• The Affordable Care Act Can Help Millions

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    Your Take: This expert says that blacks and Latinos will benefit if the health care bill is upheld.

    As both health care consumers and health care workers, members of Service Employees International Union, the nation’s largest union of health care workers, embarked on a journey to help fix the nation’s broken health care system. Before the Supreme Court makes its decision, we want all working families to understand the importance of upholding the health care law and the vital nature of protecting health care reforms, now and in the future. This is especially true for African Americans, Latinos and other people of color who represent 33 percent of the U.S. population, make up more than 50 percent of the uninsured and whose access to health care has been historically marred by discrimination.

    Regardless of race or ethnicity, however, nearly one in two Americans does not know the facts about how the health care law works or how they can get better care under the health care law. Since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010, millions of families have gained access to quality, affordable health care and the financial security that it brings in tough economic times. By 2014 the health care law will extend coverage to the majority of Americans who are uninsured.

    The Affordable Care Act covers 6.6 million young adults. More than 20 million women received preventative services, such as mammograms, birth control, new-baby care and well-child visits, without a co-pay. A 50 percent discount is available on covered name-brand prescriptions for seniors and people with disabilities who hit “the doughnut hole,” and in 2011 more than 5.1 million Medicare beneficiaries saved $3 billion on prescription drugs under the health care law.

    In addition, the Affordable Care Act expands initiatives to increase racial and ethnic diversity in health care professions (pdf) and strengthens cultural competency training for all health care providers. And it ends the worst insurance company abuses, such as denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Access to preventive care could also mean the difference between life and death for 47 million Latinos and 41 million African Americans, who are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases such as diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease, and are more likely than other Americans to die from preventable diseases. With record high unemployment, pathways to care through employer-based insurance could be eliminated.

    The reality is this: The Affordable Care Act is already working. Yet a recent CBS News-New York Times poll shows that 67 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Tea Party supporters want the entire law to be overturned.

    Read more about how The Affordable Care Act impacts others lives on The Root

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