At a press conference yesterday in Washington DC, Hispanic lawmakers decried Republican efforts to repeal healthcare reform legislation passed during the last Congress.
Despite a recent poll that indicates a greater number of Americans oppose repealing the healthcare law than those who support it, the House passed a bill to repeal it yesterday with overwhelming Republican support.
“All Americans in the United States have unequivocally benefited from the Affordable Care Act,” said Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-TX), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus at the Tri-Caucus press conference which includes the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
Latinos are among the most uninsured in the country and up to 16 million of them could benefit from the healthcare reform law, says Gonzalez.
“All Americans will benefit from the Affordable Care Act. But minority communities, those represented by the Tri-Caucus, stand to lose the most should it be repealed.”
The repeal bill stands a tough battle ahead in the Senate with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) saying he will block it and President Obama vowing to veto it.
“Not only would repeal not pass, but (a weekend opinion poll indicated) three out of four people don’t want it to,” Zac Petkanas, a spokesman for Reid, said. “Why? Because full repeal means raising taxes on small business, reopening the Medicare donut hole and putting insurance companies back in charge of your health care.”
On Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a report that showed as many as 129 million Americans under age 65 could be denied health insurance coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions without the new law’s protections.
For Latinos, this lack of protections could send them one step back from the gains made with last year’s overhaul of the healthcare system.
“Latinos are also more prone to have certain conditions that are easily managed by the preventive care that health care reform affords them. And lastly, over half of Latinos that had never seen a primary care physician, will be able to see a doctor regularly due to health care reform” Gonzalez said.
The Tri- Caucus said in a statement that the “Republican Patients’ Rights Repeal Act will disproportionally affect Latinos who have the highest uninsured rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States are less likely to be able to afford insurance.”