Several weeks ago, a Republican National Committee “autopsy” of the GOP’s 2012 election loss put forth a strategy for better engaging with diverse communities, explaining that Republicans must improve their outreach to Latino voters in order to attract new people to the party. That effort hasn’t had much success so far — as one Republican used a racial slur to describe Latinos, another decided to close his state’s Latino Affairs office, and several top members of the party have continued to dodge questions on comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
Now, yet another major obstacle to the GOP’s Hispanic outreach is emerging: Latinos’ strong support for health care reform. As the Los Angeles Times reports, Republicans likely won’t have much luck attempting to woo Latinos with messages about how they want to keep attempting to repeal Obamacare, which Hispanic voters support by a 2 to 1 margin:
Latinos, 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. […]
“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.”
About two-thirds of Latinos think the federal government should ensure that everyone has access to health insurance. According to Lorena Chambers, a Latina media consultant who was involved with the push to pass Obamacare, that’s largely because the Hispanic community understands the value of the United States’ social safety net. “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,” Chambers told the Los Angeles Times.
And since nearly 30 percent of Latino citizens and legal permanent residents are currently uninsured, and another 30 percent rely on public health insurance programs because they can’t access health care through their employers, the Hispanic community stands to benefit from Obamacare’s reforms. It makes sense, then, that many Latinos would be turned off by hearing Republicans declare that Obamacare will “literally” kill people, or that the GOP will keep trying to repeal health care reform no matter what.