Latino families raise their voices to protect access to health care
By Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
As we await for the Supreme Court ruling on the health care reform, Latino families across the nation raise their voices to protect access to health care. In fact, according to the Herndon Alliance/Protect Your Care, over 85% of informed Latinos oppose repealing the health care reform — more than three times among voters in general.
For MomsRising.org, an online and on-the-ground family-oriented advocacy group of more than one million members, we are not surprised by the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stating that 3.1 million young adults have gained health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. We know that since the implementation of the health care reform, the quality of life of American families has drastically improved as noted by MomsRising Latino members who share their personal stories.
Take the case of Tracy and Carlos Muñoz from Norfolk, Virginia, a couple who has been able to keep their two adult children covered under their employer plan due to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. For their oldest son, having health coverage means he can stay in graduate school and secure his professional future rather than having to leave school and find a job that provides health care coverage.
Striking down the law would roll back gains for millions of Americans, including those who can now remain on a parent’s health care plan until age 26, as shown in the case of the Muñoz family.
The law also prevents insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 in 2 Americans, including Latinos, have some type of pre-existing health condition.
Eliana Tardío, a MomsRising member from South Florida and mom blogger, gives testimony on this aspect. Eliana has two children with Down syndrome, Emin and Ayelen. For her, the health care reform means that her children cannot be dropped by a health care provider due to their pre-existing condition. “Having the assurance that by law my children will always have access to health care is an amazing feeling that’s very hard to put into words,” explained Eliana Tardío. “As moms, we want to see our children well; knowing that their pre-existing condition is no longer an obstacle to obtain care is a victory in the fight to keeping families healthy and strong.”
For Laura Tellado, a passionate Puertorican writer and health blogger, access to health care is a matter of life and death. This Central Florida resident has since 2009 challenged the public in her blog, “Holdin’ Out for a Hero,” where she chronicles her experience as an individual with Spina Bifida – the number one cause of paralysis in children. “The health care reform means the protection of our human right of having access to health care, and live,” explained Laura Tellado. “Throughout my life, I have relied on healthcare access in order to keep living with my pre-condition. Striking down the health care reform would be a moral crime against those of us who have so limited options.”
We also have the stories of those families who have filed for bankruptcy due to the high cost of health care. Meet Elisanta “Lisa” Batista from Derry, New Hampshire. Her youngest daughter, Nelsy, was born premature. Then, Lisa’s husband lost his job and their health care insurance. “The medical bills for Nelsy kept piling up and at times we couldn’t even pay for the phone bill; eventually, we were forced to file for bankruptcy,” explained Lisa Batista. “I support the health care reform because it expands coverage to millions of families so they can make ends meet at home while having health care access. This reform is a vital necessity for families.”
Striking down the health care reform would be detrimental to our working families. The Affordable Care Act will protect some of our most vulnerable citizens, including children and seniors. Its benefits are already being felt by millions of American families. The Supreme Court, under its constitutional authority granted to Congress, should uphold the law.
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is the Executive Director/CEO of MomsRising.org