Congressional Hispanic Caucus Is ‘Alarmed’ At Lack Of Progress On Obamacare Latino Outreach


doctor-563428_960_720In Washington, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has demanded a conference with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to discuss the actions taken to guarantee the continued enrollment of Hispanic families in Obamacare.

Price received a letter from the caucus last week that expressed its alarm at Price’s lack of action and its concern that the group should already be working with the Latino Affordable Act Coalition. The caucus also noted that the coalition has played a vital role not only in spreading the word about the Affordable Care Act to members of the Latino community, but in helping them get enrolled and receive coverage as well.

“We have received the letter and will respond,” said Alleigh Marre, national spokesperson for HHS in an email to NBC Latino.

While members of the coalition assert that the administration would be meeting with advocacy groups and coming to a consensus regarding the open enrollment period in November, the advocacy groups state that they have yet to meet with the administration.

However, CHC chair Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., ensures that the coalition has been an essential part of making sure that millions of Hispanic families have the ability to navigate through the increasingly complicated health care system.

“The ACA remains the law of the land,” the CHC told Price in its letter. “Thanks to the ACA, four million adults and more than 600,000 Latino children have gained health coverage. Moreover we have seen a 20-point decline in the number of uninsured Latino … However, one in six Latinos remain uninsured so more work needs to be done to reach these communities.”

Still, both President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have failed after repeated attempts to repeal Obamacare, which currently covers addiction treatment. Abstinence-based, non-medical treatments for opiate addiction have a success rate of only 5% to 10%, and current statistics say substance abuse and addiction rates are “on the rise among Hispanics.” But Trump has since threatened to “implode” Obamacare by eliminating subsidies that allow for lower health care costs for low-income citizens.

Steven Lopez, associate director of the health policy project at UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza), says that many members of the Latino community have expressed confusion at repeated attempts to cut Medicaid and repeal the ACA.

Ultimately, these advocacy groups continue to fight the good fight in ensuring that members of the Latino community have access to affordable and high-quality health care.

“We’re uniquely positioned to address the needs and priorities and lift up the community,” Lopez said. “Unidos has 300 affiliate networks who have the pulse of the community and having that unique community perspective is important to have an effective outreach plan … We worked with past administrations and we are ready to work with this administration and this administration has a responsibility to successfully implement the law, not undermine it.”

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