The ACA: Where it stands and how it affects the API community

Pete Souza

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House. White House photo by Pete Souza

As the GOP continues to adjust its own plan, healthcare professionals and advocates are doing some serious groundwork around the ACA, which has had a tremendous impact on the Asian Pacific Islander community.

One of these advocates is Stephanie Liou, a medical student at the UW. She advocated for the ACA in its inception, and now she’s advocating for it to stay. And she’s not alone. Doctors across the nation are getting behind the ACA, to the point where there are numerous health providers underneath the Protect Our Patients coalition calling legislators, and continuing to educate the public about ACA myths and facts.

Locally, there’s a group of physicians in Washington who have never done advocacy, but are now taking action, writing opinion pieces and convincing colleagues.

“Doctors have been kind of historically a-political, and really it’s becoming this movement across the country for doctors and health professionals standing up and saying, ‘look, whatever your political ideologies are, this is going to be harmful for patients,’” Liou explained. “It’s appalling to me that the landscape I face when I graduate next year is that I can only take care of a certain population who can pay for it. So this do-no-harm idea has been really core to a lot of the advocacy we’re doing.”…

In addition, APIs are impacted the most by the ACA. In 2012, a DHS study predicted that nearly 2 million Asian Americans would be covered by the ACA given that the community is disproportionately impacted by chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and Hepatitis B, because they often skip out on screenings. The most frequent uninsured group was Korean Americans (at 25.5 percent uninsured). As such, an ACA repeal would reverse disparity gaps like these that were closing.

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