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STATEMENT: Protect Our Care Celebrates Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By May 1, 2024No Comments

Washington, D.C. — May marks Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) Heritage Month, and Protect Our Care is highlighting how the Inflation Reduction Act has expanded coverage, lowered costs, and improved care for AA and NHPI communities across the nation. For AAs and NHPIs in particular, these lower costs are translating to better access to care for people who have historically been marginalized and faced difficulty receiving the care they need. Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“This month, we are celebrating the progress made by lawmakers to make health care more affordable, accessible, and equitable for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. While President Biden and Democrats in Congress are working to build on this progress and lower costs, Republicans are fighting to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, hike drug costs, and rip coverage away from millions of families. The GOP agenda disproportionately threatens the health and economic security of communities of color.” 


AA and NHPIs have historically faced greater barriers to achieving and maintaining optimal health. The 25.2 million Asian Americans living in the U.S. have long been more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions like kidney failure, heart disease, and hypertension, and Asian American seniors are more likely to report difficulty affording prescription medications. Likewise, the 1.5 million Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders living in the U.S. are significantly more likely to suffer from diabetes and certain forms of cancer. Many AA and NHPIs also contend with longstanding health and economic inequities that make it even harder to get by for those relying on expensive medications to stay healthy.

The Inflation Reduction Act is lowering health care and prescription drug costs for AA and NHPIs, and will address disparities in access and outcomes. The Biden-Harris administration, consistent with their commitment to advancing racial equity for underserved communities, is implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a number of programs that lower health care premiums and prescription drug costs. A closer look at how the Inflation Reduction Act is helping AA and NHPIs across the nation: 

  • Capping monthly insulin costs for people on Medicare at $35. Approximately 31,000 Asian American Medicare enrollees save approximately $500 annually due to the $35 insulin cap. 
  • Making recommended vaccines free to people on Medicare. More than 1.8 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders enrolled in Medicare Part D can now receive free vaccines. The low-income subsidy, which saves beneficiaries an estimated average of $5,300 a year, disproportionately serves AA and NHPI beneficiaries. 
  • Adding a $2,000 annual out-of-pocket prescription drug cost cap to Medicare in 2025. The $2,000 out-of-pocket cap could save Asian American enrollees an average of 31 percent in out-of-pocket costs. 
  • Lowering drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies. More than half of the first ten drugs selected for Medicare price negotiations treat conditions that disproportionately impact AA and NHPIs. 
  • Lowering out-of-pocket premiums for people who buy their own insurance. Lower out-of-pocket insurance premiums have led to a 6 percent increase in enrollment for this population when Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders face higher rates of uninsurance than white Americans.

Read Protect Our Care’s full report: Lowering Costs for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders: How the Inflation Reduction Act Makes Health Care and Prescription Drugs More Affordable