wider margin than in 2008 and were projected to be a major voting bloc in a number of swing states.

APIAHF has worked closely with the Obama Administration and Congressional leaders on a number of key reforms, investments and public health policies that have positively impacted AAs and NHPIs, including the Health Equity and Accountability Act and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) coverage expansions, major public health investments, Medicaid expansion and strategies to improve health-related data. Over the last four years, the Obama Administration has led historic efforts to address the needs of minority communities through the first Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

Congress will return next week to tackle the sequestration’s impending automatic spending cuts and the nation’s budget and fiscal challenges, all of which can place safety net programs like Medicaid, Medicare, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Social Security at risk.

“Any budget compromise must be balanced and combine necessary revenue increases with spending cuts,” said Ed Tepporn, APIAHF vice president of community strategies. “AA and NHPI communities, like many low-income communities, rely on these vital lifelines.”

Health reform supporters will also continue to move forward at the state and federal levels defending and implementing the ACA.
APIAHF is committed to working with the Administration and Congress in the months ahead not only to protect current reforms and investments like the ACA, but also to craft new policies including comprehensive immigration reform that address the number of challenges facing AAs and NHPIs and other immigrant communities.