Walking about this weekend, I noticed this Banksy -esque form of self expression that I just couldn’t resist dwelling on. A quick Google search led me to this 2011 campaign advocating having the NYC subway “N” line turned into the “Ñ” line during Hispanic Heritage Month every year.
As a recent transplant to “The City”, anything reminiscent of my heritage is bound to evoke excitement and curiosity in me, but it also got me thinking about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other public health policies power on like trains if you are ready for them or not. It is no secret that catching a ride on the healthcare system train is disproportionately harder for members of different ethnic and racial groups on the United States. Although it has been touted as a great equalizer – “the law will address inequities and increase access to quality, affordable health coverage, invest in prevention and wellness, and give individuals and families more control over their care”– this law, just like trains, has a set time and skip-stop schedule that can leave passengers stranded. We already know that undocumented immigrants will not be able to participate, leaving 2.6 million individuals standing on the side lines; No papers, No ticket.
With 15.5 million uninsured Latinos/Hispanics as of 2011 I just have to question how will the healthcare system address the influx of those new enrollees? How accessible will bilingual doctors and specialists be? Up to 8.5 million of those Latinos qualifying for ACA will do so thru Medicaid, an already saturated system… How will it handle them?
As of now, the route from the yards to the first stop of the ACA train has been bumpy at best, but who knows, maybe this will be the little law that could?
What do you think? How are you seeing the law implemented in your state? Does the Latino/Hispanic community know about their options? Do they have options?
Written By: Gustavo Adolfo