Impact of Affordable Health Insurance Reform on Hispanics

The aim of healthcare reform is to improve the health and living standards of the American population. It remains to be seen if the legislation will be successful. Because of the growing population of Hispanics and Latinos, they are increasingly likely to be affected. Many live under the poverty line, either unemployed or working low-wage jobs that do not offer health insurance.

Typically, Democrats have been successful among this demographic. This is even more true after the Republican governor of Arizona passed SB 1070, which allows law enforcement officers to stop and investigate anyone they suspect of being an undocumented immigrant–and which some people believe amounts to racial profiling. Therefore, President Obama is looking to shore up support among this group.

Recently, Obama made a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. In the speech, the President touted the benefits: affordable health insurance options will give them access to more effective preventative care, and reduce the overuse of emergency rooms. Increasing rates due to pre-existing conditions will also be banned.

According to Obama, nine million Latinos will benefit from the legislation. This number does not include illegal immigrants. The final version of the bill that passed the Senate does not allow the undocumented those benefits. Undocumented immigrants are not even allowed to utilize the affordable health insurance exchanges (launched by the federal government and individual states) with their own money. While they never would have recieved subsidies for coverage from the federal government, they would have been allowed to purchase health plans with their own money under the House of Representatives’ original version of the bill. However, even that appears to have been politically untenable.

Many conservatives use the high rate of uninsured Latinos to support the deportation of all of them from the United States, contrary to the belief of advocacy groups that oppose the strict limitations of the healthcare reform law. The issue is important to Hispanics in the country legally as well, because a significant percentage of them have undocumented relatives or friends.

Yamileth Medina is an up and coming expert on Health Insurance and Healthcare Reform. She aims to help people realize that they can find affordable health insurance right now. Yamileth lives in Miami, FL.

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