Two years ago, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In the two years since the law went into effect, millions of individuals, including many Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) have benefited from expanded access to affordable health insurance and improved protections for consumers. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements to mark the two year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.
Senator Daniel K. Akaka (HI): "In just its first two years, the Affordable Care Act has created major improvements in health care delivery across the United States and increased access for millions of American children, young adults, seniors, and those with chronic diseases. The Affordable Care Act is helping to reduce health disparities in Asian American, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islander communities with investments in increased data collection and research, training programs that foster diversity among health care professionals, and cultural competency training for providers. It is important that we build on this progress and continue to ensure that all Americans have affordable access to high-quality health care."
Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (HI-02): "Two years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, we continue to see the positive results of this historic legislation. It provides coverage to our keiki, regardless of pre-existing conditions. It allows our young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance plans longer. It's also helping seniors pay for prescription drugs.
"I recently met with administrators from community health centers that serve more than 130,000 patients, primarily Asian American, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiian populations in rural Hawaii. These leaders explained to me how the Affordable Care Act has helped island families access quality health care. We must keep up the fight to protect the Affordable Care Act and ensure that all families receive the health care they deserve."
Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01): "Hawaii's experience with its own Prepaid Healthcare Act has shown us how vital affordable healthcare is to our community, from providing our children with immunizations to providing our seniors with preventive services and coordinated care. In the two years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, we have seen many of the same effects take hold nationally. At every stage of their lives, middle-class Americans-the core of our nation-are enjoying better access to affordable, effective medical care. Small businesses are saving money. And we can all take pride in the fact that America worked together to ensure that millions of our friends and neighbors can benefit from this landmark legislation."
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), CAPAC Chair: "In the two years since the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, countless Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) have benefitted from its provisions. AANHPI's make up about 6 percent of the U.S. population, but account for one out of every seven uninsured Americans. The Affordable Care Act has already provided insurance coverage to nearly 100,000 additional AANHPI young adults and has helped to improve disaggregated data collection for the 49 ethnic groups that make up the AANHPI community, so that we have a better understanding of the health disparities facing our population. The passage of the Affordable Care Act was an important step forward in addressing our nation's healthcare challenges and I look forward to more positive impacts on the AANHPI community as provisions of this law continue to be enacted.
Nancy Pelosi (CA-08), Democratic Leader: "Today, we celebrate a law that puts quality, affordable care in reach for millions of Americans and extends opportunity and fairness to countless families, workers, and small business owners in the AAPI community. From my hometown of San Francisco to cities nationwide, the Affordable Care Act is extending insurance to AAPI students and young adults; it is helping end health disparities; it is ensuring that health care is a right, not a privilege, for all Americans."
Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus: "Since its enactment two years ago, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has helped millions of uninsured and low-income Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) gain access to the high quality and affordable care they deserve. The fact that 1 in 7 AANHPIs are uninsured signifies the stark need for the critical provisions found within the health care reform law. Not only does PPACA grant greater affordable access to care and tax credits to small businesses, but it also provides greater resources to the U.S. territories and includes strong data collection provisions that will help reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. As CAPAC Chair Emeritus, I will continue to address the drastic ethnic health disparities facing our nation, work to ensure that any attempt to repeal PPACA is unsuccessful, and that the health equity of all AANHPIs is an utmost priority in Congress."
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09): "Two years ago, I voted for the Affordable Care Act to address the massive gaps in our nation's health care system, which have disproportionately impacted too many in the Asian American Pacific Islander community. The ACA has already reduced the number of uninsured and will continue to improve access to quality and preventative health care across the country. These important achievements are really just the beginning and I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to fight to protect the ACA and work to eliminate health disparities."
Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-05): "We know that Asian and Pacific Islander Americans are disproportionately uninsured. However, the Affordable Care Act is taking great strides in providing care to all Americans, especially underserved communities. In the two years since the law's enactment, the Affordable Care Act has helped move our nation closer to equity in health care, and continues to work to bridge the disparities in access to care that have existed for far too long."
Background: The Affordable Care Act prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions and allows young adults to remain under their parent's health plans until age 26. In addition, the ACA provides millions of seniors with new preventive benefits and prescription drug discounts, expands the Medicaid program, provides tax credits to small business owners who provide health insurance for their employees, and makes a number of long term investments in our nation's health system.
The new law has already helped over 2.7 million Asian Americans receive access to free preventive services and has provided over 2.5 million young adults - including 97,000 Asian Americans - with coverage to quality, affordable care. The law also provides new standards for collecting and reporting health data on the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community that will help to track relevant-health data and identify health disparities in our community. Considering this community represents more than 49 ethnic groups speaking 100 different languages, this change in data collection will allow tailored solutions for countless individuals instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.