Nearly 10 Million Latinos May Benefit from Affordable Care Act

July 15, 2010

Contact: Contact: Deborah Charnes, Bromley, Communications, (210) 381-1846
Lizette Jenness Olmos, LULAC, (202) 365-4553

Albuquerque, NM – The United States Department of Agriculture, Food Nutrition Services (USDA, FNS), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and public health officials joined the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today to highlight ways in which the Affordable Care Act will make health insurance more accessible and affordable to the nine million Latinos that will be eligible to receive health coverage under the new public health law.

“Health Care Reform brings us closer to establishing health care as a civil right,” said LULAC President, Rosa Rosales. “With one in three Latinos lacking health insurance coverage, Hispanic families have suffered more than any other ethnic group due to lack of coverage and inadequate care.”

As one of the leading Hispanic organizations in support of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, LULAC will focus its attention in ensuring that:

• Discriminatory health practices are eliminated
• Insurance companies do not drop health coverage because an individual becomes sick
• Preventative care such as mammograms, immunizations and screenings for cancer or diabetes will be utilized by Hispanics especially since the out-of-pocket costs will no longer be required for these health screenings
• Medicare recipients have access to rebate checks for prescription drugs

Hispanics are disproportionately impacted by chronic health conditions and face disparities in accessing health care and the quality they receive. Even when Hispanics and non-minorities have the same types of insurance, racial and ethnic minorities receive lower quality care or live in neighborhoods where quality health professionals and services are not available. Latino families often live in low-income households and are often faced with economic barriers that make it difficult to have health insurance and enough food in the household, and makes it especially more difficult to consider healthier food options, which tend to be more expensive.

“The Latino community faces dual challenges when it comes to nutrition since hunger and obesity can often co-exist,” said Lisa Pino, Deputy Administrator for Food and Nutrition Service at the USDA. Hispanics in the U.S. have higher rates of both food insecurity and obesity. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service is addressing these challenges through its 15 nutrition assistance programs, many of which include nutrition education.”

The health status of Latino communities is an issue that demands immediate and ongoing attention, advocacy and education. In an effort to combat the obesity epidemic among Hispanics, LULAC has partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is spearheading the Latinos Living Healthy initiative. This initiative seeks to raise awareness on the child obesity epidemic, develop policy priorities to reversing the epidemic, and foster community collaboration. This initiative will provide greater access to affordable and healthy foods for Hispanic families and will focus on creating and supporting safe spaces for physical activity for children and families.

LULAC will engage in ongoing advocacy efforts with LULAC councils, community leaders, elected officials and policy makers to identify and develop policy solutions to address the child obesity epidemic and the social determinants that contribute to the low health status among Latino communities throughout the US.

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