After Securing Key Improvements, NHLA and LUH Urge Congress to Support Health Care Legislation

March 19, 2010

Contact: Vanessa Ramirez, , (213) 236-375
Estuardo Rodriguez , (202) 631-2892

WASHINGTON, DC– After winning key improvements in the latest health reform package making its way through Congress, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) and Latinos United for Healthcare (LUH) announced their support today for the Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act (H.R. 4872), calling on all Members of Congress to support its passage and commit to making further changes in the near future that will benefit the Latino community.

NHLA, composed of 30 leading Hispanic organizations, and LUH, a coalition of the NHLA and other organizations committed to the passage of significant health care reform, together representing more than 50 million Latinos in U.S and Puerto Rico, have spent the past year advocating for key provisions in health reform that would serve the needs of our nation’s growing Latino community. Based on three guiding principles – to make insurance better and more affordable, close the gap in health disparities, and end discrimination – Latinos across the nation have made their voices heard on the airwaves, in newspapers, and in the halls of Congress and the White House. After their sustained efforts on behalf of Latino families, they won key improvements over the Senate’s health reform bill. The improvements embodied in H.R. 4872 include:

  • $6.3 billion in new Medicaid funding for the territories as well as new flexibility for Puerto Rico to determine how best to use this funding to expand coverage and improve services.
  • Authorization for Puerto Rico to establish a Health Care Exchange and $1 billion for subsidies to individuals and families of modest means who participate in the exchange.
  • More generous affordability credits that put health coverage within reach for low-income citizen and immigrant families who purchase insurance through an exchange.
The health reform package also includes other priorities that NHLA and LUH have advocated for, including and expansion of Medicaid to cover individuals with incomes under 133% of poverty, important consumer protections, and resources to combat minority health disparities, such as investments in prevention and wellness, community health centers, cultural and linguistic competency training, recruitment of more minority health professionals, and an elevation of the coordinating role of the Office of Minority Health.

A number of priorities critical to improving health outcomes of the Latino community remain unresolved in the current legislation. NHLA and LUH will look to the White House and Congress for their leadership in addressing these issues in the near and medium term. These priorities include:

  • Eliminating the five-year waiting period for legal residents to access Medicaid. Legal residents pay taxes just as U.S. citizens do, and therefore deserve to avail themselves of this critical coverage program when they fall on hard times;
  • Eliminating costly and onerous verification requirements that prevent low-income, elderly and minority American citizens and legal residents from accessing health insurance exchanges that Latino citizens and legal residents don’t face roadblocks to getting the services they help fund through their tax dollars. Such verification provisions especially have no place in blocking access to private insurance options, where no federal taxpayer subsidies are involved.
Those making the call for passing health reform legislation include the ASPIRA Association, Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU), Hispanic Federation, Hispanic National Bar Association, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Hispanic Environmental Council, National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), MANA - A National Latina Organization, Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF), Latinos for National Health Insurance, National Hispanic Council on Aging, SER – Jobs for Progress, Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute.

Established in 1991, The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) brings together Hispanic leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. For more information, please visit .

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 further information, please visit .

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