A Victory for Communities of Color and for the Nation

Written by

Kathy Lim Ko
Kathy Lim Ko Kathy Lim Ko is president and chief executive officer of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, a national health justice organization which influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Kathy has worked in senior management positions in community-based and philanthropic organizations throughout her 30 year career. Kathy has also worked in a number of health care settings and community clinics across the country, including San Francisco General Hospital, University of California San Francisco Institute for Health Policy Studies, Planned Parenthood SF, South Cove Community Health Center in Boston, and with the longest tenure as the Associate Director of Asian Health Services. Kathy is a graduate of the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as of Stanford University, with additional coursework at the London School of Economics and Fudan University in Shanghai.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that is bound to go down in the history books as monumental. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been the subject of endless debate, commentary, political jockeying and legal analysis, yesterday we learned a simple lesson: real people can win.

A lot was at stake. The ACA is the most substantial investment in our nation’s health system in decades. Had the Supreme Court struck it down, our country would have been sent backward on an unsustainable path.

In upholding President Obama’s crowning achievement, the Supreme Court validated what many health advocates believe to be a landmark civil rights law, one that brings the work of equity and justice to the health arena. The law lays a foundation – lacking for far too long – for the nation to make the push toward health equity and to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to good health and quality care.

The law makes key investments and reforms in the nation’s public health infrastructure that will not only improve the nation’s health but will particularly help racial and ethnic minorities and other diverse communities who have long languished in a health system that fails to meet their needs.

The law has already made an important dent by extending coverage to young people, providing coverage for more than 6 million young adults – 1.3 million of whom are racial and ethnic minorities, including 97,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders – who now have access to health insurance they otherwise would not be able to afford.

Read the full article at the Huffington Post.