FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DEC. 3, 2015
Contact: Mary Tablante;
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Urges Congress to Reject McConnell Amendment’s Threat to Health Care Access
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) is outraged that the Senate Republican leadership is playing politics with our nation’s health care and urges Congress to reject the McConnell amendment.
NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang said, “This legislation would harm Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders--who face health disparities and unique challenges to access health care, including language access and cultural barriers--but its impact would be far broader. For example, many women--often low-income women of color--who rely on the services of Planned Parenthood for their health care needs would no longer have somewhere to turn for screenings and reproductive health care services. And low-income Americans who have benefited from the expansion of Medicaid in their states would have that health care callously ripped away. This is politics, plain and simple, and Americans and our health care needs deserve better.“
The McConnell amendment would repeal provisions that help ensure affordable access to health care for low-income and at-risk populations and thereby put these Americans at even greater risk, including the estimated 1.9 million uninsured Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) who are eligible under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Affordable Care Act has made significant strides in addressing AANHPI health care needs, and any attempts to dismantle it only hurts an already vulnerable population.
AANHPI women face extensive barriers to comprehensive reproductive health care and suffer disproportionate rates of preventable disease such as cervical cancer. Health providers, such as Planned Parenthood, provide essential health care resources that help address many of these disparities for AANHPI women, but the McConnell amendment seeks to defund Planned Parenthood.
"Budget attacks on Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers less than a week after a stunning act of domestic terrorism against a Planned Parenthood in Colorado is depraved,” said Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and NCAPA executive board member. “Asian American and Pacific Islander women depend on Planned Parenthood and family planning clinics for health care and critical reproductive health care services, services which deserve more funding, not less."
The McConnell amendment also would repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides important funding for programs that address health disparities, substance abuse, mental health, and chronic diseases.
“The dearth of culturally competent substance abuse prevention and treatment services, along with limited health insurance coverage, leaves Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders vulnerable to higher rates of substance abuse,” said Myron Dean Quon, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse.
The Prevention and Public Health Fund is a critical investment in the health of diverse populations. AANHPIs suffer from disproportionately high rates of cervical cancer, stomach cancer, hepatitis B, mental health issues, and many other serious health impairments. For example, approximately 10% of Asian Americans and 15% of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders have diabetes, and more than half of the people with chronic hepatitis B infections nationally are AANHPI. Eliminating this funding would impact resources and research to address these disparities.
Congress must act now to reject the McConnell amendment, which would be detrimental to health care access for our communities and the entire nation.
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.