Washington, D.C. (Feb. 17, 2012) — Today the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, on behalf of 39 community-based organizations dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, filed a historic amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the Affordable Care Act.
The brief – APIAHF’s first appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court – is the only brief that specifically highlights the needs of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.
“For far too long, Asian, American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities have been left out of the national policymaking process,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF president and CEO. “This is why APIAHF has worked for over 25 years to serve as a carrier of community voices, and to ensure that AAs and NHPIs have a seat at the table. Today we bring these voices to the Supreme Court.”
“The ACA is a historic opportunity to improve the health status of our communities,” said Mee Moua, APIAHF vice president for strategic impact initiatives. “Today’s filing personalizes the health and health care needs of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders from around the nation and demonstrates the importance of this law for our communities.”
APIAHF’s brief argues that Congress enacted the ACA to improve the overall health system and increase access to quality, affordable care for millions of Americans, including racial and ethnic minorities. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs) experience a number of health and health care related disparities. High rates of uninsurance and difficulties accessing preventive and routine care contribute to high rates of serious health conditions, including certain types of cancers. The brief places AA and NHPI health and health care needs in this context and highlights how the ACA will address these needs.
The brief is supported by numerous real-world stories provided by community-based organizations and advocates from around the nation. These stories demonstrate the profound effect the ACA has already had, and will have, on AAs and NHPIs – from prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage and charging higher premiums for individuals with chronic diseases, to working to ensure all persons are able to access health care that meets their linguistic and cultural needs.
“The brief illustrates the common need for all communities to have access to high quality and affordable health care,” said Priscilla Huang, APIAHF policy director. “The ACA moves our nation toward a healthier future by expanding access to affordable health insurance for an estimated 32 million people and laying a foundation for addressing community health in a more comprehensive manner.”
The APIAHF amicus brief is available at www.apiahf.org. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the ACA on March 26th – 28th, just a few days after the second anniversary of the law.
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.