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Latino Daily News

Saturday July 23, 2011

Proposals to Raise National Debt Ceiling by Undercutting Bedrock Safety Net Programs Hurts Hispanics

Proposals to Raise National Debt Ceiling by Undercutting Bedrock Safety Net Programs Hurts Hispanics

Photo: Debt Limit

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The Hispanic Federation released the following statement regarding the national debt ceiling negotiations taking place in the nation’s capital:

As we inch closer to the deadline to raise our national debt ceiling, the Hispanic Federation is deeply concerned that the plans being negotiated by our nation’s leaders are essentially big spending cut packages that will disproportionately hurt Latinos and other working class Americans. Disastrous cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and other bedrock safety net programs form the underpinning of the deals being considered in Washington D.C. Indeed, current proposals being floated in Washington offer a potential of three-quarters of spending cuts for every one-quarter of revenue generation, if that. This is not equity, or sharing the pain. This is placing the majority of sacrifice on the working poor, seniors and other vulnerable populations. 

It is a false choice and an unacceptable bargain for the millions of Latino working families and retirees that depend on these social safety net programs for their social, economic and physical well-being. Below are some of the reasons why the proposed debt-ceiling deals will disproportionately hurt the communities we care for and serve:

Social Security

More than any other group, Latinos depend on Social Security to provide their sole or primary source of retirement. According to AARP, nearly three-quarters (74%) of Hispanic elderly rely on Social Security for more than half of their income compared with less than one-third of White seniors. Additionally, more than one quarter of Latinos age 65 or over depend on Social Security for over 90% of their income. Simply put, the reliability of Social Security’s income stream is critical to the economic well-being of Latino retirees and disabled workers.

The Hispanic Federation believes any reductions in social security benefits to raise the debt ceiling will severely cripple Latino families and must be staunchly opposed.


Hispanics have the highest uninsured rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. Nearly two in five Latino adults do not have health insurance resulting in higher rates of hospitalization, preventable disease and premature death. Without Medicaid, the already unacceptable uninsured rate among Latinos would be astronomical and the consequences would be devastating. In 2009, more than a quarter of all Hispanics in the US were reliant on Medicaid and CHIP for health coverage. Scaling back the Medicaid program will not only impact the lives of Hispanics, but nearly 1 in 6 Americans that rely on the program for critical care. 

For these reasons, the Federation is strongly opposed to any proposals to cut this vital health insurance program for the poor.


For more than 47 million Americans, Medicare provides a lifeline to their health care security. Thanks to this program, virtually all Americans 65 and older have health care coverage. In fact, 3.7 million Hispanics receive affordable and reliable health care coverage through Medicare.  In conjunction with Social Security and Medicaid, it plays a vital role in helping to provide financial security to millions of Latino seniors and younger beneficiaries with disabilities.

The Federation has very strong concerns about proposed cuts to Medicare. As with Social Security and Medicaid, making changes to undercut this program would be flawed public policy and a moral failure.

The mission of the Hispanic Federation is to empower and advance the Hispanic community. The Hispanic Federation provides grants and services to a broad network of Latino non-profit agencies serving the most vulnerable members of the Hispanic community and advocates nationally with respect to the vital issues of education, health, immigration, economic empowerment, civic engagement and the environment.  For more information, please visit www.hispanicfederation.org.