NCLR, Families USA Town Hall Highlights Health Care Benefits and Dispels Myths for Latinos




August 31 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          Contact:
August 31, 2012                                                            Camila Gallardo
                                                                                          (305) 573-7329/cell: (305) 215-4259
                                                                                          cgallardo@nclr.org
                                                                                          Dave Lemmon
                                                                                          (202) 628-3030                                                                               


Panelists help separate fact from fiction at well-attended Miami community forum

MIAMI—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) and Families USA were joined today by Leon Rodriguez, Director of the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and a panel of health policy experts to answer questions from the community on key provisions of the health reform law.  The breakfast gathering took place at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium.  Rodriguez, who led the Latino community town hall, confronted the myths surrounding the law and focused on its benefits and protections for Latino families.

“The Affordable Care Act will expand coverage for millions of Latinos, seniors, children, and working people who need comprehensive health coverage.  It is an absolute honor to be able to come home and discuss this vital program with my fellow South Floridians,” said Rodriguez, a native of Miami. 

The town hall comes in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act—the sweeping health care reform law signed by President Obama in March of 2010. 

“There has been a concerted effort to mislead people about what health care reform means.  We came together today to correct the record.   The new rights and consumer protections in the health care law are real and unprecedented.  This is particularly true in the Latino community which has the highest rate of uninsured in the country,” said Jennifer Ng’andu, Deputy Director, Health Policy Project for NCLR as she explained several key provisions.  The law ensures patients won’t be turned away because of preexisting conditions and expands coverage for our young adults.  

The new health care law will help expand Medicaid access to an additional 3.1 million Hispanics.  “In a community in which one-third of us are uninsured, Medicaid is the safety net that makes sure our most vulnerable can see a doctor or get a prescription filled.  The economic downturn has underscored Medicaid’s importance and highlights the pressing need to expand access to it,” explained Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, Health Equity Director, Families USA.

Over the years, as employers dropped health insurance coverage and state legislatures made cuts to their health budgets, Americans from every walk of life have been left struggling to pay for the care that keeps them healthy.  This has been especially true for the Latino community which is less likely to have employer-sponsored insurance and more likely to get care through Medicaid.  The health reform law will help reverse that trend—millions more will be eligible for tax credits to purchase affordable insurance, will qualify to enroll in Medicaid, and will gain unprecedented consumer protections against abusive insurance companies. 

NCLR, Families USA, and partner groups who helped bring together today’s town hall believe in the critical importance of demystifying the new law for Latinos, a group that stands to benefit most from the new protections it offers. 
                 
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.  For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

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Issues: Health, Health Care Reform
Geography:Southeast