Latino Leaders Renew Call on House and Senate to Include Latino Priorities in Final Healthcare Reform Bill

January 14, 2010

Contact: Estuardo Rodriguez estuardo@rabengroup.com, (202) 631-2892
Vanessa Ramirez, vramirez@rabengroup.com, (213) 236-3751
Lizette Olmos, ljolmos@lulac.org, (202) 213-1293

Equity for the Americans of Puerto Rico and elimination of 5-year ban on legal immigrants lead priorities

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, Latino’s United for Healthcare (LUH), a coalition of national Latino civil rights and advocacy organizations, leaders and community advocates united in support of comprehensive health care reform, sent a letter to the President and the House and Senate leadership to address the negotiations around a final healthcare bill. (See Attached) The letter served as a reminder of the key provisions which must be included in order to earn the support of the Latino community.

Among the issues, the letter prioritized three areas: 1) equity for the Americans of Puerto Rico, 2) elimination of Medicaid’s five-year waiting period for legal immigrants, and 3) removal of unfair and costly verification barriers to the insurance exchange.

“Health care reform is one of the most important legislative issues of our generation. However, if Congress does not take serious steps to improve upon the legislation as drafted, we will fall short of our responsibility to ensure access to care for our generation, and future generations to come,” stated Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez, Chair of the NHLA. “Our community wants to be supportive of Congress’ efforts to reform our health care system but we ask them to put forward a bill that we can be proud of.”

“Access to affordable and comprehensive health care should be a right not a privilege in this country for all Latinos,” said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales and Vice Chair of NHLA. “We urge Senators to follow the inclusive efforts of the House bill and support the critical provisions necessary to ensuring that a health reform bill serves the Latino community across the United States and its territories. Any health reform compromise must address these provisions in order to earn our support.”

The letter goes on to address additional areas of improvement. Among the other provisions highlighted in the letter are; inclusion of the House language to expand Medicaid coverage to 150% FPL; improve affordability credits, inclusion of the House funding level for preventive care, inclusion of the Senate language on the Office of Minority Health, inclusion of the Senate language on funding community Health Centers and opposition to provisions harmful to small businesses.

“We are closer than ever before to achieving historic and much needed health care reform. Congress must not let our efforts be made in vain,” said Janet Murguia, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza. “Effective reform will ensure that the House bill prevails by treating Puerto Rico fairly and eradicating unnecessary and punitive measures that target immigrant communities.”

“Our forefathers envisioned a country where justice, morality, and fairness were rights of equality for all Americans. These rights are also the rights of the American citizens of Puerto Rico. Inclusion in the Exchange and increases in funding for Medicaid and Medicare for the Island will reinforce the commitment of equality that all Americans identify as a principle in our democracy,” declared Rafael A. Fantauzzi, President & CEO of the National Puerto Rican Coalition.

"The Hispanic community, in general, and Hispanic businesses, specifically, have a lot riding on the final negotiations on health care reform. Our perspective is that failure is not an option," said Javier Palomarez, President & CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "This much is clear, the Hispanic community will passionately support or ardently oppose a final proposal on the basis of how it treats all members of our community - citizens, immigrants, children, elderly and specifically our businesses."

Latinos United for Healthcare (LUH) is a nonpartisan coalition of national, state and local Hispanic leaders and organizations that support the passage of significant healthcare reform that increases access to affordable, quality health coverage for all. For more information visit www.latinosunitedforhealthcare.org.

Receive recent news from the League
of Latin American Citizens.

Become an eMember!