The Asian Pacific American Legal Center announced the launch of a Health Access Project Tuesday morning to help the Asian American community receive better health care by informing them of the benefits of Affordable Care Act.
“Because it [the Affordable Care Act] has many different features, many of which are very positive, [it] may not be utilized by the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community, [and] that would be a major tragedy,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of the Center.
There are over 17.3 million Asian Americans living in the United States, which makes up 6 percent of the country’s population, according to the 2010 Census. California has about 5.6 million Asian Americans, the highest of any state.
One in six Asian American adults in the country doesn’t have health insurance , and one in 10 children are uninsured, according to Kwoh. That means 2.3 million Asian Americans and 162,000 Pacific Islanders are uninsured.
President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in March 2010, bringing health care reforms to extend access to affordable health coverage to millions of Americans.
The Affordable Care Act requires each state to create a health insurance exchange where individuals and small businesses can buy health insurance. California is the first state to pass legislation and create the California Health Benefit Exchange, which is expected to launch in January 2014.
Becky Cheng, representative of Congresswoman Chu, identified the benefits of the health care reform to Asian American community.
“Hepatitis B is particularly hard-hitting in the Asian American community,” she said. “It accounted for two thirds of chronic Hepatitis B cases.”
Due to little education and access to screening, the infected individuals are not aware of their condition until they develop symptoms of liver cancer or liver disease, according to Cheng. The affordable health care will help people pre-discover this type of chronic disease through access to free preventive services.
This plan will have a cap on what insurance companies can require beneficiaries to pay in out-of-pocket expenses.
“If growth of insurance premium were to slow to one percentage point below the projected national growth rate, the cost of family coverage would drop an average of $995 annually by 2015,” said Cheng.
She also said the health care act has a stronger focus on minority health by prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to all individuals.
“The Act will end discrimination that charges beneficiaries more if they’re sick and limit the amount an insurance company can increase an individual’s premium simply due to their age, gender, race or ethnicity,” she said.
Doreena Wong, director of the Health Access Project, said issues of the immigration status and limited English-speaking skills mainly contribute to the health disparity of the Asian American community.
“We’re lucky in California because we have a state-funded program that allows legal immigrants here to get access to Medi-Cal, our state Medicaid program. But in many states there is a five-year bar for any legal immigrants who come in after August 22, 1996,” she said.
She also said many from mixed-immigration-status families are often confused about what medical program their family members are eligible for.
In the Asian American community, 70 percent speak a language other than English, 32 percent of whom have limited English proficiency, according to Wong.
“What happens to these limited English speaking patients when they go to the doctor? It’s no surprise they have communication problems with their doctor,” she said.
The Center will work with more than 20 non-profit organizations from California to inform community members and small businesses about the health care law through workshops and trainings. The first workshop is scheduled to begin in May.
This project will prepare and distribute educational materials in at least seven languages and reach to public officials and policy-makers about the specific needs of Asian American community.
A Swiss magazine has sparked a storm of criticism with a cover story warning against criminal gangs that features a photograph of a Roma child holding a gun. Now a German organization representing Roma and Sinti has filed a criminal complaint against the publication.
It’s a striking image, but is it racist? The conservative Swiss magazine Weltwoche has unleashed a storm of criticism after publishing a photograph on the front page of its current issue of a Roma child pointing a pistol at the camera above the headline: “The Roma Are Coming: Robberies in Switzerland.” The article deals with what is allegedly a growing problem of crime committed by Roma gangs in the country. “They come, steal and leave,” reads the article, which was published last Thursday.
The cover has sparked widespread outrage, which has now reached Germany too. The Central Council of German Sinti and Roma announced on Tuesday that they had filed a criminal complaint for racial incitement and libel against the magazine with the public prosecutor in Heidelberg. The council also announced it was taking steps to stop the issue being sold in Germany.The weekly’s cover encourages the racist stereotyping of a minority, said the council’s leader Romani Rose in a statement, adding that it places Sinti and Roma under general suspicion. He said it was similar to propaganda from the Nazi era, as it created the impression that criminality was caused by an individual’s ethnic origin. The Nazis persecuted and murdered around 500,000 Sinti and Roma during the Holocaust.
The Central Council has also complained to Switzerland’s Federal Commission against Racism (EKR). EKR President Martine Brunschwig Graf announced earlier this week that the commission would investigate the Weltwoche article.
In a video message published on its website on Monday, Weltwoche defended itself against the criticism. Deputy editor in chief Philipp Gut, who is one of the co-authors of the article, said that although the article had triggered a storm of indignation, it had also met with approval. He said that growing “crime tourism” in Switzerland, largely perpetrated by Roma gangs from Eastern Europe, was a reality, calling it a “current and serious problem.” The photograph of the child symbolized “the fact that Roma gangs misuse their children for criminal purposes,” Gut also told the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung.
Several criminal complaints have already been filed against Weltwoche in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. One of the people who has filed a complaint, Austrian journalist Klaus Kamolz, told the Swiss news agency SDA that he wanted to send a “symbolic signal” against the “blanket condemnation of Roma as criminals.” Peter Studer, a former president of the Swiss Press Council, said it was an “outrageous picture” with “racist overtones.”The row deepened when it was revealed over the weekend that the photograph of the child was not taken in Switzerland, but in Kosovo, where the Italian photographer Livio Mancini photographed children playing on a garbage dump as part of a 2008 series. Mancini told the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger that the magazine had obtained the image via an agency and he had no influence over how it was used.
The Roma and Sinti are among Europe’s most disadvantaged minorities. There have been a number of high-profile attacks against Roma and Sinti communities in recent years, particularly in Eastern Europe. Right-wing extremists often target the groups, branding them as criminals.
Jeremiah Camara illustrates the relationship between religion and superstition. How many people do you know carry a bible in their car (but still have accidents). Religion, crosses, etc., are like lucky rabbit feet and horseshoes. Magic actually preceded religion but when man found that he could not manipulate the natural environment he reasoned that something must be behind the scenes producing the causes and effects within our lives. This episode features B.F. Skinner who illustrates how pigeons react to stimuli in the same way religious people do.