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Weakening Health Care Reform is Not the Solution

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The Asian & Paci?c Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) today urged the U.S. House of Representatives to protect the maintenance of effort requirement on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) under health care reform.

This came in response to a House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing at which selected Governors sought to eliminate this important protection and propose converting the Medicaid and CHIP programs into block grants.

The numbers of individuals that currently rely on Medicaid and CHIP for health care are staggering at more than 50 million.

“More than one in 10 Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders rely on the Medicaid program. We shouldn’t take health care away from our most vulnerable children and families as they struggle through this economic downturn,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF president and CEO.

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Under reform, states need to maintain current eligibility levels for adults until 2014 and for children until 2019. Repealing the provisions allows states to rescind coverage to those currently accessing it through programs.

“Our road map to economic recovery cannot rely on tax cuts for the wealthy and the dismantling of essential services for those who need it the most," said Ko.

There have been discussions on other proposals like converting Medicaid into a block grant or capping funding but they are not a solution to the rising cost in coverage. This is seen by the continued struggle in U.S. Territories like Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.