Mitt Romney may hate Obamacare now, but he loved Romneycare. And as Romney BFF and VP short-lister Tim Pawlenty pointed out, they're kinda, sorta the same thing. That¿s why he called it "Obamneycare." Whatever you call it, it's here. And it does a lot of things Latinos might like -- a lot.
Under the Affordable Care Act, which is almost exactly what Romney passed in Massachusetts:
1) Insurance companies can't turn you down because you have diabetes or high-blood pressure, or anything else. Under ACA, you can't be denied coverage because you have a pre-existing condition. That means kids with asthma and adults who once had a heart attack can still get insurance. That means the insurance companies can't say no. And, there are
2) No lifetime limits. That's right. The companies can't cap how much they'll pay out in benefits. So someone who has battled cancer or has kidney disease can't be told there's no more money for more treatment. Their insurance has to keep paying.
3) More women's health coverage. As Jessica González-Rojas, the executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, put it in an op-ed piece for FoxNewsLatino, "For Latinas, who already face a disproportionate number of barriers to care, this decision means expanded access to absolutely critical services, like life-saving screenings for cancer and domestic violence, and greater support for pregnant women and new mothers."
As soon as next year, birth control will be free, and women will be able to get regular mammograms and cervical cancer screenings. That's particularly important to Latinas, who now tend to have breast cancer detected later and a higher death rate as a result.
4) People who couldn¿t get insurance before will be able to -- especially Hispanics. Parents can keep their kids on their insurance plans up to age 26. Freelancers and folks who work for themselves or as contract employees will be able to get insurance. So will people who are unemployed but ineligible for Medicaid.
Hispanics benefit more than most thanks to this. As Jennifer Ng'andu, Deputy Director, Health Policy Project, NCLR wrote on the organization's website:
"Estimates by the Urban Institute peg Latinos as the population that will see the single biggest jump in coverage, with more than 6 million Hispanic Americans across the country gaining health insurance. This is the highest increase for any racial or ethnic community and one that is desperately needed, as Latinos as a group have largely been cut off from the regular routes to coverage."
5) More services en español, at more places. The White House says that since ACA was first instituted in 2010 (that's right, this ain't a new thing. It's been around. The sides have just been bickering about it for the last two years.) about 6 million Latinos already have been given access to preventive medical services. That expands to another 9 million in 2014. A big part of that is through community health centers, which get about $11 billion in funding from ACA.
ACA specifically provides funding for cultural competency and language training, so more doctors and nurses will be able to talk with Spanish- and other language-speaking patients.
It also provides scholarships for medical students and loan repayments for physicians and other health care providers who work in underserved areas. That means more Latino students will be able to get money for medical school, and more doctors and nurses will have incentives to work in underserved Hispanic areas.
6) Oh, yeah, and that "tax" thing. About 4 million small businesses with up to 25 employees already can get tax credits of up to 35 percent for offering health insurance to their workers. The credit goes up to 50 percent in 2014.
That's a big break for those 4 million "job creators."
Beginning that same year, individuals who absolutely refuse to get health protection for themselves and their families could get whacked with a tax stick. They'll have to pay a $95 penalty in 2014, unless they can show a financial hardship. That's nothing compared to what they'll have to pay if they get hit by a car and don't have insurance, but at least they can say they stood for their principles as they empty their bank accounts to pay their medical bills.
Folks who do get coverage should see a big savings. (Here's a handy guesstimator, thanks to the folks at the Kaiser Family Foundation.)
An average middle-class family of four making $45,000-a-year, for example, can get $9,500 of its insurance premiums paid for by the government.
With that kind of a carrot, it's hard to understand why anyone would not want health coverage, but, to each their own.
Source: Terra/Carlos Harrison