Mar 19

House Hispanics Pledge Support for Senate Health Bill

Hispanics in the House of Representatives today announced their full support of the Senate Health bill, removing a potential barrier to the bill’s passage, and reversing their earlier stance. But the nation’s largest Hispanic advocacy organization — the National Council of La Raza — maintains its opposition. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus had earlier voiced its opposition to the Senate’s version of the bill, mostly on the basis that it would bar illegal immigrants from purchasing — with their own money — health insurance on the exchanges established by the legislation. As late as March 12, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., pledged to vote no on the Senate version. “If we bar the immigrant community from buying private insurance with their own money, we relegate them to emergency room care at the highest cost to taxpayers and deny them the important opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to a healthier America,” he said in a statement. But today, the Caucus pledged unanimous support. Gutierrez said he’d received assurances from President Obama that immigration reform will soon be addressed. And Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said the Senate bill would insure 8.8 million — or about half –of the nation’s uninsured Hispanics. Because of this, she said it outweighs the concerns about illegal immigrants, the Washington Post reports. Meanwhile, NCLR said the Senate bill does not ensure access to coverage for “vulnerable, eligible families and children.” “[NCLR] believes in supporting efforts that address the concerns; the House bill did this, the Senate bill did not,” Jennifer Ng’andu, Deputy Director of the Health Policy Project, told the Huffington Post. “We supported the House bill. It contained rigorous safeguards that would extend access to health care to all U.S. residents while preventing unauthorized workers from receiving taxpayer-funded subsidies.”

Leave a Reply