WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the Senate introduced a budget resolution for FY 2018 that contains instructions for the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions; Finance; House Energy and Commerce; and House Ways and Means committees to begin work on reconciliation directions, marking the first step in repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the 115th Congress. Since becoming law in 2010, Congress has voted for repeal over 50 times. However, more than 20 million people across the country are now covered thanks to the ACA, including millions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs).
“Since the enactment of the ACA, the number of uninsured AAs and NHPIs has almost been cut in half,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “In 2010, 15.7% of AAs and 17.4% of NHPIs were uninsured, and those rates decreased in 2015 to 7.8% and 9.9% respectively. Families across the country have been able to afford quality coverage that meets their needs, including those who gained coverage through state Medicaid expansions. We must ensure these families continue to stay covered under future legislation and be able to live healthy lives, of which they have every right to do.”
As an ardent supporter of health equity and health care access for all persons, APIAHF opposes repeal of the ACA without any real replacement and any efforts that will increase the number of uninsured persons, including AAs and NHPIs; undermine consumer protections for communities; or civil rights for persons who are limited English proficient. APIAHF believes in health equity for all, which means all families should receive quality medical care; live in neighborhoods that promote better health; and see culturally competent providers who can communicate in the appropriate languages. For 30 years, APIAHF has worked to advance these principles and become the leading consumer advocate and champion to promote health equity for AA and NHPI communities. In addition, APIAHF has co-lead Action for Health Justice in outreaching to, educating, and enrolling nearly 1 million AAs and NHPIs.
The Senate budget resolution begins the process of repealing the ACA without a replacement for 20 million people currently covered and tens of millions who are relying on consumer protections and access to essential preventive care. According to the Urban Institute, repealing the ACA would double the uninsurance rate and leave 30 million people without coverage. With repeal, nearly three million AAs and NHPIs would risk losing coverage, as well as 14 million who could lose coverage if Medicaid expansions end.
Now is a time to build upon the coverage gains and move toward continuing to improve the health care system so that all persons truly have coverage they can count on.