February 28, 2003

Leading Latino Organizations Bring Attention to Proposed State Budget’s Negative Impact on Latinos

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Latino Health Alliance (LHA) urges the Governor and State Legislators to give careful review to the proposed state budget, claiming that the Governor’s current proposed budget and budget cuts negatively impact Latinos at a greater rate than the rest of the population. 

Latinos are the fastest growing minority population in the nation. California alone has over 11 million Latinos. In California, almost one-third of Latino children are uninsured and more than 40 percent of non-elderly adult Latinos are uninsured. These are people who are hard working, tax payers who through no fault of their own lack health insurance. Often times Latinos work for employers who do not offer health coverage or are at income levels that do not qualify them for state programs yet they do not make enough to purchase health insurance on their own.

“The Latino community is receiving the brunt of the proposed budget cuts,” said Lia Margolis, President & CEO of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, the lead organization for the LHA, “Hard working Latinos count on these health services as their only form of health care and health access. Limiting these much needed health services which are already under funded will weaken an already fragile system.” 

The LHA is focusing their efforts on Medi-Cal because almost half of all Medi-Cal beneficiaries are Latinos. LHA is also pushing to change the proposed realignment in existing health services from the State to the counties, including funding for community clinics, because such a move could result in the loss of services to patients. Over half of the health center and community clinic patients are Latinos.

“Elimination of programs that provide health care for the working poor very often end up costing both the State and the economy more than what’s saved by the cuts themselves,” concludes Margolis.

Low-income, working Latinos are concentrated in industries that require long hours for little pay.  Latino employees have the lowest job-based health coverage of any ethnic subgroup. Many in the Latino community count on state health programs and services to keep them as healthy, working contributors to California’s economy.

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