Senator Reid watches as President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act into law on March 22, 2010. Image Source: reid.senate.gov
Senator Reid watches as President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act into law on March 22, 2010. Image Source: reid.senate.gov

Many of us do not even know that some three years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted into law.

The passage of ACA was a laudable development with respect to health care, especially to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).

You may agree with or dispute the claim that it is an important legislation, but we maintain it is significant because after almost 40 years, our government took a big step towards improving the healthcare system.

It is also significant because ACA will make approximately two million uninsured AAPIs eligible for health coverage in 2016.

Likewise, ACA is expected to bring down medical cost across the system and help more families have peace of mind for having an affordable healthcare coverage.

The best provision of it, according to the proponents of ACA, is that next year, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions or charging more fees from women.

Furthermore, we can be assured of preventive services such as flu shots, mammogram, Hepatitis B screenings for pregnant women and recommended cancer screenings. These services are covered without cost-sharing stipulations such as co-pay or deductible.

Cancer screenings and prevention will definitely help the 3.8 million AAPIs who have private insurance, according to the estimate by the initiative on AAPI.

ACA proponents also claimed that the law will be able to help small businesses in their effort to offer healthcare coverage to their employees by way of tax credits. This will certainly be an extra boost to Asian business owners. It is a known fact that many AAPIs get medical care from community health centers. These community centers

have already received increased funding to provide culturally competent medical care because of ACA.

ACA has likewise expanded research and data collection on health for different AAPI groups. This will provide accurate and accessible information on patients, healthcare providers and policy makers, thus benefiting our community.

Based on a timeline, ACA will continue to be implemented, and enrollment will begin on October 1, 2013.

Affordable health care will be in its fourth year of implementation this year.

You can learn how ACA can affect you or know its benefits by attending a public forum on this subject. The forum will be held in the multipurpose room of the Northside Elementary School at 912 Barton Drive, Ann Arbor

in the evening of April 26, 2013. Registration will start at 7:30 p.m. There will be light supper. An informational talk and a question-and-answer session will follow.

This event will be sponsored by the Healthy Asian

Americans project (HAAP) and the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC).

Funding for this event will be provided by the Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Health, Wellness and Disease Control, Health Disparities Reduction/Minority Health Section.

For any question about this event, interested persons may send an email at chiuman60@yahoo.com or call 734-487-3037.

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Willie is a teacher at the Detroit Public School. A very popular and influential leader in the Filipino-American community in Michigan, Dechavez is the incumbent Michigan state chairperson of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) and public relations officer of both the Filipino-American Community Council (FILAMCCO) and the Philippine American Community Center (PACCM). A native of Sorsogon, Philippines, he is also vice president of the Bicol Association of Michigan. He is recipient of numerous awards.

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