U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act!

Published: Thursday, June 28th, 2012


Today, after much anticipation, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The only exception was on a provision requiring states to comply with Medicaid expansion or risk losing existing funding. The Court held that states must be able to opt out without a penalty.

Signed into law in 2010, the ACA has been one of President Obama’s chief domestic successes and will ensure meaningful access to quality, affordable, and culturally and linguistically competent health care for many Asian American and Pacific Islander (API) women. NAPAWF, a long-time supporter of the ACA, celebrates today’s Supreme Court ruling.

“This is truly a victory for API women. For us, the ACA brings health equity within closer reach,” said Miriam Yeung, Executive Director of NAPAWF. The ACA bans insurance companies from discriminating against women by charging them higher premiums for “pre-existing conditions,” including pregnancy, C-sections, breast and cervical cancer, or being a survivor of domestic or sexual violence. For API women, who suffer from high rates of cervical cancer and 46-61 percent of whom have faced domestic violence, this provision is a major advancement.

In addition, the ACA’s nondiscrimination provision will protect people of color and LGBT patients from discrimination in health care. The law will also ensure better data collection to accurately track the health needs of the diverse API community, expand the ability of community health centers to reach underserved APIs, and ensure access to culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services. Thanks to today’s decision, it is estimated that 2 million APIs will gain health insurance and one in ten Asian Americans and one in eight Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders will gain Medicaid coverage.

Unfortunately, the law falls short of providing for every API woman. The Medicaid expansion provision does not cover permanent residents with less than five years’ residency or undocumented immigrants. “Though NAPAWF is celebrating today, we must work to ensure there is true fairness in our health care system, and that every API woman is reached,” said Yeung.

ACA TWEET CHAT! Please join us and a powerful coalition of allied organizations for our ACA Decision Tweet Chat tomorrow on Friday from 2p.m.-3:30p.m. EST to learn more about what this decision means for women in our community. Follow us @NAPAWF and use #HealthJustice to join the discussion!

To learn more about API women and health reform, read NAPAWF’s issue brief and this Harvard Asian American Policy Review article from NAPAWF sisters Christine Harley and Keely Monroe.

Click here to see Jenny Ton, NAPAWF sister, telling her personal story of how health care impacts her family.

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