“For Latinos who stand to benefit the most from the Affordable Care Act, [the vote] symbolizes that there are people in Congress who are not looking out for their well-being and rather putting politics in front of the well-being of Latinos,” said Jennifer Ng’andu, a health expert at the National Council of La Raza.
Latinos are the largest minority group in the country, numbering 53 million and making up 17 percent of the population as of last summer. However, nearly one in three uninsured people in the U.S. are Latino according to NCLR figures. Similarly, 69 percent of Latinos are confused about the ACA, but a majority of them support the law once it is explained to them, a Latino Decisions survey shows.
Dr. Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association, said in the three years of the rollout of Obamacare people have seen some of its benefits, namely that children are able to remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 and that insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage to individuals with a pre-existing condition.
The law is set to provide free preventive care such as nutrition counseling and screenings, important for Latinos who have higher rates of diabetes and obesity, Rios said.
According to the Center for American Progress, Obamacare has already made 9 million more Latinos eligible for health coverage. Below are seven additional ways that Obamacare will benefit our community.
- The Affordable Care Act addresses cost—the very problem that caused 32 percent of Latinos to be uninsured in 2009.
- Beginning in 2014 approximately 2.3 million Hispanics who are self-employed or small-business owners (and their 1.4 million employees) may be eligible to purchase affordable health care coverage through an insurance exchange, giving employers the opportunity to choose more affordable care.
- 736,000 Latinos under the age of 26 gained access to health insurance in the two years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
- Thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s strategic investments in community health centers, community health workers, better known as “promotoras,” received more support, helping them provide more services to medically underserved communities in which many Latinos live.
- Health reform will make oral contraceptives more accessible to Latinas beginning in August 2012.
- Half of all Latino children born in 2000 are at risk of developing diabetes. Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could legally deny coverage to Latino children with diabetes or other pre-existing conditions or charge them substantially more.
- The Affordable Care Act created the Office of Minority Health, which monitors the quality of care that communities of color receive under health reform.
This article was first published in Latinovations.[Photo by United States Government Work]