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Building a Healthier America for All: NAKASEC response to today’s bill signing of CHIP

By February 4, 2009No Comments

Today, President Obama signed in law the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, which provides health insurance to an estimated 11 million low-income children. The new law reverses a decade-long policy of enforcing a five-year bar on legal immigrant children & pregnant women seeking coverage. Present at the event was Hemi Kim, NAKASEC’s D.C. Director, along with our colleagues, community leaders and impacted children. To celebrate the passage of SCHIP, NAKASEC also signed on for the placement of ad in Politico, a Capitol Hill paper, that will appear today. Scroll down to see the today’s statement & ad in Politico.

NAKASEC, the Korean Resource Center, NWFCO and CCC, along with other members of the Health Rights Organizing Project, just wrapped up two national art exhibits in Washington, D.C. Held during Inauguration Week, the exhibit featured artwork by students in pre-K to grade 12. Under the theme of “America’s Future Starts with Healthy Children,” artists and their families traveled to D.C. for the unveilings and a series of legislative visits. The artists were also invited to participate and speak at a press conference organized by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Jay Rockefeller on Friday, January 23, 2009. (

If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Hemi Kim at 202.339.9318 /

For immediate release                                              
February 4, 2009      

Hemi Kim, NAKASEC, 202.253.4566
JuYeon Ryu, KRC, 323.937.3718/ 714.728.0698
Son Shik, KRCC, 773.588.9158

Building a Healthier America for All
NAKASEC Attended the Signing of SCHIP into Law by President Barack Obama

(Washington, D.C.) The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and its affiliates – the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC) in Chicago and the Korean Resource Center (KRC) in Los Angeles – are elated by the passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA). NAKASEC is also honored that Hemi Kim, D.C. Director, will be attending the Presidential bill signing ceremony on Wednesday, February 4 at 5:05 p.m. EST as an invited guest.

Re-authorization represents commitment to continue keeping America’s children healthy, particularly with its expansion to include an estimated 4 million legal immigrant children. Previously, lawfully-residing immigrant children and pregnant women during their first five years in the U.S. were ineligible. An expanded S-CHIP has potential to assist thousands of Korean American families during this difficult economic period. Nearly 1 in 4 under the age 18 is uninsured, which is one of the highest rates among any racial/ethnic group.

“Everyone needs health care, even if you can’t afford to buy it, because you need it to live,” said Muhammad Ibrahim, a 4th grader in Knightdale, North Carolina and one of the featured artists with the “America’s Future Starts with Healthy Children” exhibit.

Building up to this moment, NAKASEC and its affiliates were leads of the successful “America’s Future Starts with Healthy Children” campaign. This was a 6-month national effort that generated 8,000 petitions, meetings with Congressional leadership, the transition team, and the mounting of two art exhibits in the nation’s Capitol during the week of Inauguration. Artists & the families traveled from as far away as California, Colorado, North Carolina, and Texas to speak at the unveilings and at a press conference organized by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Jay Rockefeller. 

NAKASEC’s founding in 1994 coincided with a rise in anti-immigrant sentiments and despite several years of advocacy and organizing, Welfare Reform was signed in 1996. Since that time, for more than a decade, the restoration of immigrant benefits has remained a constant issue priority for many communities including Korean Americans. From the Fix ’96 campaign in 1999 onwards, NAKASEC and its affiliates have participated in local and national efforts to reverse the harmful measures of the 1996 laws. During the years, this national advocacy has been supplemented with the creation of local health access programs providing vital services for immigrant communities. Through this work, we have also sought to shore up a groundswell of support for SCHIP reauthorization & expansion from those families who have been served. While no doubt a long overdue victory, it is all the more gratifying because we know that it was won by all of us — from the senior who collected signatures at the bus stop to the preschool teacher who contacted her member of Congress and the mother of three young children who volunteered all her weekends for the art exhibit.