NHLA and LUH Welcome Final Congressional Approval of Health Reform

March 26, 2010

Contact: Vanessa Ramirez, vramirez@rabengroup.com, (213) 236-3751
Estuardo Rodriguez, estuardo@rabengroup.com , (202) 631-2892
Lizette Jenness Olmos, ljolmos@lulac.org, (202) 365-4553

Passage marks victory for Latino community.

WASHINGTON, DC– The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) and Latinos United for Healthcare (LUH), a coalition of national Latino civil rights and advocacy organizations, national and community leaders welcomed votes in the House and Senate to pass the Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872), capping a year-long effort to make health coverage better and more affordable in which leading Hispanic organizations and advocates stood united to ensure that health reform would make a meaningful impact in improving the health outcomes in America’s Latino population.

The passage of H.R. 4872 marks significant progress toward addressing key health priorities for the Latino community. Combined with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was signed into law on Tuesday, the two pieces of legislation include the following:

  • Affordability: help for lower and middle income families so they can afford health coverage in an insurance exchange that includes important consumer protections.
  • Medicaid Expansion: covers citizens and legal immigrants residing in the U.S. for five years or more with incomes under 133% of poverty, meaning that families of four with annual incomes around $30,000 or below will have access to needed health services.
  • Resources to end minority health disparities: investments in prevention, community health centers, cultural and linguistic competency training, and recruitment of minority health professionals; and strengthens the role of the Office of Minority Health.
  • Steps toward equity for the U.S. Citizens of Puerto Rico: increases Medicaid funding for the territory and gives Puerto Rico the resources to establish a Health Benefits Exchange.

“Our community can celebrate today because the approval of health reform by Congress means that millions of uninsured Latinos will be able to get coverage, those who have it will see improvements in their insurance policies, and our Hispanic-owned small businesses will get tax incentives to provide health coverage for their employees,” said Lillian Rodriguez-López, President of the Hispanic Federation and Chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda.

“The votes in the House and Senate finish the first major step of reforming our health system, a dream our community has shared with the late Senator Edward Kennedy. While he could not participate in the vote, the impact of his life’s work will benefit the Latino community in the months, years, and decades to come,” said Rosa Rosales, LULAC National President. “The Latinos across the country are right to celebrate this victory, as it was their voices calling on our leaders in Congress to pass meaningful health reform that helped make today possible.”

“Congress and the Obama Administration clearly laid the foundation needed to bring the U.S. Citizens of Puerto Rico and the Territories closer to the American Dream: fairness and equality for all,” said Rafael A. Fantauzzi President & CEO of the National Puerto Rican Coalition.

“Today is victory for Latinos, many who are currently uninsured and will soon be able to get affordable health care coverage,” said Janet Murguia, President of the National Council of La Raza. “This was a tough fight and Latino leaders can be proud to say that we have done all we could to ensure that the concerns and needs of Latinos were addressed in this historic health insurance reform effort. We congratulate lawmakers and the President and pledge to work constructively to build on these gains and improve on this reform.”

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 www.latinosunitedforhealthcare.org

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