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Latinos support the Affordable Care Act as a whole, but not the individual mandate

Latino voters support the Affordable Health Care Act, but do not support the mandate to purchase coverage, according to a poll released Thursday.

Conducted by ImpreMedia/Latino Decisions (IM-LD) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, the poll reveals “that 50% of Latino voters support the Affordable Health Care Act and only 29% support its repeal,” adding that “59% of these voters are not well disposed toward one of the law’s regulations, which makes it mandatory for them to purchase insurance if they do not have coverage. They are against it.”

Poll results also indicate that:

  • 85 percent of Latino voters “support having the government provide tax credits to small businesses offering their employees coverage.”
  • 63 percent “support prohibiting insurance companies from denying potential insured patients coverage because of their medical history.”
  • 75 percent “support the Medicare prescription drug ‘doughnut hole’ or coverage gap clause.”
  • 80 percent “favor providing financial help to those who are not able to purchase coverage.”

The Latino Decisions poll adds that 17 percent of “Latino voters do not have insurance coverage,” while over 30 percent of “Latinos in general” do not have health insurance.

Latino workers and families in the U.S. are among the largest beneficiaries of federally funded health insurance.

A report released by the National Council of La Raza and Families USA released in August indicates that “Medicaid and its sister program, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), buffer millions of Latinos and other vulnerable Americans from uninsurance.” The report shows that between 2007 and 2009 almost 3.8 million Hispanics living in Florida received medical insurance under federally funded Medicaid and/or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said that Latinos are two times more likely to be uninsured than non-Hispanic whites, adding that Medicaid covers at least half of Hispanic children across the country, providing the preventative care they need. The report explains that without Medicaid the uninsured rate for Latinos would climb to 32 percent.

A report issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation (.pdf) in June 2010 states that “no major health program or issue can be considered today outside the context of the nation’s new health care reform law.”

The Kaiser report adds that under the Affordable Care Act, “access to affordable health coverage will be improved through a significant expansion of the Medicaid program, the creation of new health insurance exchanges, and reforms of the private health insurance market. The major expansion of Medicaid and health reform’s reliance on the program as the foundation for coverage of low- income people give Medicaid both a much larger and a distinctively national coverage role going forward.”

The Families USA/La Raza report adds that Latinos would be major beneficiaries of this Medicaid expansion.

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