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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Oppose the Repeal of Obamacare Act (H.R. 6079)

Advocacy Letter - 07/11/12

Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: U.S. House of Representatives


Dear Representative,

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a diverse coalition of more than 200 national organizations charged with promoting and protecting the rights of all persons in the United States, we are writing to express our strong opposition to H.R. 6079, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA is vital to improving the health of our nation’s most underserved communities—including low-income families, people of color, women, seniors, and people with disabilities. Now that the Supreme Court’s historic decision erases any doubt that the federal government has the constitutional authority to expand and improve access to health services for millions of people who otherwise would be denied the care they need, it is time for policymakers to work together in a bipartisan way to make the ACA’s promise of more affordable and accessible health care a reality for millions of Americans.

Health care is a basic human right. Unfortunately, in the United States, many communities have worse access to care and worse health outcomes than the general population.  For example, tuberculosis strikes Asian-Americans at 16 times higher rates; cancer kills 35 percent more African-Americans; and Hispanics are twice as likely to die from diabetes as the general public. Such statistics are simply intolerable.

A significant contributor to these health disparities is unequal access to health insurance and care. Although people of color represent one third of all Americans, they make up half of the uninsured population1. Seventeen million women in the U.S. have no health insurance2, including one in five women of reproductive age3, and face significant financial barriers to accessing care. And millions of Americans with disabilities have no access to needed coverage. The ACA will expand potentially life- saving insurance coverage to tens of millions of people—including those segments of the population who have had the least access to care. The ACA also makes important investments in disease prevention, critical to reducing the high incidence rates of diabetes, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, obesity, and asthma experienced by people of color and other underserved populations.

The ACA recognizes that poor quality of care disproportionately affects certain communities. That is why the law prioritizes closing health disparity gaps. It requires the collection of key demographic data, to ensure that disparities can be identified and the right interventions can be used.  It will also increase the diversity and improve the cultural competence of the health care workforce. These changes will improve care and increase access in many medically underserved communities.

By addressing these huge disparities in both access to and quality of care, the ACA takes a momentous step toward ensuring that all Americans can benefit from affordable, high quality health care. We strongly urge you to oppose any efforts to repeal this landmark legislation and to protect the important progress that Congress has made toward creating a just and equitable health care system.

Sincerely,

Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President

1. Health Reform and Communities of Color: Implications for Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities,” Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, September 2010. Available at: http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8016-02.pdf.

2. “Women’s Health Insurance Coverage,” Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, October 2009. Available at http://www.kff.org/womenshealth/upload/6000-08.pdf.

3. “Census Data on Uninsured Women and Children,” March of Dimes Foundation, September 2009. Available at http://www.marchofdimes.com/files/Uninsured_Highlights09.pdf.

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