Statement from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Hispanic Heritage Month

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–September 17, 2012.  

“Beginning September 15, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, recognizing the Latino community’s many contributions to our nation. At the same time, Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to renew our commitment to promote health and wellness in the Latino community.”

“Good health is fundamental to opportunity. The healthier we are, the more freedom we have to pursue our dreams and contribute to our families, our workplaces and communities.”

“But too many Latinos live sicker and die younger in America than they should. They are less likely to have access to quality health care and are less likely to get the preventive services they need to stay healthy. They disproportionately suffer from chronic and infectious diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer.”

“The Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama two years ago, has given us the tools to target health disparities and improve the well-being of all Americans. Because of the health care law, more than 6 million Latinos who have private insurance now can get many preventive services at no additional charge, and the nearly 4 million Latino elders on Medicare are now eligible for free annual wellness visits from qualified and participating health professionals, and may be eligible for discounts on covered prescription drugs. Nearly 1 million Latinos have gotten health insurance because the Affordable Care Act required their insurance companies to allow young adults to be covered by their parents’ health plan until they turn 26. In the future, up to 9 million Latinos will have access to affordable health insurance because of the availability of tax credits and better access to Medicaid made possible by the health care law.”

“The health care law has also built on the strong Recovery Act investment in expanding and strengthening our community health centers, where one in three patients are Latino. Additionally, the Promotores de Salud Initiative, led by our Office of Minority Health and in collaboration with others across the Department, is advancing the use of promotores, or community health workers, to increase our reach to under-served Latino communities about available programs and resources to help them lead healthy lives.”

“During Hispanic Heritage Month, we can celebrate the progress we have made in ensuring that all Americans, including Latinos, have a fair shot at the quality, affordable health care that they and their families need and deserve, while reaffirming our commitment to reduce health disparities for all ethnic and racial communities. And in doing so, we are investing in our entire nation’s physical and economic well-being.”