High Stakes for Latinos in Supreme Court Healthcare Decision

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to release its so-called “decision of the century” when it reveals its thoughts on the legality of Affordable Care Act, President Obama flagship legislation of his tenure.

The justices will be deciding whether or not the Affordable Care Act passes the test of constitutionality. A key question is whether Congress had the authority to require most people to have health insurance or pay a fine.

Health insurance is a high-stakes matter for Latinos, either as individuals or as small business owners who must provide it for their employees.

Here are some quick facts on Latinos and health care.

• Slightly more than 15 million of the roughly 50 million Hispanics living here are uninsured.

• Hispanic persons under age 65 years were about twice (34 percent) as likely as non-Hispanic persons (15 percent) in that age group to be uninsured.

• Among persons who were not covered by health insurance, Hispanic persons (40%) were more than three times as likely as non-Hispanic persons (11%) to have never had health insurance coverage.

• Uninsured non-Hispanic persons (33%) were about twice as likely as Hispanic persons (18%) to be without health insurance coverage due to loss of a job or a change in employment.

• Hispanic in the U.S. are almost twice as likely as whites to be uninsured.

• In 2008, Hispanic males and females had a longer life expectancy at birth than non-Hispanic whites or non-Hispanic black males and females

• Racial disparities in life expectancy at birth persisted for both males and females in 2008 but had narrowed since 1990.

• Since 998, birth rates have decreased 21 percent for Hispanic teenagers 15–17 years of age and 9 percent for non-Hispanic black teenagers 15–17 years of age. During this period, birth rates or 18–19 year olds decreased 18 percent for non-Hispanic black teenagers and were stable older Hispanic teenagers

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010; Summary Health Statistics for the U.S. Population: National Health Interview Survey, 2010; Centers for Disease Control

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