Statement on the House Passage of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act”

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act” (H.R. 1425) on a nearly party-line vote. If it were to become law, the bill would lower health care costs and prescription drug prices; protect consumers living with pre-existing conditions; strengthen Medicaid and CHIP; and invest in outreach, education and enrollment. Even so, key provisions to further expand health coverage to Latinos, including the removal of the five-year waiting period to access Medicaid and CHIP for lawfully present individuals, were not included.

The following is a statement from Steven T. Lopez, Director of Health Policy for UnidosUS:

“UnidosUS has long championed policies that give more Americans, including Latinos, the opportunity to have quality, affordable and accessible health coverage and care. The passage of this bill to increase access to affordable health coverage to all Americans, including Latinos, is an important step in protecting and strengthening our health, especially during a public health crisis. Today’s vote stands in sharp contrast to the Trump administration’s harmful efforts—in the middle of a global health and economic crisis, no less—to abolish the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a lawsuit currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. If successful, the lawsuit would cause more than 20 million Americans, including an estimated 5.4 million Latinos, to lose their health insurance; eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions and reverse the law’s historic coverage gains made by millions of Latinos.

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“We thank the House of Representatives for passing this bill aimed at improving the ACA and strengthening Medicaid/CHIP—especially when COVID-19 infections are surging in many states and among Latinos, who have the highest uninsured rate (19 percent) of any major racial or ethnic group. Gaps in coverage have monumental public health implications for everyone. That is why UnidosUS calls on the Senate to immediately take up this bill and work to improve it so that all who need access to affordable health coverage and care can receive it. We will prevail against COVID-19 when everyone has affordable health coverage and is able to access Covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccines, regardless of immigration status.”