Sick and Tired of Nasty Politics What kind of country have we become that we stand by idly while Congress makes it increasingly more difficult for working families to afford health care? We cannot tolerate more bad policymaking on the backs of Latino families. Current legislative proposals in the Senate Finance Committee include measures that prevent legal residents from accessing affordable coverage, add excessive verification systems for acquiring health care, and keep Americans from getting the care they need. Hispanics already lag behind in having health insurance. One in three Hispanics does not have insurance, compared with one in ten Whites. The reason? Latinos are less likely to have jobs where health coverage is offered, and language and cultural barriers decrease their access to quality doctors, the same ones who could help them prevent serious and chronic conditions that cost much more to treat, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. As the [Executive Director/title] of [organization], an organization that […], I am disappointed in the way immigrants are being treated in health care reform because Congress is giving in to the lies of antiimmigrant opponents. We need improved access to health care for families and workers, not excessive verification or restrictions that only place more red tape and bureaucracy between patients and their doctors. [Insert a personal story with a local perspective, an example of a patient from your community health clinic, a family member/friend who needs health care, etc] Adding excessive verification into health care reform is one solution that is even worse than the problem. By advancing these measures, members of Congress knowingly put U.S. citizens and legal residents’ ability to access health care at risk while jacking up costs for individuals and states. Numerous studies have shown that verification keeps people from getting the health care they need, while showing no evidence of fraud or abuse in the system. This legislation also turns its back on the millions of U.S. citizen children born into families with mixed immigration status. It is inexcusable that these American children are not being given the equal opportunity to have health insurance and lead healthy, productive lives. In addition, this irresponsible policy keeps undocumented immigrants from using their own money to pay full price for private health coverage in the new Exchange. This fundamentally undermines the success of health coverage, isolating a community to the point where our public health is threatened. Statistics show that this population tends to be healthier than their native born counterparts, so including them in our system would increase the base of payers for insurers and lower health care costs for everyone in the long run.
Why would we deny someone the possibility of coverage if they are willing to pay full price? Simply put, it’s not about the policy—it’s about the politics. We need more people paying into the system to make reform work for everyone. Imagine a system where these families paid their fair share into health coverage, had access to preventive care instead of costly emergency room care, and where all our children—who go to the same schools and nurseries—had a chance to grow up healthy and safe. That is health care reform that could truly work for Latinos and all of us.