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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Health > Obama shares with bloggers the importance of passing healthcare reform — but for Latino community it’s imperative

Obama shares with bloggers the importance of passing healthcare reform — but for Latino community it’s imperative

LatinaLista — The debate over healthcare reform is getting so ugly that President Obama has resorted to using his weapon-of-last-resort — bloggers!

In a morning email, Latina Lista was notified of an afternoon blogger-only conference call with the President and his senior healthcare advisors. There was nothing new revealed on the call. The President basically delivered the same talking points we’ve heard him address since the debate began and which will probably be continually addressed until the bill is passed.
His passion for the topic was obvious on the call as was his disgust that South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint would allow himself to be quoted as saying, “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
It was reported that DeMint’s statement would be taken by the White House to “rally the troops” a.k.a. bloggers and other potential supporters of the healthcare reform bill.
Yet, long before the Obama Administration started pushing Congress to fix healthcare, most in the Latino community were already rallying for Washington to fix the system for one very simple reason — the need for healthcare coverage is too great in the Latino community to be ignored or delayed any longer.


By virtue of the fact that this issue has become a hotly contested partisan issue, it’s no surprise that every major media outlet is reporting on how Republicans are strategizing to derail what they now call “Obamacare.”
Yet, no one opposed to the reform measure is offering an alternative that people can look to and compare.
The President has given Congress an August deadline to come up with a bill for him to sign in the fall. A lot of those people in Congress are “scoffing” at such a deadline saying that it’s unreasonable to think they can do anything by then and some claiming to shelve it for next year until they have more time.
But the people who are willing to have Congress wait to work on the bill are people who already have insurance and whose premiums are easily affordable to them.
An August deadline for Congress is a fitting deadline since it will be only a few weeks that thousands of families will be enrolling their children into school who will need physicals and vaccinations.
For a lot of Latino families, even paying a co-payment for a school physical can be a hardship when school supplies, clothes and school fees are factored in the back-to-school bill.
Yet, this healthcare bill isn’t just for those people who are uninsured. It’s for all those who are working but still can’t afford the high premiums due to pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes or obesity in some members of the family or their earnings push them over the edge to be classified as the “working poor.”
For these people, every day is lived in fear that something can happen to them that will put them at the doctor’s office with a bill that will either mean the mortgage or rent doesn’t get paid that month or there will be a cutback on groceries.
It is pure insensitive arrogance displayed by these people who don’t support Obama’s push for healthcare reform and offer no viable alternative to tell those hurting the most to stop their whining.
To those of us outside the Beltway, the loudest whining is coming from Washington. All those who need to see healthcare reformed are the ones who are silent, like they’ve always been — they’re too busy praying that they or no one in their families get hurt.
Some highlighted facts from the National Coalition on Health Care:

Nearly 46 million Americans, or 18 percent of the population under the age of 65, were without health insurance in 2007, the latest government data available.
The percentage and the number of uninsured Hispanics increased to 32.1 percent and 15 million in 2007.
Nearly 40 percent of the uninsured population reside in households that earn $50,000 or more.1 A growing number of middle-income families cannot afford health insurance payments even when coverage is offered by their employers.
Regardless of age, race, ethnicity, income or health status, uninsured children were much less likely to have received a well-child checkup within the past year. One study shows that nearly 50 percent of uninsured children did not receive a checkup in 2003, almost twice the rate (26 percent) for insured children.
A study found that 29 percent of people who had health insurance were “underinsured” with coverage so meager they often postponed medical care because of costs.15 Nearly 50 percent overall, and 43 percent of people with health coverage, said they were “somewhat” to “completely” unprepared to cope with a costly medical emergency over the coming year.

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Comment(15)

  • Avatar
    Kenny
    July 20, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Obama’s health care reform is DoA due to excessive cost.
    “It is pure insensitive arrogance displayed by these people who don’t support Obama’s push for healthcare reform and offer no viable alternative to tell those hurting the most to stop their whining.”
    Gee, it could be that the government audit agencies indicate that his plan would bankrupt the country and tax small businesses to the point they could no longer afford to employ Hispanics, or anyone else for that matter. It has to be those cruel Republicans again, because all our congress has to do is wave a magic wand and make it so. Your article pathetically lacks the fiscal analysis that must come with any such proposals. That may be a bit complex for you, so don’t bother.

  • Avatar
    Traci
    July 21, 2009 at 5:37 am

    “The percentage and the number of uninsured Hispanics increased to 32.1 percent and 15 million in 2007.”
    Does this increase correspond to the number of Mexican nationals who’ve crossed the border illegally? If so, then they shouldn’t be entitled to partake in the system. The proposals to date call for a large transfer of our national wealth to pay for those who are unable to do so. Why should my tax money go to paying for people who by legal definition are not entitled to be here?

  • Avatar
    Marisa Treviño
    July 21, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Since there are only 12 million people reported to be living illegally in this country, and not all Hispanic, and the fact that these people do not use the system as you are alluding to — since they fear being discovered by the government — the answer to your question is that the vast majority of these 15 million, if not all of them, are legal residents and entitled to healthcare coverage.

  • Avatar
    Marisa Treviño
    July 21, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Kenny, I think you’ll be surprised. For as much “whining” people in your camp seem to be doing about this bill, the reality is that we have reached a point in our country where it’s becoming much more expensive to do nothing than to let things remain as they are — but that may be too complex for you to understand.

  • Avatar
    Alessandra
    July 21, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Healthcare reform is really complicated IMO.
    On one hand, I do believe that our system does need reform. Costs need to be brought under control. Not too long ago, my parents received a bill for $700 for a leg brace for my youngest brother injured in a sport accident. The brace was basically a piece of cloth with velcro! As their insurance doesn’t cover it, they are on the hook for $700. Now it’s not that they object to paying their bill; it’s why is this item so expensive?
    Also, I have a lot of sympathy for people who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but cannot afford to buy private insurance and do not have coverage through their employers. One serious illness wipes these people out.
    Then many of our companies (like car companies) have to compete with companies in other countries who have government healthcare. Those foreign companies don’t have the expense of paying their employees’ health care costs and this puts our companies at a disadvantage.
    OTOH, our nation is flat out broke. I am very concerned about the deficit and national debt. China and Saudi Arabia have been lending us money. China and the Saudis?? Am I the only one who is totally alarmed by this? Add to this cap and trade (when the biggest polluters in the world–China, India for two–are doing nothing because they want to continue to go great guns on their economies). I just cannot see how we can do this.
    So right now I believe that while we do need to bring health care costs under control, and we need some kind of health care reform, the kind that President Obama is proposing is just not possible at this time. I really feel, based upon the information I’ve gathered, that it will completely bankrupt the nation. I might think differently if our financial situation wasn’t so disastrous.

  • Avatar
    Thomas
    July 21, 2009 at 11:38 am

    “Since there are only 12 million people reported to be living illegally in this country, and not all Hispanic, and the fact that these people do not use the system as you are alluding to……”
    But Marisa, I believe it is Latino groups and the Hispanic caucus that are lobbying to include illegal aliens. Latin American illegal alien poor are far more likely to be unable to pay into such a system, so the taxpayers are undoubtedly going to take it on the chin should an amnesty arise.

  • Avatar
    Karen
    July 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    RE: “The proposals to date call for a large transfer of our national wealth to pay for those who are unable to do so.”
    The transfer of wealth is going to Goldman Sachs who will sell the bonds to pay for the states that cannot afford federal health care mandates. That’s what this is really about. Putting every single state in debt to Goldman Sachs. They don’t care about our health and they certainly don’t care about Latinos.
    Whether or not this passes, private insurance rates are about to sky rocket and many of the people who have heath care now won’t have it in a few years.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    July 21, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    David Brooks of the NY Times says it best in his article “Suicide March”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/21/opinion/21brooks.html?_r=1&ref=opinion
    Read it and weep:
    “Finally, there is health care. Every cliché Ann Coulter throws at the Democrats is gloriously fulfilled by the Democratic health care bills. The bills do almost nothing to control health care inflation. They are modeled on the Massachusetts health reform law that is currently coming apart at the seams precisely because it doesn’t control costs. They do little to reward efficient providers and reform inefficient ones.”
    The Democrats tendency to overreach is their bane. At this rate, the Republicans will be in the White House and a majority in congress after a one term Obama presidency.

  • Avatar
    cookie
    July 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I must say I do not know the costs of Obama’s healthcare reform bill or if it will resemble anything like Canada’s national health insurance but I hear nothing but horror stories about national healthcare insurance in general. It was reported on the news today that a Canadian can wait 10 weeks for an MRI.
    I would like to know more of the details of the costs and care that will be in Obama’s bill.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    July 21, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    “………it’s becoming much more expensive to do nothing than to let things remain as they are — but that may be too complex for you to understand.”
    The government track record for managing social programs is dismal. I find it disconcerting that the president, although knowing very little about this bill, is demanding its immediate passage. This is obviously a case of pass it now and fix it later, unintended consequences be damned. We’ve seen this muddled approach before and the results haven’t been pretty.
    The democrats think that it’s wise for the government to have their plan compete with private providers, thinking that somehow this will reduce costs. Private providers have to earn a profit, while the government doesn’t. How could private providers ever compete on such an uneven playing field? Unfortunately logic states that most employers will eliminate coverage for their employees and put the burden on the government, and any pretense of competition will end.
    Marisa, you fall into the category of ignorant liberals who care little for the inconvenient facts on Obamacare. Too bad for you that there are actually people thinking about the costs and risks associated with a trillion dollar health care program that could easily bankrupt the country.

  • Avatar
    Jose
    July 22, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Marisa,
    Why don’t you do something really insightful for a change, and actually look at both sides of this issue, checking the facts and then provide commentary. This, “the Republicans are bad” and “Obama and the Dems” are right”, is so blindly partisan, and frankly, not helpful to Latinos.

  • Avatar
    laura
    July 22, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Why have you heard nothing but horror stories about national health care systems? Could it be that Wall Street is reaping billions from the for-profit healthcare system in this country, and that they don’t want the corporate media to report anything good about the alternatives other countries enjoy?
    I spent decades of my life in a country with a public health care system. The waits to see a primary care physician or a specialist are a small fraction of the three, four, five, six month waits we endure here. If we can afford to see a doctor at all.
    If I tell people in European countries that there are people in the United States who can’t afford to see a doctor, they simply don’t believe me. That is how inconceivable the system here is to people in other countries who do not worry, do not even think about personal expenses when they think about getting sick, suffering an accident, or having a baby.
    As for the deficit: Firstly, let’s remember that the people who now claim sleepless nights over the deficit said nothing when President Bush turned a several hundred billion dollar federal surplus into a 1.5 trillion dollar federal deficit. He did this with tax cuts for the richest Americans, and with the most corrupt United States public venture ever: the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. The graft, corruption and war profiteering he and his friends engaged in are so mind-boggling that it will take decades for the American public to grasp what happened. That is why President Obama started his term with the largest federal deficit ever.
    Secondly, the proposed health care reform plans may truly increase this already enormous deficit. That is because none of them aim to deal with the crazy profits that the pharmaceutical companies and the for-profit insurance companies make off sick people. All these plans out of various Congressional committees, with their subsidies for lower-earning Americans to buy health insurance from the for-profit insurance companies, are again giving taxpayer money to the insurance executives to post juicy profits and buy another yacht. Why do these proposals, written by Democrats, let the for-profit insurance companies set the prices? Because they give big campaign donations. Look at Senator Baucus, so-called Democrat from Montana. He got almost a million dollars in campaign donations from the medical “industry.”
    The only way to insure everyone and avoid ever-larger deficits is a public plan that negotiates prices with drug companies and for-profit hospitals and device makers, and that saves on the administrative costs and profit-skimming which make the for-profit insurance companies so expensive. The best way for this is a single payer system.
    I would like to ask the posters to this site who argue against a plan administered by the federal government, to sign a pledge that they will forgo Medicare. Medicare is a plan administered by the federal government. If the people who so much prefer private, for-profit insurance just buy their own private insurance when they are 65, that will save Medicare money for the rest of us.
    Latina/os need a strong public insurance system, preferably a single payer system, as much and more as all other Americans. Preventive care, which maintains health and keeps costs down in the future, is not available to uninsured people. This issue is about our bodies and literally about our lives.

  • Avatar
    Marisa Treviño
    July 23, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Jose, that is exactly what I have done and I agree more with Obama’s agenda than the Republicans. It’s true that “Obamacare” has flaws but those are flaws that can be worked out. I personally know several families of all ethnicities who can’t afford health insurance and they work. At this point, I agree with the White House that if a deadline is not imposed there is no incentive for Congress to work on this because none of them have to experience this kind of hardship. From your response, I’m making a big assumption here that neither do you.

  • Avatar
    Jose
    July 23, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    “At this point, I agree with the White House that if a deadline is not imposed there is no incentive for Congress to work on this because none of them have to experience this kind of hardship.”
    The problem that I have with Obama’s deadline is that it is arbitrary, without much thought as to the risk of a bad outcome if sufficient time is not taken to develop a bill that will not destroy our country with its unintended consequences. I, and most of my friend do not believe that a good bill could ever be crafted in the time frame the Democrats want to. And Obama still wants to go ahead with a bill that the CBO says will cost $1.6 trillion, and that doesn’t include doctor’s fees. That number is outrageous and tragic if true and the current proposals are enacted. Frankly, I do not trust anyone who wouldn’t write a bill and not read it before voting on or signing it. We pay congress to write legislation, debate it publicly and understand what they are voting on and if the do otherwise they are acting irresponsibly. I take that back, they are governing irrationally. At this stage, the opposition blue dogs and Republicans look like the saner group.
    The Democrats and Obama campaigned on the premise that they would govern differently than the Republicans, but it actually appears that they are doing worse.

  • Avatar
    Jose
    July 28, 2009 at 7:35 am

    “…..true that “Obamacare” has flaws but those are flaws that can be worked out.”
    It seems to me that working out the flaws before passage of legislation is far more logical than passing a fatally flawed bill that will saddle us and ever increasing debt, ever increasing taxes. Furthermore, why isn’t this bill open to debate, where everyone can see what’s in it? It seems awfully fishy to me when democracy doesn’t work as intended by the Founding Fathers. Why is it so rushed? We’ve waited more than a decade since the last effort by HC so why can’t we wait to pass a well considered bill without having to worry so much about unintended consequences that may be wasteful and tragic? Obama has no real idea about the bill’s details, yet he would sign a democrat bill tomorrow without reading it. I find this upsetting. Why should we trust the democrats to do the job right? Have they done so well in the past that they should not be scrutinized? Lastly, why do so-called journalists not expose the details on this bill? Today’s journalists are lazy and don’t seem to have the intellectual will or inclination to dissect this bill and expose its shortcomings. All we get is uncritical superficiality from the press. Is it because they can harvest more sensational news if the outcome of this bill is a disaster?

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