Health Insurance Reform and Hispanics

Why do we need health insurance reform?

(Para leer la versión española de este artículo ir a Noticias Relacionadas).

The U.S. health care system is sick. American middle class has to suffer the brunt of increasingly higher insurance premiums in exchange for bad service and worsening coverage. The administration of the U.S. health care system costs six times more per capita in the U.S. than in other developed countries. [McKinsey Global Institute]

However, we are less healthy than people in other developed countries. Despite these mediocre health results, the cost of healthcare is a determining factor toward the growth of our national debt.

·Since 1999, employer-offered healthcare premiums have increased 120% compared to salary growth (29%) during the same time period. [Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation]

·In 2006, family health insurance offered by an employer cost $11,381. Today, the same insurance costs $13,150. In 10 years, it will cost $22,440. [Center for American Progress]

·With the status quo, the federal government pays more and more for programs such as Medicare and unemployment insurance [FY 2010]:

$568 billion (2004)

$751billion (2008)

$1.169 trillion (2014 estimated projection)

Meanwhile:

·Over the last seven years, the 10 largest health insurance companies increased net gains 428% from $2.4 billion in 2000 to $12.9 billion in 2007. Additionally, these companies’ CEOs had a combined salary of $118.6 million in 2007, an average of $11.9 million each. [HCAN]

·There are about 45 million people in the country without healthcare. [Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation]

·Life expectancy in the U.S. is 77 years; in Japan 82.1 years; and 81.3 in Switzerland, despite increased healthcare spending. [OECD]

How does health insurance reform affect Latinos?

·Of the 45 million uninsured in the country, almost 16 million are Hispanic. [Census Bureau]

·In 2007, 63% of legal immigrants between 18 and 64 who have been in the country less than five years were uninsured. [Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation]

·26.9% of Hispanic women qualify their health as regular or bad, compared with 12.8% of all women. [Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation]

·The lack of health care options forces many to self-medicate or to seek treatment with unlicensed practitioners. Many times, these unsafe alternatives result in tragedy. [KVBC NBC, Las Vegas]

Does it hurt our bottom lines?

·There are 2.5 million U.S. Hispanic-owned businesses. Of these, the majority are classified as small and family-owned businesses. [U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce]

·The current healthcare system discriminates against small businesses because they pay an average of 18 % more than larger companies for the same health insurance policy. [Council of Economic Advisers]

·Because of this “hidden tax” many insurance companies charge, small business are forced to offer low-quality health insurance, if at all. [Council of Economic Advisers]

·52% of Hispanic business owners couldn’t offer their employees health insurance. [U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce]

·In 1993, 61% of small businesses offered health insurance. Currently, only 38% of these companies still do. [Senate Commerce Committee Testimony]

·Small businesses can’t compete for quality employees because healthcare benefits are an important factor for workers when applying for a job. [Council of Economic Advisers]

Isn’t health insurance reform too expensive?

·The cost of inaction is much higher. In 2008, the U.S. spent 17% of its GDP on healthcare spending. It is estimated spending will increase to 20% in 2017. [Keehan, S. et al. “Health Spending Projections Through 2017”]

·Many large companies have gone bankrupt in large part due to the high costs of employee healthcare premiums. [TIME Magazine]

·A reform which brings down costs 1.5% per year represents an additional $2,600 for a family of four in 2020 and $10,000 in 2030. [Council of Economic Advisers]

Is reform an attempt at socialism?

·No, quite the contrary. Democrats want to create more competition among health insurance companies, which will reduce costs and improve services for all. Competition is healthy and a basic tenet of capitalism.

·Cutting costs—as Democrats are working to do—is one of the main tools any company uses to be successful and remain viable.

·Democrats want to give consumers MORE healthcare options. However, if you like your current health plan, doctor or hospital, you can keep it.




Senate Democratic Communications Center

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