PRESS STATEMENT: General Assembly Considers Bill to Close Gaps in Healthcare Access

General Assembly Considers Bill to Close Gaps in Healthcare Access

COLOR urges lawmakers to advance a bill creating a fund to help more people be able to get insured and get the care they need – including undocumented people – to create healthier communities. 

(Denver, CO) – Statement by Karla Gonzales Garcia, Policy Director of Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR): 

“We know that the Latinx community is more likely to be uninsured. This is due to a number of systemic barriers from an overrepresentation in low wage jobs that do not offer adequate – or in some cases any health benefits to the specific obstacles that deny access for immigrant communities. This leaves my community with poor health outcomes, higher rates of maternal mortality and pregnancy complications, higher death rates from many treatable conditions, and the inability to manage chronic health issues. This lack of health benefits amongst our community greatly impacts our quality of life, large amounts of medical debt trapping us in a cycle of poverty and right now it must be pointed out that this means disparities in the ability to get healthcare during a pandemic. 

The Latinx community was dealing with health disparities long before this global crisis, but it has gotten much, much worse. A lack of access to affordable, quality services is harming the Latinx community, cutting our lives short and threatening our lives. 

The health of our state depends on the health of our communities. Colorado has taken great strides in trying to close the gaps in access to quality, affordable health care. Senate Bill 215 offers an opportunity to try to mitigate the loss of benefits that is happening due to loss of jobs and continue to try to move forward in the progress we’ve made by protecting the state’s reinsurance program and investing in the Colorado Health Care Affordability Fund. This provides a direct benefit to insurance carriers and enhances the ability of individuals and families to purchase an insurance plan so they can get care when they need it. 

Health insurance fees are already being paid. This legislation simply directs them to a state program where they do the most good to strengthen the insurance industry in our state and help more people get access to benefits. It will also help to create affordable options for health insurance for people who were left out of the Affordable Care Act, including undocumented people. 

This is critical progress at a time when we know the coronavirus is disparately impacting people of color and undocumented immigrants face significant barriers to accessing care due to high uninsured rates.Many delay or go without needed care, which at this time has not only a detrimental impact on the individual level but also has far-reaching consequences in our goal of creating healthy communities and staving off the coronavirus. 

This bill is a good health policy, has strong economic benefits, and is a common-sense step forward.  I hope that lawmakers will take swift action to advance Senate Bill 215. It will go a long way in helping people not just get the medical treatments they need, but also help them be healthier in the long term.” 

Karla Gonzales Garcia is available for interview upon request. 

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