Latinos and the Supreme Court’s Health Care Ruling

Health care reform supporters in Minnesota - Photo: AFL-CIO/Flickr

Health care reform supporters in Minnesota. (Photo: AFL-CIO/Flickr)

This article by Victor Landa originally appeared in NewsTaco

There’s enough fodder in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act to last through the election in November and beyond, and we’ll be talking about this thing for at least that long – unpacking the nuance, untangling the parts. For now, on an immediate first-glance, there’re political implications to look at vis-à-vis Latinos, the election, health care, etc… And for that we need to take a few steps back, for perspective.

  • The Affordable Care Act will affect the Latino community in a big way
    • 42% of Latinos don’t have health insurance
    • Latinos are a mostly young population
    • 39% of Latino children are able to remain under their parents health insurance
    • About 16% of Latino seniors that have pre-existing conditions will have access to health care
    • A large number of low income Latinos will now have access to affordable health care

With all that said, does this ruling have a political implication five months down the line?

Probably not as much as the SB1070 ruling may have in the Latino community. In the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling on immigration President Obama’s approval rating among Latinos increased by at least five points and now stands at 67%. It’ll be hard to beat that. And as much as this sounds like a political hot point for the election, I don’t think it will be. The President will tout his accomplishment on the stump, and Romney will make it a campaign plank, but I’d bet a stack of dollars that the GOP will try to avoid this issue from now on because it’s a losing issue for them and because the American public is already tired of it – voters in particular have had enough.

The Republicans in the House of Representatives have said that they’ll bring the entire law to a vote for repeal next week. The repeal is unlikely to pass and that’ll only cram politics in a partisan funnel and fire-up both bases that needed a lift as it was. So expect the decibel level to increase over this, but nothing more. It’ll be hard for either side to relate this ruling to the economy, which is where most Americans are looking (the link is there, but hard to make on a campaign talking point).

So overall, this law looks to be good for Latinos, but we won’t see the effects of it before November. And while this ruling may help rile the partisans on both political camps, it may do little to move the needle among the undecided, and among Latino voters in key swing states. Unless the campaigns manage to convince Latinos and the undecided middle, and that’s going to take some fancy message making.

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