NAKASEC in the News: “Unlikely Reform Boost” (Los Angeles Business Journal, 11/16/2009)

Unlikely Reform Boost
by Deborah Crowe
Los Angeles Business Journal

Posted 11/16/2009

The fate of the public option may still be up in the air in the national health care reform debate that continues in Congress, but there is no uncertainly about where the issue stands among L.A.’s Korean-American business community.

A survey released last week by the [National] Korean American Service & Education Consortium indicates that 92 percent of Korean-American small business owners support a public health insurance option in health care reform.

Their support is bolstered not only by the hardships that immigrant small business owners often have in affording health coverage for themselves, their families and employees, but also their largely positive experience in using the single-payer health system of South Korea.

“There are many wonderful things about America, but I am very dissatisfied with how health care is handled here,” said Jon Ran Kim, whose husband is establishing an import-export business in Koreatown. The Kims’ previous business, an acupuncture clinic, attracted many fellow immigrant entrepreneurs who could not afford insurance.

Around 52 percent of respondents said that they were uninsured, while 30 percent said that none of their dependents has health care coverage. Respondents with at least some insurance paid an average of $1,820 per year for medical expenses. The foremost reason for respondents not obtaining coverage was cost.

The survey, funded by the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, was modeled after a national survey conducted earlier this year by the advocacy group Main Street Alliance.