The Trump administration recently announced that 11.8 million people, including 8.7 million in the 39 states that use healthcare.gov, signed up for health coverage during the 2018 Open Enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
And for the first time, more than 1 million people identifying as Latino enrolled in coverage among the healthcare.gov states.
Despite the efforts of the Trump administration and Republicans leaders in Congress to undermine the ACA, nearly as many Americans enrolled in coverage as last year, and the share of Latino consumers increased to 12%, up from 10% a year ago.
That so many people signed up for coverage after the administration slashed the Open Enrollment period in half and dramatically reduced funding for community navigator groups demonstrates the desire for health coverage, and the importance of the ACA. The number of Latinos who enrolled is particularly impressive given the administration’s complete lack of investment in Latino outreach and enrollment.
Our UnidosUS Affiliates like MHP Salud, Su Clínica, and AltaMed and others worked incredibly hard to get their communities enrolled. It’s what they’ve been since the first open enrollment period started in 2013. And it’s important to remember their stories as we celebrate these high enrollment numbers while we gear up for the work ahead.
The ACA has not only changed the lives of individuals. It has transformed entire communities.
MHP Salud, for example, is located 10 minutes from the border with Mexico in Weslaco, Texas. Before the ACA, American families would have to travel across the border to Mexico in order to get affordable care.
This put their lives at risk due to the safety issues in the area, recalls Norberto Gonzalez, Program Director at the UnidosUS Affiliate. But this is no longer the reality since the ACA took effect in 2014.
“Health insurance coverage is a need, not a luxury,” Gonzalez says. “The ACA has proven to be very successful in facilitating access to health care, and improving the lives of many in the community.”
The administration and Congress should take note: millions of Americans count on the ACA every year for access to quality, affordable health coverage and care. Rather than continue to sabotage the law, the Trump administration and Congress should work on bipartisan solutions that provide more Americans with the opportunity and ability to get covered.
This report is also a great reminder that even in a difficult political environment we have the power to use our collective voice to improve the health and well-being of our communities. Whether we exercise this power by going to a town hall meeting, attending a rally, or by showing up to vote, it is important that we remain civically engaged.
Last year, we came together to protect the ACA from being repealed, and then we signed up for ACA coverage in record numbers. However, we know that a lot more must be done if we are to reduce the health inequities impacting our community.
We must continue to show up and make sure that the people we elect to represent us share the value that every American has the right to quality health coverage and care.