March 7, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC— NCLR (National Council of La Raza) denounced legislation introduced yesterday by the House Republican leadership that takes health coverage away from millions of American families and children, including Latinos, by reducing tax credits to buy affordable plans and halting the expansion of Medicaid. In addition, NCLR expressed alarm that limiting federal funding—for the first time since the program was established in 1965—for Medicaid coverage that is vital for 74 million low-income Americans would end the Medicaid program as we know it.
Latino voters have shown strong support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to an NCLR/Latino Decisions health poll released late last year, around 70 percent of Latino voters support the ACA and efforts to improve—not repeal—the law.
“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. 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.”
NCLR has praised Medicaid expansion and called on additional states to expand this crucial program, which would bring coverage to 3.7 million more Latinos. Under the ACA, 20 million Americans, including 4.2 million Latinos, obtained health coverage. The overall Latino uninsured rate declined to 16.2 percent between 2013 and 2015, the lowest rate ever recorded. The gains have been especially meaningful for Latino children as shown in a recent report by NCLR and the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. During this period, over 600,000 Latino children gained coverage, and the Latino child uninsured rate saw the largest two-year decline on record, from 11.5 percent to 7.5 percent. Nearly half of Medicaid beneficiaries are children.
“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. 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,” Murguía concluded.
NCLR looks forward to working with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other congressional champions to ensure that Latinos’ needs and priorities are taken into account in any health care legislation.
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to build a stronger America by creating opportunities for Latinos. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.