Let’s Not Turn Back the Gains We’ve Made in Advancing Women’s Health

As we close National Women’s Health Week, we recognize the tireless contributions women have made in the overall health and well-being of our country. These contributions not only are reflective in the local community-based health programs and services that our Affiliate Network of community-based organizations and community health centers lead, but also in the leadership roles that they represent both regionally and nationally.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we have seen major gains in access to affordable, quality, and equitable health care for women and children. Prior to the ACA, 36 percent of Latinas ages 15–44 were uninsured. In two years, that rate dropped to 25 percent. The ACA has provided millions of previously uninsured Latinas access to essential health care services and coverage.  Key preventive and sexual health services include breast and cervical cancer screenings, immunizations, breastfeeding counseling and support, domestic violence screening and support, and prenatal screenings, including gestational diabetes screening for women at high risk and folic acid supplements, that are offered at no additional cost.

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An Almost Unnoticed Victory

Last week, while press attention was heavily focused on passage of House legislation to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, Latino and pro-immigration advocates won an almost unnoticed, but nevertheless important, victory. President Trump signed a $1.1 trillion spending deal to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year that, according to Bloomberg News, “largely tracks Democratic priorities and rejects most of [President Trump’s] wish list, including funds for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.” The bill, H.R. 244, was required because Congress previously only appropriated enough funding for half of the 2017 fiscal year.

In mid-March, the White House formally requested an additional $30 billion in defense spending and more than $3 billion for the wall and other immigration enforcement. The Trump administration further asked Congress to cut $18 billion in funds for domestic programs to partially offset these increases. Separately, the administration also urged Congress to eliminate funding for so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with his mass deportation scheme. With a single political party controlling both houses of Congress and the White House, one might’ve assumed that the president’s priorities would sail through the legislative process. Early on, Democratic negotiators made clear they would fight funding for the wall, seeking to beat back one of the president’s signature issues.

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This Fight Isn’t Over

By Steven Lopez, Manager, Health Policy Project, NCLR

Yesterday was a tough day. It’s okay to be angry. We are, too.

The 217-213 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is certainly a hard pill to swallow for those of us who believe that more children and families, not fewer, should have the opportunity for quality, affordable, and accessible health care.

We’re not going to sugarcoat it: what House Republicans passed yesterday puts lives in jeopardy.

It puts in jeopardy the peace of mind of parents who—thanks to the ACA—can take their kids to a pediatrician instead of the emergency room. It puts in jeopardy the working families who are protected from debt and bankruptcy in the event of a medical emergency under the ACA. It puts in jeopardy the life of the cancer survivor who knows she is here today because insurance companies could no longer shut her out under the ACA.

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Protecting and Defending Our Community’s Health

By David Thomsen, Policy Analyst, Health Policy Project, NCLR

All Americans should have the opportunity and ability to achieve good health. While we have made significant progress towards achieving this goal, we know that this progress has been uneven for certain communities. April is National Minority Health Month, and as it comes to a close, we want to take the opportunity to shine a light on the gains we have made, while addressing the remaining work necessary to reduce the health inequities facing our country. While we have a long way to go to reach this goal, many communities—including Latinos—have made significant progress under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Between 2013, when key provisions of the ACA came into effect, and 2015:

  • More than four million Latino adults and 600,000 children gained coverage.
  • The overall Latino uninsured rate declined from one in four in 2013 to one in six in 2015.
  • The uninsured rate for Latino children experienced the largest two-year decline on record (11.5% to 7.5%).

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Five Ways You Can Take Action to Protect Our Care

“Save the ACA”
Rally in Support of the Affordable Care Act, at The White House, Washington, DC USA, see https://www.facebook.com/events/1425620610816402/

Thanks to your efforts, and the efforts of millions of Americans, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still the law of the land. However, this fight is not over. Our health and the health of our community remains under attack.

Last month, the latest effort to repeal the ACA failed. If passed, the repeal bill, named the American Health Care Act (AHCA), would cause 24 million Americans to lose health coverage and cut Medicaid by around $800 billion over 10 years. However, rather than move on from a bill that only 17 percent of Americans support, Members of Congress want to revive this bad bill, and make it even worse.

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