For immediate release
April 6, 2009
EunSook Lee, 323.937.3703, ext. 205
NAKASEC Attends White House Regional Forum on Health Reform
(Los Angeles, CA) The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium’s Executive Director, EunSook Lee, participated in a White House Regional Forum on Health Care Reform that was held at The California Endowment on April 6, 2009. Co-hosted by California State Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, the event was the final of five regional forums that was held across the country. Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council and Dr. Memhet Oz co-facilitated the discussion. This regional forum included participation from 4 cities — Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, and Covis — via video satellite.
The regional forum began with a video message by President Barack Obama sharing that there are few issues as complex and consequential as health care. As a top priority for his Administration, he stated that today’s economic crisis heightens the urgent need to fix the health care problem, which if not addressed would impair America’s long-term prosperity.
According to Ms. Barnes, every 30 seconds a family files for bankruptcy because of health care costs. She added that if there was a strong commitment to get health reform done this year, there is not more than about 100 days left to act. To learn more about the issue, the general public was encouraged to visit www.healthreform.gov.
Governor Schwarzenegger highlighted that health reform needs to be mandatory, can happen through bringing together of multiple stakeholders and that prevention is a priority. Not only would a healthier America make the nation more productive and competitive, but America had the best health care but the system was broken.
Governor Gregoire began her comments by applauding the national leadership of President Obama to fix the health care system because states cannot do it alone. In Washington State, they have a goal of covering all children in the next two years, but that coverage for all requires national attention.
As a participant, EunSook Lee reflected: “What was important about the regional forum put a spotlight on three key issue areas: affordable coverage, quality of care, and prevention through diet and exercise. Within this framework, NAKASEC, as an organization that represents Korean Americans, emphasizes the need to consider coverage that is inclusive — from small business owners to immigrant families; quality of care that addresses race-based disparities such as cultural competency and language access; and prevention that ensures the promotion of health knowledge to all communities and the equitable distribution of open space and parks.”
Committed to securing quality health care that is accessible to all, NAKASEC and its affiliates are aggressively engaging Korean American communities to raise awareness, collect stories, and encourage community members to share their opinions about what we can do to fix the broken health care system.
Background: In early March, the “Americans Speak on Health Reform: Report on Health Care Community Discussions,” was presented to President Barack Obama at a forum at the White House. This report represented thousands of participants who had earlier hosted health care community discussions and different sectors, ranging from patients to providers and businesses to labor. At the forum, President Obama announced that the White House would hold regional meetings in Michigan, Vermont, Iowa, North Carolina, and California to continue identifying affordable and accessible health care solutions that benefit all Americans.