NLIRH: The Affordable Care Act Improves Latina Health

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Anniversary marks continued effort to roll back crucial healthcare gains

“We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to quality, affordable healthcare, including contraception," says Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH.

Today, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) celebrates the second anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which dramatically increased healthcare coverage and access to preventive care in this country. For Latinas, who are more likely than other groups to struggle with access to health insurance, the ACA has meant the potential to lead healthier, happier lives.

The Affordable Care Act already expands health coverage for children and young people. The ACA both eliminates coverage discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions and requires insurance companies to cover dependents until age 26. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 736,000 Latino/as have already benefited from the expansion for dependents.

In addition, the ACA expands access to life-saving cervical cancer screenings and other preventive health services. In the near future, more provisions of the ACA will go into effect, increasing support for community health centers, expanding Medicaid coverage, and making sure that every woman can plan the timing and spacing of her family without expensive co-pays.

“We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to quality, affordable healthcare, including contraception. The passage of the Affordable Care Act brings millions of Latinas closer to that vision and ensures that they can make the healthiest decisions for themselves and their families,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute. “For Latinas, who already face a disproportionate number of barriers to care, the ACA expands access to absolutely critical services, like life-saving screenings for cancer and domestic violence, and expands support for pregnant women and new mothers.”

These gains are undeniably an exciting step in the right direction for Latina health, but much work remains. The health safety net for all immigrants leaves far too many without access to lifesaving health care, and opponents of expanded access care continue to launch attacks on these gains, particularly on the absolutely necessary advancement of birth control without co-pays.

We know that protecting these gains is crucial for the health of Latinas, and we’re working tirelessly to ensure they stay intact.

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national organization working on behalf of the reproductive health and justice of the 20 million Latinas, their families and communities in the United States through public education, community mobilization and policy advocacy.

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Erin White

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