The Defeat of the American Health Care Act

March 28, 2017

Mai-Khanh Tran, MD, a pediatrician, an educator, a mother, a business-owner, a member of PIVOT, Progressive Vietnamese American Organization, a member of VADC, Vietnamese American Democratic Club of Orange County, CA

Obamacare is still the law of the land.  The defeat of the GOP proposal, as the AHCA is pulled off the table in Congress, is a victory for the American people.  54% of Americans surveyed prefer to keep the Affordable Care Act.  Saved are the potential 14 millions in the next year who would become uninsured once again, 24 millions in the next decade.  Saved are the 2 million Asians and the 200,000 Vietnamese who would lose their health care coverage nationwide.  Saved are the 400,000 Southern Californians, of whom 80,000 are Vietnamese, who would see their health insurance disappear.  Saved are the 45,000 people who would die nationally due to lack of insurance. These are the numbers we must remember. 

Saved are the children who would lose their vaccinations.  Saved are the women who would lose their pre-natal and preventative care.  Saved are the disabled and the mentally ill who would lose care for their special needs.  Saved are the elders who would see their health care costs tripled, if not quadrupled.  Saved are the working poor who would no longer afford to buy health insurance for their families.  Saved are the majority of people who would see their premiums rise by at least 15%.  These are the faces we must remember.

Once the numbers are known and the faces visualized, the American people spoke.  They said this is unconscionable and unacceptable.  We are better than this.  We cannot give the rich a big tax cut on the back of the children, the elders, and the poor in this country.  And when the American people spoke—by calling their Congressmen, knocking on their doors, speaking up at town-halls, writing their pieces—the elected officials apparently listened.  The democratic tradition is saved and revived just in the nick of time.

The defeat of the GOP proposal is a victory but the battle continues.  No doubt, there will be attempts to sneak in legislations that would chip away at the right for affordable health care in this country.  Instead of one law, like the AHCA, that is easy to attack, there will be attempts to hide defunding and cuts in forms of amendments on bills that, on the surface, appear to be unrelated and innocuous.  This guerilla war-fare tactic is much harder to defend.  It requires that we be informed and stay engaged.  It requires that we be vigilant and speak up.  It requires that we live like “active citizens” rather than “passive citizens,” in the words of Stephanie Murphy, the first Vietnamese Congresswoman in the US House of Representative.

It also requires that we vote.  Kathy Tran, a mother of four, the youngest being only 7 weeks, is stepping up to the plate to run for the Virginia House of Delegates, 42nd district, a district that has about 5% Vietnamese population and covers Fairfax County.  She is running to make sure that the voices of working people are heard, that jobs, health care, education, and civil rights are of utmost concerns to working families.  We need to speak up and support Kathy for her courage and commitment by voting in the primary on June 13 and general election on November 7, 2017.  Let’s make the democratic process healthy again.