At the midway point since issuing its quadrennial Hispanic Public Policy Agenda in 2008, the NHLA assessed the progress made thus far in addressing the major public policy issues facing the Hispanic community nationally across six broad issue areas. Below is the Executive Summary regarding health. Click here to download the full report.
Health reform included many provisions that will help expand health insurance coverage for Latinos and improve health outcomes for our community as a whole.
- Expands Medicaid eligibility to people with incomes under 133% of the federal poverty level.
- Provides significant funding for disease prevention and enhances community health centers.
- Makes significant investments in recruiting and training a diverse and culturally competent health workforce.
- Includes $6.3 billion in new Medicaid funding for the territories; grants new flexibility for Puerto Rico to determine how to best use funding to expand coverage; and authorizes Puerto Rico to establish a health care exchange with $1 billion in subsidies for individuals and families of modest means.
At the same time, a failure in leadership resulted in the inclusion of onerous verification requirements that will result in preventing low-income, elderly and minority American citizens and legal residents from accessing coverage in the health insurance exchanges, even for private insurance options, where no federal taxpayer subsidies are involved.
Several other notable developments outside of health reform include:
- The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, expanding coverage to the children of legal immigrants and pregnant women by giving states the option to eliminate the five year waiting period.
- Increased funding for HIV/AIDS programs and release of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy by the White House emphasizing the need for testing and prevention among Latino and other minority communities.
- The launch of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative, and related efforts, to reduce childhood obesity, which disproportionately impacts the Latino community, with devastating long-term impacts on our community’s health and quality of life.