Informing the Latino Community Online on Issues Impacting Your Life

July 27, 2009

What's up with Healthcare Reform in Our Country?

This is a Latino perspective of what is happening with the healthcare reform debate that is now in Congress. I do not have an ideological stance on the matter, but much of the debate is centered on who is better at providing medical services, the private sector or the government? But the issue is not as simple as the proposition I have just outlined, is much more complex. In fact, the way it should be paid for (If they include the public health option) is one of the main points of disagreement. However, I believe like most of society has been told by the Congressional Budget Office(CBO), the system today is not sustainable in the long run and will consume much of the national budget if left alone.

Among the factors at play on how to reform the health system in America, is the ideological difference whether the government should or should not compete against the private sector in providing an alternative public health option to the population. Especially when dealing with an industry as lucrative as this to cover more than 45 million Americans who are uninsured today. And the worst thing is that Americans of low income and racial and ethnic minorities have disproportionately higher rates of disease, lower treatment options and reduced access to medical care. One hopes we are all well aware of this.

So I guess you have already seen that there are different streams that are already positioned to support or fight the reform under discussion. Many would say that this bill is the most important legislative ambition of the last 15 years after failing in the 90s under the administration of President Clinton. At that time many said that the project lost strength due to lack of political agreement between the White House and Republicans whom retook power in both chambers after having lost it in the ‘92 presidential elections, but now that reality is inapplicable because the Democrats as we all know are in the majority in both chambers. This means that the same question arises again:why can’t Congress easily pass this reform if there is no political opposition to block it? The answer is that there is; the negative public opinion on the issue they are building. Corporate interests are working hard to build a negative perception on the public by saying the reform is inefficient, bureaucratic and dangerously too costly to society. Of course, it is dangerous, but for the interests of insurance companies who do not want to give in to sharing the healthcare market with the public option (The government option). Because to be honest, public health in the eyes of many company executives is simply just another lucrative market at the end of the day. They are also planting the fear in the Small Business sector, the sector which employs more people in America than any other, that this reform will elevate their costs and mandates will make them cut into their profits. All these reasons I have just mentioned are among the main barriers declared in the media, which are waging a war against reforming healthcare in this country.

Now I just mentioned some of the main reasons why Congress is not going to vote on healthcare reform before going out on their August vacations (Please correct me if I’m totally off the mark). To be honest, I do not know the best way to resolve all these claims by the different players, just like the average American. However, I do see it as pure political ideology that is torn legislators between whether or not let government offer a public option compete with the private sector
? And disallow the corporate sector from continue dominating the healthcare industry. The so called blue dogs in Congress see the public option as too costly, therefore do not support the current costs presented so far. I would imagine that most Americans believe is morally right for people to have good health insurance and that it should be a right like any other right given to an individual in society. Also, we already provide funded federal healthcare services to those most in need.

Critics of the public option ignore the fact that the federal government already provides public health services to veterans (Veteran Services) and elderly (Medicare and Medicaid). We should be honest in acknowledging that these services are not the best or most efficient compared to others in the market, but they are sufficient and without these services, one can easily understand the dire consequences to these populations if these services were removed tomorrow? I assure you that they would tell you that their standard of living will diminish or even reduce their life expectancy due to the lack of being unable to treat their illnesses.

The Latino / Hispanic should be worried extremely worried about Healthcare reform, why? You should not be swayed by what I just said, but most important, you should investigate and educate yourself on the subject, see how it impacts your life and your family. The next link can help you do so, it is the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) site in Spanish which may help you learn more about healthcare and how it disproportionately affects the Latino community:


And if you do not have much time and only want to see the current state of the health system in your state, see below and identify your state:


Now take action and please write to your Senator or Congressperson about the urgency of reforming the U.S. healthcare system. You can see who your Senator or congressman is by looking up your state in the following websites:



Even if you do not feel that your call or letter has no value, believe me that if you all send one letter at a time, the sum will have weight and produce your Voice just like in the last election. America needs your help more than ever, please take action. It's time to say again— Yes We Can!

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