For Immediate Release

June 28, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) celebrated today’s historic decision by the United States Supreme Court upholding in its entirety the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—at its core a civil rights law that brings us closer to health equality for all.

“Today is a significant victory for our entire nation and especially for communities of color,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF president and CEO. “The Court’s decision validates a landmark civil rights law that brings the work of equity and justice to the health arena.”

“For far too long, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, along with millions of other Americans, have gone without insurance and access to quality care,” said Ed Tepporn, APIAHF vice president for engagement and capacity building. “Today, our nation’s highest court has upheld the promise of the ACA. The ACA provides the crucial investments and reforms necessary to eliminate health and health care disparities, especially in minority and underserved communities.”

The law’s benefits are undisputable. Through early implementation, 97,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander young adults have been able to remain on their parent’s insurance plans and nearly 3 million Asian Americans have received preventive health care at no cost. By 2016, an estimated 2 million Asian Americans will have gained or become eligible for coverage.

Other meaningful protections are also underway. For example, insurance companies can no longer engage in unfair practices that harm consumers, including discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions like chronic diseases, and starting in 2014, this protection will extend to adults. This provision is particularly important for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders who suffer from diabetes, cancer and Hepatitis B at disproportionately higher rates than their white peers.

In addition, the Medicaid expansion under the law, set for 2014, will provide essential health care to one in ten low-income Asian Americans and one in eight Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders who would otherwise struggle to afford care. In California alone this will provide an additional 140,000 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders with coverage.

Since 2010, APIAHF has worked with Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities and policy makers to implement the law. APIAHF defended the ACA in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court that was joined by nearly 40 Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander health and advocacy organizations from around the nation and the territories and highlighted the real impact the law has already had—and will continue to have—on Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. Today’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the law represents a major achievement for communities of color and other underserved populations. APIAHF will continue to work with national and local advocates to implement the law in full.