PRESS RELEASE: Bottom Lines Over Lifelines?: Republicans plan vote to destroy healthcare for millions; Community members rally and demand guaranteed healthcare for all


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Frances Fu
Edward Huang

While Senate Republicans Vote to Open Debate on Repealing Obamacare, Asian Immigrant Communities Say “Lifelines, Not Bottom Lines”

San Francisco, CA — On July 25th, while Republicans continued efforts to upend healthcare access for millions of people, the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) 華人進步會 held a rally at the San Francisco General Hospital to protest the ongoing federal threats to cut health care coverage, restructure Medicaid, and raise costs for millions of people and uplift the health care stories of Asian immigrant communities.

With rising rents and cost of living, low-income and working class San Franciscans are feeling more insecure everyday.  The proposed cuts to the healthcare budget will have significant impacts to the many Chinatown residents. 80% of Chinatown residents are of Asian descent, 40% of residents are above the age of 60, 31% of residents live in poverty, and most of the seniors are monolingual. With the high poverty rates, families are faced with the difficult choice of going to the doctor or paying rent.

Five years ago, Hannah Lee’s grandmother and father were diagnosed with Hepatitis B, both ended up needing liver transplants, which they were able to have covered because of Medicaid and employer-provided healthcare. “I’m worried that politicians are putting profits and political agendas ahead of people’s lives. They are playing people’s health and lives, said Lee, a 2nd generation San Franciscan currently volunteering with the Chinese Progressive Association.

Johanes Wijaya 黃平, a member at the Chinese Progressive Association says, “I support healthcare that is accessible for more people, because people delay going to the doctor when they don’t have healthcare insurance, and society at large ends up having to spend more money on healthcare. If our neighbor Canada, as well as Indonesia where I came from, can do it, why not the U.S.?”

Healthcare access is still under threat as the administration continues to work to repeal the Affordable Care Act. From a Health Access California report: “The Senate Republican health care proposal, “Better Care Reconciliation Act” (BCRA), will result in at least four million Californians losing coverage, undermine key protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and force consumers to pay more for their health care.”

“The repeal of the Affordable Care Act will hurt the poor, the sick and the elderly. Medicaid will suffer massive funding reduction Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, covers 1 in 3 Californians. When it comes to healthcare, it should not be about bottom lines or political lines, because it is our lives and the lives of our loved ones on the line,” says Christina Nip, NICOS Chinese Health Coalition.

In light of these threats, California has the opportunity to begin to create a system where guaranteed healthcare is available to everyone. The Healthy California Act, Senate Bill 562, paved the way for a conversation to be started about guaranteed healthcare for all.

Attendees shared their vision for a healthcare system that values human lives over profits on a paper cut out of a seed and planted the seed on a big mural of a garden.

About CPA: Founded in 1972, the Chinese Progressive Association is a nonprofit that educates, organizes and empowers the low income and working class immigrant Chinese community in San Francisco to build collective power with other oppressed communities to demand better living and working conditions and justice for all people.

Photo attached. Speakers available for interviews in English and Cantonese.