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California Health Insurers Condemn Racism Toward Asian Americans

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What You Need to Know

  • Kaiser Permanente is providing $5.4 million in grant funding.
  • Blue Shield has announced $50,000 in new donations.
  • Health Net is calling on a communal effort to speak out.

Health insurers in California have been stepping up to oppose racism and violence to Asian Americans.

Kaiser Permanente and Health Net have put out statements in response to last week’s wave of attacks on Atlanta-area spas that were owned by Americans of Asian descent.

Blue Shield of California is drawing attention to actions it took in February, in response to a surge of violent, racist attacks against Asian Americans in the Bay Area that began earlier in the year.

The shooting attacks in Atlanta and in Cherokee County, Georgia, led to the deaths of eight people, including six women of Asian descent.

Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanent, which is based in Oakland, California, said it will provide $5.4 million in grants to fight the surge in violence against Americans of Asian descent and to support the rights, health and wellness of the Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.

Kaiser Permanente made the grants in support of Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center.

“Racial prejudice toward these groups predates the COVID-19 pandemic but has recently increased as pejorative connections between COVID-19 and people of Asian heritage have fueled xenophobic, anti-Asian sentiment and hate crimes,” Kaiser Permanente said.

Stop AAPI Hate has collected reports of 3,292 hostile acts toward members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities that took place in 2020, and 45% of those incidents took place in California, according to Kaiser Permanente.

Health Net

Health Net — a Los Angeles-based arm of Centene Corp. — put out a statement condemning racism and discrimination toward members of the AAPI communities.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact all communities, we have seen a rise in racist attacks targeting Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders,” the company said. “Health Net strongly condemns these attacks. These horrible acts are painful reminders that we must continue to confront racism in all its forms, whenever it occurs.”

Brian Ternan, Health Net’s CEO, called on all Californians to join together to stop the hate.

“Call it out,” Ternan said. “Name it. Speak against it. Report it.”

Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California, which is based in San Francisco, announced $50,000 in grants in support of Asian American organizations in February.

The nonprofit carrier said that efforts to blame China for the COVID-19 pandemic had led to negative sentiments against members of the AAPI communities in the United Stated States.

“We are horrified by the violence being inflicted in our communities because of racism and xenophobia,” the company said. “The attacks against vulnerable Asian American seniors are particularly reprehensible.”

Blue Shield gave $20,000 to Advancing Justice, $20,000 to the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center and $10,000 to Asian Youth Promoting Advocacy and Leadership, a nonprofit group that supports low-income AAPI immigrant and refugee families in the Oakland area.

In response to the attacks in Georgia, Blue Shield said, “We unequivocally denounce the recent surge of violent, racist attacks against Asian Americans. We will continue to stand with our employees, members, communities and business partners against all forms of racism.”