As we commemorate the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act this Friday, it’s worth taking a look at the many ways this landmark health reform law is making a difference in the lives of Americans, especially Latinos who suffer disproportionately from a lack of access to coverage. Thirty two percent of Latinos were uninsured in 2009 – higher than any other racial or ethnic group – and half of Latinos did not have a regular doctor, compared to only one-fifth of white Americans. And twenty percent of low-income Hispanic youth have gone a year without a health care visit. When you look at these numbers, it’s clear that the Affordable Care Act has had and will continue to have a profound effect on the health of the Latino community.
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis wrote an op-ed this past week for ImpreMedia on the Affordable Care Act and Latinos in which she highlighted that “Too often because of cost, Latinos don’t get the preventive care they need to stay healthy. This is particularly true during tough economic times, when many are forced to forego health services for other needs, like rent or groceries. A recent study found that 6.1 million Latinos gained prevention coverage in their private insurance plans in 2011.” You can read the rest of her op-ed HERE.
And throughout the week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has highlighted how the new law has:
- Helped more than 5.1 million people with Medicare save over $3.2 billion| en español
- Provided more than 45 million women access to preventive health care services| en español
- Helped young adults get and keep affordable health coverage
- Made it possible for nine states to deem health insurance rate hikes “unreasonable”
- Under the new law, insurance companies are already banned from denying coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition. In 2014, they are banned from discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition.
- Already, 6.1 million Latinos now have coverage for preventive services without additional cost sharing. Under the new health care law, all Americans joining a new health care plan must be able to receive recommended preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays or deductibles.
- Already, approximately 11.8 million Latinos are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage thanks to the new health care law.
- Over 2.5 million young adults have gained coverage because of the new health care law, including 736,000 Latinos.
- The new Exchanges, tax credits and Medicaid expansion will result in as many as 9 million Latinos becoming eligible to get coverage they lack today. And it expands the Medicaid program and provides $900 million dollars for Puerto Rico to expand coverage on the island.
- More than 500,000 Latinos with Medicare have already received one or more free preventive services, including the new Annual Wellness Visit. The new law also provides relief for people in the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap or donut hole – the ones with the highest prescription drug costs.
- Approximately 35% of patients served by community health centers in 2009 were Latino, and the Affordable Care Act increases the funding available to the more than 1,100 community health centers in all fifty states to enable them to double the number of patients they served from 19 million to nearly 40 million by 2015.