Supreme Court Ruling Against Obamacare Would Leave Many Latinos Behind

March 11, 2015 by No Comments

An upcoming Supreme Court ruling will determine the legality of providing tax credits or subsidies to people in states that have federally run health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act.

According to a March 5 VOXXI article, these tax credits and financial subsidies are what make health care and dental care affordable for millions of Americans. The Affordable Care Act’s text currently states that all Americans are eligible for tax credits, regardless of whether they reside in a state that set up its own healthcare exchange or a state that relies on a federally run healthcare marketplace.

And if the Supreme Court rules against these subsidies, millions of people living in states like Texas, Florida, Arizona, New Jersey and New Mexico would find themselves unable to pay for health and dental coverage.

Latinos, who make up a major portion of the population in these states, may have the most at stake in the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling in King v. Burwell, which could come as early as June, said Katherine Vargas, a White House spokesperson. Vargas went on to say that tax credits and subsidies have lowered health insurance premiums by an average of 76% for the millions of Americans eligible for them.

“A ruling for the petitioners would strip millions of Americans of health coverage, including 2.6 million Latinos who gained health insurance coverage since the start of the Affordable Care Act, a 7.7% point drop in the uninsured rate over that period,” Vargas explained.

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) has also spoken out on the potentially dire consequences of an anti-Affordable Care Act ruling, VOXXI reports.

“This (decision) will have a particularly devastating impact in the Latino community, where we have worked so hard to bring down the number of uninsured,” said Hector Sanchez, NHLA chair.

Since its implementation, the Affordable Care Act has made both health and dental insurance accessible to millions of Americans. As a result, the rate of childhood tooth decay is on the decline for the first time since 2007, according to the New York Times. A mere 10% of today’s preschoolers have untreated tooth decay.

“This is the lowest percentage we have seen in the past 25 years,” said Dr. Bruce Dye, the lead author of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Yet this statistic conceals shocking racial disparities when it comes to childhood dental decay. Approximately 46% of Hispanic children younger than eight years old had cavities, compared with just 31% of white children.

If the Supreme Court were to make health and dental care even less affordable for Hispanic families, who knows how much the rate of childhood tooth decay among this subset of the population would rise?

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