President Obama’s health care reform speech is encouraging, says NCLR

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Washington, DC—President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan included important provisions that would work for all Americans, especially the Latino community, the most uninsured population in the nation. NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, has long pushed for reform that would fix our broken health care system and urges Congress to move swiftly on the president’s plan.

“The Latino community has suffered disproportionately at the hands of the broken health care system,” said Eric Rodriguez, NCLR Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation. “Reform would mean that American families would no longer have to choose between putting food on the table and accessing important medical care that could treat a childhood disease, manage a chronic condition, or prevent a dangerous illness.”

The president’s goals address many of the barriers that prevent Latinos, including those who have insurance, from accessing affordable, quality health care:

· The plan would eliminate extra charges for preventive care. Many Latino families forego receiving preventive care because they do not have insurance and cannot afford to pay the out-of-pocket costs. Prevention is cheaper than costly medical treatment and can mean the difference between successfully managing a diagnosis and the development of a life-threatening condition.

· The plan would also put an end to discrimination against people with preexisting conditions. It will be illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage for health reasons that they may deem too risky to manage.

· Out-of-pocket expenses will be capped, prohibiting insurance companies from limiting benefits and preventing sick Americans from going broke.

· The plan’s incentives for medical providers to improve health care delivery are designed to keep hospitals and physicians accountable for providing quality care to patients.

· The “insurance exchange,” the plan’s proposed insurance marketplace, would allow Americans to compare plans and buy insurance at competitive prices while also giving people the option of keeping preexisting insurance plans. The Exchange would give uninsured Americans—largely represented by Latinos—options for buying affordable health coverage.