Latinos would be among the hardest hit if Medicaid is cut, according to a new report by a coalition of health and civil rights organizations.
The report titled “Medicaid: A Lifeline for Blacks and Latinos with Serious Health Care Needs,” found that cutting Medicaid doesn’t actually reduce medical costs, instead it shifts the costs to states, families, hospitals and people with insurance. And with Latinos and Blacks more than twice as likely to rely on Medicaid for health care because of the tendency to have lower incomes than whites, this would result in a disproportionate damaging effect on these communities
Many lawmakers, particularly in the Republican Party, are calling for deep cuts in programs like Medicaid to balance the budget and curb federal spending.
“As policymakers consider sharp cutbacks in the Medicaid program, this report brings an important potential consequence of their actions to the table — that cutting Medicaid will likely hit hardest at communities of color and, in particular, those who depend on the program to manage and treat their chronic illnesses,” said Ralph B. Everett, president and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a sponsor of the study.
Medicaid covers nearly one in four Latinos with cancer, more than 25% of Latinos with diabetes, and nearly two in five Latinos with lung disease. The program also helps roughly half of all Latino and Black children get a healthy start early on in life.
“There are critical disparities in the delivery of health care to black and Latino communities, which contributes to a higher incidence and greater severity of chronic and serious health conditions in those communities,” said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. “That medical reality, combined with the fact that these communities tend to have lower incomes, means that Medicaid is a vital lifeline in protecting the health and well-being of these Americans.”
The report was released in October by the American Diabetes Association, the American Lung Association, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the National Medical Association, the National Urban League Policy Institute, and Families USA.