The GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not make America great again. NCLR has denounced the legislation, dubbed the “American Health Care Act”, which was finally unveiled this week.
The Republican plan would take health coverage away from millions of American families and children, including millions of Latinos, by reducing tax credits to buy affordable plans and by stopping the Medicaid expansion. Further, we are quite alarmed at the plan’s provision to eliminate federal funding for Medicaid coverage for 74 million low-income Americans. This would be a first for the program since it was established in 1965, and would end Medicaid as we know it.
“NCLR would have welcomed legislation that kept the same, or higher, levels of coverage for working families and children,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “A plan that undermines 20 million Americans who have finally been able to purchase health insurance at affordable rates—and that asks the sickest and poorest among us to bear the brunt of health care costs—is not one that makes America great.”
Indeed, there is substantial support in Latino communities for the ACA. A 2016 poll we conducted with Latino Decisions shows that about 70% of Latino voters support the ACA and plans to improve—not repeal—the health care law.
“This bill violates a central campaign promise of President Trump’s, and jeopardizes the health and financial security of millions. We must protect and defend against policies that seek to inflict unnecessary harm and pain, especially on our children,” said Murguía.
The Medicaid expansion has been especially critical for Latino families. We have called on more states to expand Medicaid, which would bring coverage to 3.7 million Latinos. Almost half of Medicaid beneficiaries are children. To date, 20 million people now have health coverage through the ACA, including 4.2 million Latinos. For many Latinos, this is the first time they have ever had health insurance. We can point to additional significant gains that were made under the ACA, especially with respect to Latino kids. In a report we published with the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families last year, we found that more than 600,000 Latino children gained coverage. Additionally, the Latino child uninsured rate experienced the largest two-year decline on record, falling from 11.5% to 7.5%.
“This bill is a threat to America’s well-being and represents a step back to the days when health insurance was financially out of reach for too many working Americans. Our nation’s future depends on healthy and hard-working families,” Murguía added. “The changes to Medicaid will devastate a program that is a lifeline for 74 million vulnerable Americans, including children, people with disabilities, and 18 million Latinos. This effort to radically change the financing structure of Medicaid will jeopardize their lives.”
Stay connected and receive updates via our Action Network as we work with congressional champions like the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to guarantee that the Latino community’s needs and priorities are considered in any health care bill.