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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The Affordable Care Act Turns Five

Five years ago today, the country experienced a pivotal moment when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law. Since passage and subsequent implementation, millions of Americans have started to enjoy its benefits, including Latinos. While the increase in Americans with quality, affordable health coverage should be celebrated, it’s important to highlight the other ways the law is benefiting millions of Americans. To mark the ACA’s fifth birthday, here are five ways the law is benefiting the Latino community.

1. Investing in prevention

  • 8.8 million: The number of Latinos with private insurance who now have access to expanded preventive services with no cost-sharing, including mammograms for women, well-child visits, and flu shots for all children and adults.
  • 9 million: How many Latina women with private health insurance now have guaranteed access to women’s preventive services without cost-sharing, including breastfeeding support and counseling, screenings for cervical cancer, and prenatal care.

2. Enhancing quality

  • 10: The number of essential health benefit categories private marketplace plans must cover, including recommended preventive services, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder services.


3. Creating new coverage opportunities for young adults

  • 913,000: Latino adults ages 19–26 who would have been uninsured, including 375,000 women, but now have coverage either on their own plan or a parent’s employer-sponsored plan.

4. Improving consumer protections

  • 11.8 million: The number of Hispanics, including 4.4 million Latinas, who no longer have lifetime or annual limits on their health insurance coverage. And Section 1557, a civil rights provision of the law, prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other statuses.

5. There’s room to grow to ensure all who are eligible are able to experience the full benefit of the law

  • 1 million: The number of low-income Latinos who stand to gain coverage if states like Florida and Texas expand Medicaid eligibility.

There are many other ways the Affordable Care Act is benefiting Latinos and as implementation continues, we’ll see even more Americans benefitting. Of course, this is notwithstanding congressional attempts to repeal the law. It will take all of us to ensure Republican efforts to undermine the law are not realized. We know what’s at stake for millions of Americans, including Latinos, and NCLR will continue working to protect and advance the gains that have been made to ensure the potential of the law is fulfilled.

Removing Barriers to Health Coverage

Have a pre-existing condition? That’s no longer a barrier to getting health coverage. Our own Marcela Vargas, of the Institute for Hispanic Health, explains. Visit by Feb. 15 to sign up!

Latinos, the Affordable Care Act, and Diabetes

Diabetes is a harmful disease that, unfortunately, affects the Latino community at disproportionately higher rates than other groups. But, it is also a highly preventable disease that can be mitigated with education, and adequate health care, which the Affordable Care Act aims to do. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and in recognition of it, we’re highlighting how the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will help reduce diabetes rates for all Americans.

At 13 percent, Latinos have one of the highest rates of diabetes. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, however, Latinos living with diabetes will have more opportunities to get insured, live healthier, and more easily maintain their disease.

Here are five ways the ACA will benefits Latinos with diabetes:

1. Latinos With Diabetes Cannot Be Denied Insurance

Denying insurance or charging higher rates because of pre-existing conditions, like diabetes, is no longer allowed, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. This is welcome news for the 13 percent of Latinos 20 and older with diagnosed diabetes. Our children will especially benefit from this provision. Between 2002-2005, 15 percent of Latino children under 10 were reported with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. For Latino children between ages 10-19, that figure jumps to 25 percent.


2. College Graduates with Diabetes Can Stay on Their Parents Plan

Young adults with diabetes can now stay on their parent’s insurance plans until they turn 26 with few exceptions. The new health care law will provide coverage for the 34.9 percent of our adolescents who are currently uninsured.


3. Latinos on Medicare Will Receive Free Annual Wellness Visits


The Affordable Care Act will make it easier for elderly Latinos to identify diabetes-related health risks with wellness visits and tailored prevention plans. For many seniors, the new law has already helped by closing the “donut hole” for prescriptions. Since 2011, the ACA has implemented a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs, including insulin, which previously had to be purchased out-of-pocket. By 2012, that discount will increase to 75 percent.





4. Low-income Latinos Will Benefit from Medicaid Expansion

Thanks to the ACA, in 2014 Latino children and families with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level will be eligible for insurance through Medicaid, which can help provide care to low-income individuals who are disproportionately impacted by diabetes.


5. New National Program to Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Prevention. Prevention. Prevention. The Affordable Care Act established the
National Diabetes Prevention Program
to help community-based programs that prevent type 2 diabetes maximize their reach. It also created the Prevention and Public Health Fund to make many wellness and preventative services available for free. Prevention programs will be instrumental to reducing down from 13 percent the rate of Latinos with diabetes.

Go to to find a plan that helps you reap all of these benefits.