April 22, 2024

Gallego Meets with Arizona Community Health Care Advocates at Roundtable

Discussion centered on expanding health care access, the impact of lowering the costs of prescription drugs on Latino consumers, and protecting reproductive health care in the face of legal challenges

PHOENIXRep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03) was the featured speaker today at a roundtable discussion with nearly two dozen Arizona community leaders in Phoenix. 

The discussion focused on lowering prescription drugs costs, making health care more affordable, strengthening and protecting health care access for all Arizonans, and combating threats to reproductive health care.

“Prescription drug prices have been skyrocketing for decades – forcing families to make impossible choices or sending them to Mexico for cheaper medications,” Rep. Gallego told the group. “Every Arizonan deserves relief from outrageous prescription drug prices, and that’s why I’m fighting to continue to bring down costs. Thank you to UNIDOSUS Action Fund, CPLC, and Protect Our Care for today’s important conversation.”

The event was hosted by the UnidosUS Action Fund (UUAF), Arizona Protect Our Care (POC), and the Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund (CPLC) Action Fund.

The U.S. Latino population reached 63.6 million in 2022, or nearly one in five people in the country, 19%, up from 5% in 1970, according to Pew Hispanic Research. In Arizona, there are approximately 2.3 million Latinos, up from 1.3 million in 2000. Latinos today are about 33 % of Arizona’s population of 7.3 million people.

"As the leader of the social welfare arm of the largest national civil rights and advocacy organization in the country, I believe we have a singular responsibility to ensure that the Latino community understands what’s at stake in the 2024 elections when it comes to accessing healthcare and the fight to keep our rights from being taken away,” said UnidosUS Action Fund Executive Director Rafael Collazo.

Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund Executive Director Joe Garcia said, “Great advancements have been made in medicine, and we have the best health care available in the world, but it’s all for naught if too many Latinos and other Americans are shut out simply because of the high costs driven by exorbitant profit margins. Nobody should have to choose between prescription drugs or buying groceries or paying a utility bill. We must address this problem now—before we lose any more family, friends, neighbors, workforce, or community members to this travesty.

Mike Renaud, president and CEO of Valle del Sol, expressed his concern that people’s ability to afford health care still often hinges on people’s income level instead of medical needs. “We need to move affluence away from health care, and toward providing better access to food, education and reproductive health access for everyone.”

“There’s nothing wrong with profit motives in the United States,” Garcia added. “But when gouging Americans and seniors, and literally killing them because of astronomical prices, that’s where the problem is. At some point, there has to be a balance between need and greed.”

Key facts about Latinos and healthcare: (2021 Pew Research Center survey of Hispanic adults and other sources.)

  • Hispanic adults (70 percent) are less likely than Americans overall (82 percent) to have seen a health care provider recently and to have a primary care provider. 
  • Hispanic Americans are less likely than people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds to have health insurance. As of 2021, the uninsured rate among Hispanics under age 65 was 19%, according to KFF, formerly known as the Kaiser Family Foundation. That was higher than the share among Black (11%), White (7%) and Asian Americans (6%). (These figures include rates among children as well as adults.)
  • About a third of Hispanics – including 58% of Hispanic immigrants – say they prefer to see a Spanish-speaking health care provider. Overall, 35% of Hispanic adults strongly or somewhat prefer seeing a Spanish-speaking doctor or other health care provider for routine care. A larger share (51%) say it makes no difference whether the doctor they see speaks Spanish or not. And 13% say they would rather not see a Spanish-speaking doctor.

Gallego spoke about the need to expand the Affordable Care Act, which has led to the highest percentage of Americans with health insurance in U.S. history, though more must be done. 

Lydia Guzman of Chicanos Por La Causa told Gallego, “My little brother is a beneficiary of the Affordable Care Act. He was severely ill and would’ve been stuck if it wasn't for the ACA. These programs and policies keep him alive. There are so many people out there like my brother.”

Protect Our Care Founder and Chair Leslie Dach added, “All of us at Protect Our Care are excited about partnering with the UnidosUs Action Fund this year to educate Latinos about what is being done now and what can be done in the future to make healthcare more equitable and affordable for them and their families.”

The following community-based organizations from across Arizona were invited to attend today's roundtable in Phoenix:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics, AZ Chapter
  • Regional Center For Border Health (RCFBH)
  • Arizona AFL-CIO
  • APN Staffing & Employment Solutions
  • Arizona for Abortion Access
  • Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 
  • Arizona PIRG
  • Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans
  • AZ Council of Human Service Providers
  • Campesinos Sin Fronteras 
  • Children’s Action Alliance
  • Chicanos Por La Causa (UnidosUS affiliate)
  • Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund
  • Comité De Bien Estar (UnidosUS affiliate)
  • El Rio Health
  • Friendly House (UnidosUS affiliate)
  • Healthcare Rising Arizona
  • Hispanic Women's Corporation (UnidosUS affiliate)
  • Hopewell Fund
  • Human Service Providers / Arizona Council of Human Service Providers
  • Keogh Health Connections
  • Mexicayotl Academy (UnidosUS affiliate)
  • Native American Connections
  • Opportunity Arizona
  • Promise Arizona (UnidosUS affiliate)
  • Raza Development Fund
  • SRP - Government Relations 
  • The Office of Gov. Katie Hobbs - Legislative, Policy, & External Affairs 
  • Suvida Healthcare
  • The Dr. Ted Martinez Jr. NCCHC Leadership Fellows Program
  • UnidosUS Action Fund
  • Valle de Sol (UnidosUS affiliate)
  • Vitalyst Health Foundation
  • Wildfire
  • YWCA

About Protect Our Care

Protect Our Care is dedicated to making high-quality, affordable and equitable healthcare a right, and not a privilege, for everyone in America. We educate the public, influence policy, support health care champions and hold politicians accountable. Our strategy combines a campaign mentality with a best-in-class earned media and communications program, a highly effective inside game with policy makers, and deep engagement at the state and local level.

About UnidosUS Action Fund

UnidosUS Action Fund President Janet Murguia is the President/CEO of UnidosUS. The Executive Director, Rafael Collazo, manages the day-to-day operations of its sister 501C4 organization, UnidosUS Action Fund (UUAF). This work is supported by a strong team composed of members of the UnidosUS organization, including two policy experts, a legislative team, state/field leads, and communications support. Furthermore, our mission counts on the support of a national affiliate network of 288 partner organizations that provide direct services and advocate for the community. Many of these organizations have sister c4s that can also partner with UUAF. We also work with a network of national partners, including Mi Familia Vota and Latino Victory Fund, and are active participants in state c4 tables.

About Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund

Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund is a 501(c)4 nonprofit advocacy organization, the independent sister organization of Chicanos Por La Causa, a nonprofit service provider with operations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, California, Colorado, and Nevada. CPLC Action Fund was created to further the CPLC mission, advancing Latino success through advocacy on key impact areas, including Education, Housing, Health & Human Services, and Economic and Political Empowerment. Advocacy efforts include community-based activism, events focusing on social justice and equity issues, legal recourse against voter-suppression and anti-democratic legislation harmful, and offering input to elected officials and leaders. Voter engagement efforts include voter registration, voter education, and the award-winning “Latino Loud” GOTV campaign, which seeks to increase participation of low-propensity Latino voters.