WASHINGTON – The Congressional Tri-Caucus—comprised of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus— decried the political grandstanding of Republican leaders to pass the Patients’ Rights Repeal Act. Chairs and members of the Tri-Caucus gathered today at a press conference to highlight the disproportionate harm repeal will have on racial and ethnic minorities across the country.
“All Americans in the United States have unequivocally benefited from the Affordable Care Act,” said Representative Charles Gonzalez, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “But it stands to have a greater impact on the communities with the greatest need, and the communities represented by the Tri-Caucus are often the most vulnerable. In particular, Latinos are among the most uninsured in this country and 16 million stand to gain access to quality, affordable healthcare because of the health reform bill. Latinos are also more prone to have certain conditions that are easily managed by the preventive care that health care reform affords them. And lastly, over half of Latinos that had never seen a primary care physician, will be able to see a doctor regularly due to health care reform. All Americans will benefit from the Affordable Care Act. But minority communities, those represented by the Tri-Caucus, stand to lose the most should it be repealed.”
“Health reform provides all Americans with more freedom and control in their health care choices,” said Representative Emanuel Cleaver II, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “The Affordable Care Act was a monumental accomplishment for our country and the African American community. While others attempt to defund, we will defend. Eight million African Americans are currently uninsured or under-insured. Of those with coverage, half receive health insurance through an employer sponsored plan, while the other half rely on expensive self-pay programs. The Affordable Care Act provides $11 billion in new funding for community health centers where a quarter of the patients are black and expands Medicaid to cover an additional 4 million African Americans. Health reform is not optional for African Americans – it is necessary. Bottom line? We need health care reform – not repeal.”
“We must protect the American people from the Republican “don’t care” agenda, said Rep Honda, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “Their agenda for America is simple: They don’t care about those who lose their jobs. Don’t care about those with pre-existing conditions. Don’t care about seniors in the donut hole. Don’t care about young adults. Don’t care about those who get sick and whose insurer drops their coverage. Don’t care about those whose insurer hikes their premiums higher than they can afford. Don’t care about community health centers. Don’t care about closing the disparity gap in America’s health care delivery system. I urge my colleagues to vote against this repeal that would take away the progress that we are making. I urge my colleagues to stop protecting insurance companies, and finally take a step toward protecting the American people.”
“For far too long the health challenges of the Asian American community have gone unnoticed and the lethal affects of this ignorance have been felt in our community,” said Representative Judy Chu, incoming Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “It is clear that the Patients’ Rights Repeal Act will disproportionally affect Asian Americans who won’t have access to the healthcare they need. Unfortunately, it will also hurt the millions of Asian-owned small business across the country, by raising taxes on those businesses that are doing the right thing by offering health insurance to their employees.”
The Republican Patients’ Rights Repeal Act will disproportionally affect Latinos who have the highest uninsured rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States are less likely to be able to afford insurance. It will hurt African Americans, the majority of whom are not covered by an employer sponsored health insurance plan. And it will greatly affect Asian Americans who face disproportionate rates of deadly diseases like cervical cancer, breast cancer mortality and Hepatitis B and won’t be able to get the care needed to survive these illnesses.
The Tri-Caucus is committed to healthcare reform that expands coverage to all Americans while also reducing the serious health disparities that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities.