Repeal of Health Care Reform Would Be Devastating for Latino Community

With Congress back in session, the House is set to vote today on repealing the Affordable Care Act and Latino Democrats and health professionals were busy getting the word out that a repeal of the law would be disastrous for our community.

Rep. Xavier Becerra of California and Elena Rios, President and CEO of National Hispanic Medical Association, said that Latinos (16 million of whom don’t have health insurance) particularly benefited from the ACA, which offers free or low-cost checkups and mammograms, prevents insurance companies from denying care to those under 65 with a pre-existing condition, and let kids remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. The law, Rios says, is key in fighting the health concerns plaguing Latinos: obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

“Latinos are just trying to make sure we have good food and a roof over our heads and to have one more stress in life is horrible,” Rios said. “Repealing this bill would be a disaster. People would die younger because of not having access to affordable care.”

For Republicans, the vote, a key promise on the midterm campaign trail, is largely symbolic, as it has very little chance of being brought for a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Nevertheless, they say that the law would kill 400,000 jobs and seriously deepen the federal budget deficit.

Becerra called the Republicans’ repeal attempt a political move and a waste of time. “It’s become very obvious that the house is not really serious about getting down to business,” Becerra said. “No one said it was the perfect bill and President Obama has already said that he is willing to work with Republicans to tweak it. This is a country that is used to making progress, not tearing things down.  If you’re here to make campaign speeches, do that on your own time.”