Earlier today, I read about Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar and his indecision to support the health care reform bill. Representative Cuellar (D-Texas) is concerned about tort reform and the Stupak language. If you remember, the Stupak amendment in the house health care bill restricted a woman’s right to chose. Additionally, in regards to tort reform in Texas, Matt Glazer at the Burnt Orange Report, reminds us, “Tort reform happened in Texas nearly a decade ago and premiums and health care costs have still risen over 100% since the Republican’s forced through the constitutional amendment that reduced tort litigation or damages for those harmed. This shows why we need massive health care reform.”
Recent polling shows that Latinos support health care reform overwhelmingly. Moreover, health care was identified as being more important than immigration. Actually, while immigration was ranked as an important issue in our community, health care reform still beat it by a margin of 3-1. Plainly, the unregulated insurance market has not produced more competitive prices so that more of our people can buy health coverage. People in our community are more likely to be uninsured or vulnerable of losing coverage. So when Latino congressmen in districts with substantial Latino populations decide to roll the dice with this health care reform, I think that they are effectively gambling with their seats.
See what Representative Cuellar said earlier today:
“But last week, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus sat down with the president, and he asked us to vote for the health care reform bill — a bill that denies immigrants the opportunity to purchase health care with their own money. It was one more in a string of disappointments for the Hispanic community, and today, I no longer find myself able to confidently say “yes” when President Obama asks me for his support.”
Now I know that many of us are frustrated regarding immigration reform, but it’s going to be the Latinos who are citizens (born here or naturalized), the ones who will benefit from the passage of health care reform, who will be headed to the polls in November to vote. I am fine with the idea that immigrants should be able to pay into the health care system with their own money, but I think that this portion of health care could be handled in a subsequent bill down the line. The chief urgency is health care, as indicated by the polling in our communities.
Among the larger public, people are still largely divided on the health care issue. However, I do want to point out this piece about the popularity of Medicare when it passed in the 1960s. Essentially, the public was divided like it is now, but the program ended up being wildly popular.
If you live in Congressmen Cuellar’s and Gutierrez’s districts, and do support health care, I urge you to call the House of Representatives switchboard (202-224-3121), ask for the appropriate representative and kindly voice your concern. We may not have another opportunity to insure as many people in our communities who are struggling without this reform.