Peter Yang is being honored as an Affordable Care Act Champion of Change.
I believe that we are all products not only of our choices but also of our circumstances. There is a surprisingly prevalent misconception that people in adverse situations somehow deserve the hardships they face. Working in my community in Georgia, I’ve come to regard that idea as severely misguided; I have met so many hardworking individuals who, despite their best efforts, are trapped in a socioeconomic pit that they cannot dig themselves out of.
I first became involved in my community as an undergraduate at Emory University, when I saw the incredible impact of volunteerism in the surrounding community. During this time, I met many of the leaders and visionaries of the Asian American community in Georgia. Inspired by these individuals, upon graduation, I moved on to work at the Center for Pan Asian Community Services, where I was tasked with outreach for the Affordable Care Act during the first period of Open Enrollment. Prior to this work, my sole experience with the Affordable Care Act had been learning about its intricacies in a classroom setting. As I learned more about the program and its effect on the communities we serve, I began to see the law as a huge step in the right direction to improve the lives of the individuals that struggled with adverse circumstances.
Adequate access to health care is an essential part of human society. Some would even argue that it is a human right. Yet, the United States is severely behind the majority of other developed countries in providing that access. Georgia is home to one of the fastest growing populations of immigrants and refugees, and these individuals often lack adequate health insurance coverage. The more I worked with these individuals, the more I saw the human beings whose lives were impacted by the ACA.
The law has been successful thus far, but we still have more work to do. I am deeply honored to be selected as a Champion of Change but also just as honored that I have had the opportunity to serve these communities by promoting the Affordable Care Act.
Peter Yang is the Affordable Care Act Program Coordinator at the Center for Pan Asian Community Services.