What's New in Health

March 23, 2011 marks the one year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. To commemorate the anniversary, SEARAC and local community partners launched the Ensuring Our Healthy Future Campaign, which engages local community members to participate in state and local implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The campaign also informs Southeast Asian Americans about their rights and benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

  • Check out the Ensuring Our Healthy Future web-page.
  • Access the Health Policy Resource Hub for information and resources on the Affordable Care Act.
  • Have a health care story to share? Share your story with us.
  • Tell your Member of Congress to protect funding for the Affordable Care Act.
  • Check out our community spotlight blog posts which highlight local partners working on health care access.

Health Policies

Southeast Asian Americans experience huge health disparities and numerous barriers in accessing health care. Even with the historic passage of health care reform laws, SEARAC continues to monitor advocacy efforts to ensure all communities have access to affordable quality health and mental health care. The need to ensure that health care reform is adequately implemented remains a priority for SEARAC. SEARAC's work on health centers on:

  1. Improving data collection and the disaggregation of health data in order to accurately address the needs and health disparities within Southeast Asian American communities;
  2. Improving access to culturally and linguistically appropriate health care to ensure that limited English proficient individuals have proper access to health and mental health care resources and services;
  3. Ensuring access to affordable preventative care for low income communities to reduce preventative chronic health conditions prevalent in Southeast Asian American communities; and
  4. Removing the five year bar for legal immigrants to access Medicaid.

Health Care Reform Implementation

After much debate and political maneuvering, Congress and President Obama passed wide-sweeping health care reform that will significantly change the country’s health delivery system and take strides towards providing health insurance for many low and middle income families. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains many provisions that uniquely impact Southeast Asian Americans and other immigrant populations. It provides an opportunity to collect disaggregated health data, improve and institutionalize the use of culturally competent care and provide care for millions of previously uninsured Americans. At the same time, the success of health care reform will depend largely on the ability of states to implement new policies that are reflective of the country’s diversity. In the past year, SEARAC has produced several fact sheets that analyze key components of the health care reform package. Moving forward, SEARAC will continue to provide community members and coalition partners with analysis regarding the implantation of health care reform on the state and local level. Additionally, SEARAC will participate in direct advocacy with other organizations to ensure that policies created during the implementation process adequately serve the Southeast Asian American community.

Mental Health Care - California Recommendations

Southeast Asian Americans have a high prevalence of mental health needs due in large part to traumatic events that many experienced during the Vietnam War.1 However, access to culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health care is often lacking in Southeast Asian American communities. In fact, nearly 1 out of every 2 Asian Americans has trouble accessing mental health services due to language barriers.2 SEARAC recommends that the California Department of Mental Health create and implement a language access plan that holds counties accountable for providing for limited English proficient consumers. As the State moves forward with implementing provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the State should consider the expansion of mental health services to include community based mental health care centers to ensure cultural competency and language accessibility.

1American Psychiatric Association. Asian American/Pacific Islanders.

2United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, SAMHSA. Surgeon’s General Report, Factsheets: Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders.