Latinos to GOP: It’s not your message, it’s your policies

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The L.A. Times' Noam Levey reports today, "As Republican leaders try to woo Latino voters with a new
openness to legal status for the nation's illegal immigrants, the party
remains at odds with America's fastest-growing ethnic community on
another key issue: healthcare."

It turns out that Latinos support "ObamaCare" (this is where the GOP's titular leader, Rush Limbaugh, claims it is because Latinos "depend on government for their prosperity.” ) Healthcare an obstacle as Republicans court Latinos:

La-na-latinos-healthcare-20130331-gLatinos, who have the lowest rates of health coverage in the country, are among the strongest backers of President Obama's
healthcare law. In a recent national poll, supporters outnumbered
detractors by more than 2 to 1. Latinos also overwhelmingly see
guaranteeing healthcare as a core government responsibility, surveys
show.

Yet congressional Republicans continue to make repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act a top agenda item and have renewed calls for deep cuts in health programs such as Medicaid, which are very popular with Latinos.

"Obamacare is a colossal mistake for our country," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said recently in a speech on the Senate floor. "It needs to be pulled out by its roots."

[A]ttacking the law risks undermining the RNC's planned minority
outreach campaign, which party leaders said in a recent strategy
blueprint must convince Latinos "we care about them."

"This is going to hurt Republicans," said Matt Barreto, cofounder of
Latino Decisions, a nonpartisan national polling firm. "When Republicans
keep saying they will repeal the health law, Latinos hear the party is
going to take away their healthcare."

Obama, meanwhile, made upholding the Affordable Care Act a core part of
his Latino strategy. A quarter of the president's advertising in Spanish
focused on the law, said James Aldrete, who oversaw Spanish-language
media strategy for Obama in 2008 and 2012. "We knew from the start that,
if Latinos knew about the benefits of the law, they were going back the
president," he said. "It was central to our messaging."

* * *

Surveys indicate that close to 30% of Latino citizens and legal
permanent residents lack health insurance. By comparison, just 11% of
white and 17% of black Americans are uninsured, according to the latest
data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Starting next year, the health law will provide hundreds of millions
of dollars in subsidies to low-income Americans and legal residents to
help pay insurance premiums. Illegal immigrants cannot receive these
subsidies.

The law will also provide states with additional federal aid if they
open their Medicaid programs to more of their poor residents. That, too,
will likely disproportionately benefit Latinos, nearly 30% of whom rely
on government health insurance, at twice the rate of white Americans.

The high numbers of Latinos who are uninsured or depend on public
programs reflect their lower incomes and their concentration in
industries, such as the service sector, that often don't provide health
benefits.

"Latinos realize that government will not fulfill every need, but
what they admire about the United States is that the government steps in
when there is a need," said Lorena Chambers, a Latina media consultant
who worked on a campaign to help pass the president's health law.

Nearly half of Latinos in a recent Pew Research Center poll said they
trusted the federal government to do the right thing "always" or "most
of the time." Just 20% of white respondents felt that way. And
two-thirds of Latinos believed the federal government should ensure that
everyone has access to health insurance, a 2012 Latino Decisions survey
found.

* * *

The Republican National Committee acknowledged the damage caused by
that perception in outlining its strategy to win over Latinos. "They
want to know that we are not just the party for those at the top of the
economic ladder because our dream of a better life is for them, too,"
party leaders wrote.

But Republicans show few signs of changing course on healthcare.

GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill pushed more votes last month to repeal all
or part of the law, after more than 30 such votes in 2011 and 2012. And
the GOP budget just passed by the House would repeal the new health law
and slash billions of dollars from future Medicaid spending, leaving
tens of millions of mostly low-income Americans — many of them Latino —
without health coverage.

"Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney received just 27% of the Latino vote in November, in large measure
because of his harsh rhetoric about illegal immigrants. But he also made
overturning the health law a central plank of his campaign."

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