By Yuqi Wang, Economic Policy Analyst, NCLR
Photo: www.aag.com, http://ow.ly/IYcvj
A secure retirement is a right of all workers, yet 45 percent of working-age households in the U.S. do not have either an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k), or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). For Latinos, the data paints a starker picture: 60 percent of Latino workers do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, which is among the most effective ways for people to save for retirement.
Having states provide auto-enroll IRAs to private sector workers who don’t have access to such benefits through their workplaces and who tend to be lower-income is one effective solution. State-based retirement plans benefit employees of small businesses where 50 percent of employers don’t offer retirement plans. It also allows employers to provide IRAs to employees without requiring the employer to sponsor or contribute to the IRAs. Workers who participate are automatically opted in to a retirement savings account that takes out a predetermined amount from monthly paychecks and saves it in the IRA. Workers also have the option to opt-out at any time. Several states already passed legislation enacting these plans (e.g. California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, and Oregon), with 27 more states considering this or other program variants.
The Latino community has made historic gains since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and today those gains have been protected when House Republicans abruptly pulled their health care plan from the House floor minutes before members were supposed to cast their votes.
We thank those members of Congress who stood against a bill that would have gutted our nation’s health insurance system and forced millions of Americans to lose coverage. Between 2013 and 2015, more than four million Latino adults and 600,000 children have obtained coverage. While today was a victory for supporters of the Affordable Care Act, we also caution against future threats.
“The people spoke out and won the day, but it is unlikely the fight is over,” said Janet Murguia, NCLR President and CEO. “We are committed to continue pushing for policies that benefit the health and well-being of our children and families.”
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), over four million Latino adults and 600,000 Latino children have gained health coverage. But beyond these important gains, the ACA does something else.
The ACA ensures that every health plan covers at least these 10 “essential health benefits”:
- Doctors’ visits
- Prescription drugs
- Mental health and addiction treatment services
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive care, wellness services, and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision care for children
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. Seven years later, over four million Latino adults have gained health coverage. The fact that more Latinos are covered than ever before is something to celebrate, maintain, and build upon. However, not everyone feels that more people having quality, affordable health care is worth celebrating. Today, the House GOP Leadership is expected to hold a vote to gut the ACA and replace it with their proposal that would kick millions of children, seniors, and families off their insurance.
To mark the seventh anniversary of the ACA, we are highlighting five aspects of the law that benefit the Latino community, plus two aspects of the House GOP proposal that would harm Latino families and children.
By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
Some simple ways to evaluate the new congressional health care plan: when children are covered, they are healthier and do better in school. If they stay healthy, they will have more opportunities as adults. When families are covered, they are better protected from crippling medical debt and homelessness. When more people are covered, our country’s productivity and economic well-being are secured.
The “American Health Care Act” that House congressional leaders proposed last week will drop millions of children and working families from their Medicaid programs. It dismantles health care as we know it, trading in coverage of our nation’s most vulnerable populations for a financial windfall benefiting the wealthy few. And in an analysis released just this week, the Congressional Budget Office gave us our clearest picture yet of the harm the GOP proposal would inflict. The CBO estimates that 14 million people would lose coverage by 2018, 24 million by 2026, and federal Medicaid spending would be reduced by $880 billion over the next 10 years. In short, the historic coverage gains we’ve made over the past few years would be wiped away.