Top 10 Reasons We Must Protect the New Health Care Reform Law

By Kawana Lloyd and Jackeline Stewart

movingforward.jpgIt’s not over yet….the new right-wing budget proposal is a prescription for disaster for communities of color–economically, socially, and without regard to the health of our families and communities.

  • It would end Medicaid and Medicare as we know it and cut essential services for seniors, people with disabilities and children while giving greater tax breaks to millionaires.
  • It would repeal the Affordable Care Act and take away the benefits and insurance protections working families are counting on.
  • It would make working families and seniors pay more, while ensuring that special interests like big oil pay less.

As we celebrate National Minority Health Month this April–and continue to reflect on the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act–Latinos and African Americans must be ready to raise our voices to protect the healthcare law. Last year’s healthcare reform victory was an important step towards fixing our nation’s broken healthcare system, but the work of SEIU members to deliver the benefits of the law continues every day.

Here are the top 10 reason we must protect the new healthcare law for communities of color…

  1. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by lack of access to good-quality healthcare. Healthcare reform provides pathways to affordable healthcare for millions of African Americans and Latinos that would otherwise have been blocked from sometimes life-saving medical care.
  2. The law is already working for millions of families, especially in communities that need it the most like senior citizens, children, and young adults. As of 2014, the law would deliver expanded benefits to 32 million more Americans. Before the healthcare law was passed, more than 19 million African Americans had no health insurance.
  3. Republicans are using healthcare repeal efforts to continue their attack on the middle class and force working families to shoulder more costs–all while giving special treatment to special interests like corporations and big businesses. Workers must unite to combat targeted efforts that weaken America’s hardest workers.
  4. One in four Latinos lives in poverty and the poverty rate for African Americans climbed to 25.8 percent in recent years. Thirty percent of Latino children and 40 percent of African American children are born to poor families. As millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet, congressional Republicans are wasting taxpayer money when they should be working to create jobs.
  5. The healthcare law will expand access to preventive care that could mean the difference between life and death for 47 million Latinos (PDF) and 41 African Americans that have been disproportionately affected by chronic diseases and are more likely than other Americans to die from preventable diseases.
  6. House Republicans plan to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid, doing away with much-needed access to coverage for seniors.
  7. Employer-based insurance provides coverage to 65 percent of Americans, but record-high levels of unemployment in both African American and Latino communities eliminate this important pathway to coverage. The black unemployment rate is greater than 20 percent in at least five major U.S. cities.
  8. There are popular insurance protections that will help reduce health and healthcare disparities in communities of color, such as: children under 18 can no longer be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions like diabetes and asthma. Young adults under the age of 26 can remain under their parents’ coverage. Lifetime caps on insurance coverage are a thing of the past. Free preventive care for seniors. The end of discrimination based upon age, race, ethnicity or gender.
  9. The Affordable Care Act will deliver care to more than 9 million Latinos, the fastest-growing segment of the workforce, who currently rely on an emergency room for their care. Our country’s future depends on a healthy, vibrant workforce to support our economy.
  10. Funding for Community Health Centers was expanded under the healthcare law, which will provide more than $10 billion in funding to community health centers – critical centers of care and jobs in underserved, urban and rural minority communities. Health centers serve an estimated one in three low-income people and one in four low-income minority residents.

Just In Case You Needed One More Reason…

The new law expands initiatives to increase racial and ethnic diversity in healthcare professions. It strengthens cultural competency training for all health care providers to improve communications between providers and patients, particularly in Latino communities where there are language barriers.

Learn more about how the Affordable Care Act is helping protect communities of color here.

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