Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more than four million Latinos and an estimated 20 million Americans have gained health coverage. However, since coming into office, the Trump administration has engaged in a variety of efforts to undermine the law.
Now new findings from the latest Commonwealth Fund’s Tracking Survey provide additional evidence that these actions have contributed to many Americans losing coverage. This has led to a reversal of our community’s hard-fought victories in getting more people covered.
Overall, the survey shows that 15.5% of nonelderly adults (ages 19-64) are uninsured, up from 12.7% during the same period in 2016, the last year President Obama held office.
To put in perspective: that is the equivalent of four million adults who have lost coverage in the last two years.
Nonelderly Latino adults account for much of this coverage loss. The survey states that 32% of nonelderly Latino adults are now uninsured, up from 29% in 2016.
Latinos continue to make up a disproportionate share of the number of adults without health insurance. We had seen a decrease in this number of uninsured adults thanks to the ACA.
But now health coverage disparities between Latinos and Whites have increased for the first time in at least four years.
As this year’s Open Enrollment figures show, our community continues to value, and enroll, in health coverage through the ACA. So the problem is not that people suddenly do not want health coverage.
What this survey demonstrates, however, is that public policy and political rhetoric can have a profound impact on people’s lives and their ability to get the health care they need.
That this survey came out this week is particularly meaningful. Exactly one year ago today, House Republicans passed legislation that would have repealed the ACA and made drastic cuts to Medicaid.
While that effort failed, other measures threaten to further erode our community’s health coverage gains.
We must continue to use the power of our collective voice to defend our health care gains, and advance efforts to improve our community’s access to quality, affordable health coverage and care.
BUILDING A CULTURE OF HEALTH