The GOP’s Hypocrisy Towards Latinos
By Maria Cardona
Republicans sure are stubborn! Two years after the Affordable Health Care Act was passed, they still insist on repealing it, and seeing that this is impossible, they are now determined to force the government to shut down if Congress approves funds for the law once it comes into effect. Oh Please! We have already seen that the GOP has been pretty hypocritical after the November elections, saying they have learned from their mistakes, especially with Latinos, and made a new effort to convince Latinos that they are a political party that is open and tolerant. Unfortunately, not everyone in their party agrees with the new message.
We see that when it comes to immigration, where the extremist voices do not stop making noise. The same is happening with the health care law. What Republicans have to understand is that it is not possible to approach the Latino community by telling us that they now have a different attitude towards us, while on the other hand, they are simply trying to take away the security of health care that 10 million Latinos would have thanks to the new law.
From Senator Marco Rubio to Senator Ted Cruz, whom we know are interested in launching campaigns for president in 2016, Republicans are willing to force a government shutdown, which was disastrous for their party in 1996 when most Americans blamed Republicans for that catastrophe. Well the same would happen again if during fiscal negotiations this October, Republicans would be so irresponsible as to risk a government shutdown if Democrats do not agree to defund the Affordable Healthcare Act. We all know that will never happen.
Let’s see exactly what the benefits of that law are and how it works:
· People who have health coverage that they like, can keep it. Children under 26 years of age can also remain in their parents’ health plan.
· People who do not have coverage can use the Health Insurance Market to purchase a private insurance plan.
· Pre-existing conditions are covered, including many preventive services and 10 essential health benefits. Depending on your family size and income, you can obtain reductions in costs and monthly premiums that you have to pay out of pocket.
· You can receive free coverage or coverage under Medicaid or the cost of Children’s Insurance Program (CHIP acronym) if eligible. Many states are expanding Medicaid to cover a greater number of people in 2014.
· People who do not have coverage in 2014 will pay a fee – $ 95 per adult ($ 47.50 per child) or 1% of income, whichever is higher. The family maximum will be $ 285.
· People who have coverage and want to explore plans under the Health Insurance Market may do so.
· But if they have an insurance offered by an employer, they may not receive cost reductions in the insurance market, based on their income. It all depends if the insurance offered is considered affordable and meets the minimum standards.
· Medicare is not part of the market. If you have Medicare you can keep it.
· Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Market begins on October 1, 2013 and ends on March 31, 2014.
There have already been reports of how the law has lowered the monthly payments for families in many states. The more healthy individuals enroll in the markets, the more premiums will come down for everyone.
Hundreds of thousands of Latino children have already benefited from this law, which protects them from health insurance companies so they can’t reject their claims and cannot deny coverage due to any pre-existing conditions. And when the law takes full effects in 2014, 10 million Latinos will have health insurance that do not have it currently.
So when you hear the supposed Republicans “leaders” urging their followers to raise their voices against the Affordable Healthcare Act and who are willing to shut down the government if the law is not de-funded, be sure to tell Republican lawmakers that this law benefits our community and that if you truly want to attract Latino voters, they have to stop being so hypocritical.
Maria Cardona is a Democratic strategist and a principal at the Dewey Square Group, where she founded Latinovations. She is also a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, and former communications director to the Democratic National Committee.