By Albert Jacquez
The Senate has once again delayed their health care repeal bill, and we at the NCLR Action Fund are anxiously awaiting the fate of the Latino community’s ability to access health care in this country.
The Senate Republican repeal bill would roll back the progress made toward accessible and affordable health care for all, particularly for the Latino community. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Latinos have seen the largest reduction of the uninsured rate than any other group as more than 4 million Latinos have gained coverage.
The Republican repeal bill would be also devastating for women’s health, disproportionately hurting Latinas. One expert said it would “specifically make it harder for women to access crucial health benefits. This may come as no surprise, given that the bill was written by 13 men.”
The reality is that Latinas in the U.S. already face significant barriers to accessing health care and, despite the progress made under the ACA, the fact remains that a greater percentage of Latinas (20 percent) are uninsured compared to women of any other group. Unsurprisingly, Latinas are less likely to have a regular health care provider and are more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer.
In addition to slashing Medicaid, increasing premiums and deductibles, and gutting essential health benefits like maternity care, this bill would also block millions of people from getting essential, preventive care at Planned Parenthood – a trusted health care provider that the Latino community has come to rely on and cannot afford to lose.
Planned Parenthood is trusted resource for the Latino community. In fact, one-fifth of Planned Parenthood’s patients – nearly 500,000 – are Latino. Without Planned Parenthood, many Latinos may have nowhere else to go for care.
Planned Parenthood is also proud to see patients regardless of immigration status, and under an administration determined to strip both women and immigrants of their rights, they are one of the few safe places that undocumented Latinos can turn to for care.
Being an immigrant can make accessing care more challenging. We know that increased immigration enforcement drives immigrants further into the shadows and can prevent them from seeking the lifesaving care they need. And while the ACA made huge impact on closing the un-insurance gap among Latinos, it left out undocumented immigrants. Eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood would jeopardize many immigrants’ only avenue for affordable, accessible care.
In addition to providing critical preventive care, Planned Parenthood has also shown up for the Latino community: it has Raiz organizers in key states with high Latino populations to mobilize Latinos on the ground; Promotoras de salud across the country who bring bilingual health education into Latinos homes; it has played a key role in educating and enrolling Latinos in the Affordable Care Act during each and every open enrollment period; and it continues to advocate for immigrant rights.
We know Latinos are often the ones who need access to affordable health care the most, but are the least likely to have access to it. For our community, going to Planned Parenthood is not about making a political statement but accessing the health care they desperately need.
Planned Parenthood has always stood with us, and we at NCLR Action Fund are proud to stand with Planned Parenthood, and you should too.
It’s not too late to have your voice heard before the Senate vote. Find out more at IStandWithPP.org to learn, take action and stay up to date with the fight.
Albert Jacquez is the Deputy Executive Director of the National Council of La Raza’s Action Fund.