Sunday, September 15, 2019

Comentarios From Maria: Obamacare offers our community immense opportunities: enroll today!

maria

As the deadline to enroll for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) looms closer, I find myself thinking about the saying: the greatest wealth is health. It is a sentiment that Vice President Joe Biden recently echoed while he spoke about the ACA and the transcendence of a subject like health; something that truly interests and affects us all. Thanks to the ACA, the quality of life and financial security of millions of Americans – including millions of Latinos – has improved dramatically. As a mother, I wouldn’t be able to sleep without knowing that my children were protected and that our family wasn’t at risk economically if any of our little ones were to be sick. Every mother deserves this tranquility, and peace of mind.

Republicans and critics predicted a disaster when the ACA became law in 2010. But almost two years after the complete implementation of the law, analysis after analysis shows that the ACA is working better than anticipated and has surpassed the expectations of critics and optimists alike. Yet inequalities still exist, especially within our community where one in every four Latinos still do not have health insurance. We mustn’t forget that behind these figures, there are mothers, fathers, children and grandparents in our community who have remained on the margins of the system.

The reality is that there is still no shortage of stories of members of our community who have lost loved ones to illnesses that could have been avoided or prevented. The ACA looks to counter these cases in the future. Approximately eight in every ten Latinos without health insurance may qualify for the benefits of Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Millions of families also qualify for tax credits that will help them reduce the cost of monthly premiums, annual and lifetime limits have been eliminated, and coverage cannot be denied to anybody with preexisting conditions. The 8.8 million Latinos that already have health insurance will now have access to preventative care without additional costs.

Last week, Republicans in the House of Representatives once again voted on measures that would repeal the ACA; this is nearly the 60th time they have chosen to do so instead of offering an alternative or admitting that the law has been a huge victory for our country and community. But the President also revealed his budget for the 2016 fiscal year last week, which would expand affordable coverage for the middle class and millions of Latinos, because he understands that access to health care is not a privilege but a fundamental right.

Amigos, if we work together, we can eliminate inequalities in coverage among our community. You have until February 15 for you and your families to enroll and ensure coverage in 2015, but I urge you all to not wait until the last minute: do it today. You can register online: HealthCare.gov and CuidadoDeSalud.gov or, if you prefer to do it by phone or in person, call 1-855-889-4325. To your health!

This piece originally appeared in Spanish in the Washington Hispanic.