Latino Congressmen Take a Gamble with Health Care Reform

March 17th, 2010 · 11 Comments

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:

Now take a look at what Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) wrote in the Huffington Post today. This part really caught my attention:

“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.

Tags: Abortion rights · health care · Immigration · Rep. Henry Cuellar · Rep. Luis Gutierrez

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 HispanicPundit // Mar 17, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    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.

    Its stuff like this that leads me to assume that you don’t read any conservative blogs. You should. Reading those who disagree with you is a sure way to refine your thoughts and arguments for positions you hold. I highly recommend it.

    First on your list should be Megan McArdle, who gave a different view on medicare polling when it was being passed through congress than Ezra Klein does.

    But if you never read those who disagree with you, you would have never noticed.

  • 2 Anna // Mar 17, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    You don’t have to read conservative blogs to find peopel who disagree with the health insurance bill. Any liberal blog will do.

    The reality is that this bill will mandate that you purchase private health insurance, and if you don’t, you will be fined by the IRS. There is nothing stopping health insurance companies from raising their prices, especially before the bill goes into effect. Furthermore, Obama worked against single payer and the public option. This just creates more customers for the health insurance companies and transfers money from Medicare to subsidize the people who can’t afford to buy insurance. And illegal immigrants will not be allowed to buy coverage. CA will still have millions of people who are uninsured.

    The Dems just want to pass anything at this point so that they can claim victory.

  • 3 Anna // Mar 18, 2010 at 10:41 am

    NCLR opposses the bill.

  • 4 Chicano future tense // Mar 18, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Obama had the measure of the HC.
    ..just like taking candy from a baby..

    the big words..big threats to vote NO coming from the HC prior to the meeting went out the window like a puff of dust. they will not be respected or taken seriously for talking that talk,but not walking that walk..
    first they abandoned their stand against the public option they then abandoned their opposition position of undocumented Mexicanos immigrants not be given any decent humane coverage nor be allowed to buy coverage from the Obama program as well as penalizing people for not buying from the insurance companies.

    a few minutes of cheap “sweet talk” coming from Obama has made the HC look like a bunch of silly rank pussy cats being mauled by a jackyl.
    Immigration Reform? got to be kidding..
    if this health care passes it will kill it..
    so many americans will be mobilized due to their outrage and anger especially if that phony bogus trickery of “deem and pass” is used they will be on fire and put tremendous political pressure on DC and the politicians..

    after this health care package just mentioning immigration reform will be a one way express ticket to getting booted out office..
    anyway obama would just call them up again to his office and give them more sweet talk..
    he would shrug and say..
    …. “Sorry HC,no se puede”..

  • 5 Anna // Mar 19, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Re: a few minutes of cheap “sweet talk”

    How do you know it was sweet talk? It was probably something entirely different, as there are billions (trillions?) of dollars at stake for the corporations that control our elected leaders. In any case, this bill will probably pass. I pray to God my premiums don’t skyrocket.

  • 6 michelle Quinn // Mar 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Of course the latinos are for this rip off of the American people… Latinos have become the largest majority of welfare recipients ever!

    Latinos should be ashamed of themselves.. America is not your ATM.

    Join the rest of us immigrants in becoming an asset to this country not a burden!

  • 7 Anna // Mar 20, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    This bill is welfare for the health insurance industry. Get lost, moron.

  • 8 Simply Amazed // Mar 21, 2010 at 7:59 am

    i am moving to Mexico just this minute. when i arrive, i’ll be defined as “an illegal alien.” first thing i’m gonna do is enroll for free health care. next, i’m going to enroll my children in free school. let’s see how far i get with this! ;o)

    we need health care reform NOW! immigration is a separate issue. how many of our community are here legally and have loved ones with pre-existing conditions?

  • 9 Anna // Mar 21, 2010 at 9:48 am

    re: “first thing i’m gonna do is enroll for free health care.”

    Illegal immigrants don’t get “free health care.” ANYBODY who walks into an emergency room will get treatment because it’s unethical for them to turn a sick person away. Stop spreading propaganda.

  • 10 Cockroach People // Mar 23, 2010 at 5:02 am

    “In any case, this bill will probably pass. I pray to God my premiums don’t skyrocket.”

    Anna was right about it passing, but rest assured, without this bill your premiums were going to rise anyway (or did you think they were not?). At least with this one, there’s a fighting chance to bring costs down through minor tort reform, power to force down rates, and recognition of the real cost of health care over-consumers.

    Oh, and did I mention that the moral value far outweighs my bourgeois fear of a rate increase (yes, I have health insurance). Perhaps, the restrictions on dropping people who are covered once they get sick or the denial of coverage to children with preexisting conditions is not important to some, but it’s compelling to others.

  • 11 Cockroach People // Mar 23, 2010 at 5:15 am

    As for immigrants, there is no way in hell that any language covering immigrants was going to pass. Activists in Illinois barely got undocumented children into the fold with our state plan (All Kids) even with the liberal powerhouse that is Chicago; so anyone blaming the President for not fighting hard enough to include the indocumented hasn’t, I suspect, ever won something like this. Immigrant care was cut out even in Massachusetts where one of my organization’s sister groups fought and won a version of universal care not completely unlike the current bill. If we can’t get adults covered in Illinois or Massachusetts, do you (Chicano future tense) really think it was going to work out on the federal level? We need immigration reform, period. Don’t muddy things up by conflating the two. I think immigration reform is way more volatile then even health care was. Nothing short of civil disobedience is going to work in this climate. No amount of political lobbying is going to work. My friend just met with the President in the West Wing to ask for his support for CIR–you know what the answer was? “we need bipartisan support.” That’s code for this is going to be an impossible fight without people taking to the streeets (I don’t mean merely marching on the Capitol) and I, the President, ain’t going to be the whipping boy for it.

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