May 4, 2017
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 217-213 to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as Americans across the country rely on the law’s coverage and protections. The bill, called the American Health Care Act, repeals major parts of the ACA, including critical consumer protections for those with pre-existing conditions; reduces financial assistance available; and ends Medicaid as we know it. If passed by the Senate and signed by President Trump, the repeal bill will eliminate coverage for an estimated 24 million Americans, including up to 2 million Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs).
“Today’s vote by the House to repeal the ACA is not just a statement of policy, it strikes at the heart of millions of Americans, including the 2 million AAs and NHPIs relying on the ACA for coverage and access to care,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “Families depend on the ACA to afford quality, comprehensive coverage that ensures their health and livelihoods. Since its enactment, the ACA has cut the number of uninsured AAs in half and number of uninsured NHPIs nearly in half. The ACA has been a literal lifeline for Americans around the country and Congress’ plan to repeal the law threatens to undue much of that. Repealing the ACA stands in stark contrast to the proven success of the law – historic gains in coverage and access to care.”
If the repeal bill becomes law, over 18 million people are immediately at risk of losing coverage. This population includes AAs and NHPIs like Compact of Free Association (COFA) communities who, due to reduced financial assistance and changes in eligibility, would be unable to afford coverage. The repeal bill would end Medicaid by phasing in per-capita caps, reduce the amount of financial support low- and moderate-income Americans are currently receiving to afford their monthly premiums. In addition, the bill would offer fewer tax credits to individuals and families by restricting eligibility to citizens, nationals and “qualified aliens” under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act definition. In contrast, the ACA provides assistance to all lawfully present persons. Limiting tax credits only to persons who are citizens or “qualified aliens” would render many immigrant groups with lawful status ineligible, including COFA migrants. More than eight in 10 previously uninsured AAs and NHPIs qualify for financial assistance through the ACA.
Since 2013, APIAHF co-founded Action for Health Justice (AHJ), which outreached, educated and enrolled nearly one million AA and NHPIs through the ACA in 22 states and 56 languages. The AHCA will repeal parts of the ACA and put those coverage gains in jeopardy.
The repeal bill will now move to the Senate where changes are expected. APIAHF urges the public to oppose the repeal bill and to ask their Senators to vote against it. The bill is a danger to the nation’s health and threatens to turn the nation back to the days where millions were uninsured.