Published September 18, 2012
| Fox News Latino
New York – While his health care plan may be a contentious issue among some voters, Latinos substantially favor President Barack Obama's handling of health care and his landmark legislation, the Affordable Care Act, a Fox News Latino poll shows.
The poll, which surveyed 887 likely Latino voters, shows that 62 percent of respondents approve of the overall job Obama has done with health care while in office, including his creation of the controversial plan for comprehensive health care reform. The poll was conducted the Sept. 11-13 and the margin of sampling error is +/- three percentage points.
Not only do Latinos approve of Obama’s health care policies, those polled also gave Obama a substantial advantage on the issue over GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, favoring Obama by 38 points.
Those who labeled themselves as Democrats viewed health care as being a more important matter than those who identified themselves as Republicans. When it came to age, however, the issue had a relatively universal level of significance, although those ages 65 and above valued it slightly more.
As a group, Latinos have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group within the United States, according to the Office of Minority Health.
The White House stated early this year that 32 percent of Latinos were uninsured in 2009.
Jennifer M. Ng’andu, a health policy specialist at the Hispanic rights group the National Council of La Raza, or NCLR, is not surprised with the findings, since Latinos stand to gain the most from Obama's health care plan.
“I think there is a lot of praise due for what the Affordable Care Act does,” Ng’andu told Fox News Latino.
In a speech on Monday before the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Romney said that while Americans need health care reform, “Obamacare is the wrong way to go about it.”
“I will repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that increase choice, slow down the runaway growth of insurance costs, and open the door to more new jobs," the former Massachusetts governor said.
“President Obama took us in the wrong direction on health care with Obamacare," Yohana de la Torre, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign told Fox News Latino. "It is a massive government takeover of health care that is too expensive, cuts Medicare by $716 billion, and increases taxes on everyone from middle class families to medical device manufacturers. Mitt Romney’s plan for health care will empower individuals, lower costs, improve care, and put Medicare on a sustainable path.”
While Romney has said he will repeal only parts of the Affordable Care Act, he has not made clear which policies will stay and which will go.
“I think ambiguity has sort of defined Romney’s health care proposal,” Ng’andu added. “That uncertainty is not favorable in a time when people need more access to affordable health care.”
“Latinos are choosing between health care, medical debt, and putting food on the table.”
In an article in USA Today, Latino Decisions' Matt Barreto said that from the beginning of the Romney campaign “the most obvious miscue” between Romney and Latino voters has been his continued denouncement of the Affordable Care Act.
Arizona state House Minority Whip Anna Tovar and state Rep. Ruben Gallego harped upon this disconnect between Romney’s desire to attract Latino votes and his continued stance on the health care reform.
“Our community would suffer disproportionately,” the Arizona lawmakers said in a press release following Romney’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce address. “Up to 9 million Latinos could be denied the chance to gain health coverage under his misguided proposal.”
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