Institutionalized social and health care injustices threaten the health and safety of Latinx families during Colorado’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Economic disruptions associated with COVID-19 will be exacerbated among Latinx families without access to paid sick leave. And COVID-19 related illness could go undetected and untreated among Latinx families, who have the highest rate of uninsured (10.2 percent) of any racial or ethnic group in our state.
Many Latinx parents will face difficult decisions between protecting their own health and safety and providing the paycheck needed to feed and shelter their families. Many Latinx families may forego needed testing and treatment because they are uninsured. The
Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) urges the Polis Administration and the General Assembly to take the following decisive actions immediately to address the potentially devastating impact the Colorado COVID-19 outbreak could have on Latinx families in our state.
Pass FAMLI and/or extend emergency wage supports, including unemployment insurance, to all workers including, low wage workers, seasonal workers, agricultural workers, and part-time workers without paid sick leave, who are required to miss work due to COVID-19, including those who are not sick, but forced to miss work. While we appreciate the Polis Administration’s efforts to identify wage supports for individuals that must leave work to be tested for COVID-19, we urge the Administration to consider the impact potential quarantines will have on low-income and minority populations who do not have paid sick leave. Many Colorado families are one paycheck away from hunger and homelessness.
Many Latinx parents will face difficult decisions between protecting their own health and safety and providing the paycheck needed to feed and shelter their families. Many Latinx families may forego needed testing and treatment because they are uninsured.
Make testing available to all Coloradans that meet the testing criteria, not only those who have commercial insurance or are state government workers. One in 10 Hispanic/Latinx Coloradans (10.2 percent) are uninsured, by far the highest uninsured rate of any racial or ethnic group in our state. The rate of uninsured Latinx children in Colorado is nearly two times the rate of uninsured non-Hispanic children. Immigrants without documentation accounted for one of four uninsured Coloradans in 2016. If we don’t make free testing available to all Coloradans that meet the testing criteria, we threaten to amplify the outbreak. Individuals enrolled in Medicaid and those who are uninsured must have equal access to testing, in all geographic areas of our state.
Make telehealth services available to all Coloradans, not only those that are government employees or have commercial insurance. The Administration must consider the barriers to testing faced by low-income, minority and rural populations in our state, such as lack of transportation to testing sites. In the mountain corridor of our state, where COVID-19 cases have been identified, 14.3% of Coloradans are uninsured and must have access to testing.
Eliminate cost-sharing for all Coloradans that must be tested and treated for COVID-19. Experience tells us Coloradans that are uninsured may forego testing and treatment for the novel virus. In 2019, 18.1% of Coloradans had a problem paying medical bills in the past 12 months, and one in five (20.2 percent) Coloradans went without a needed doctor, specialist, or prescription services due to cost. To stop the spread of the disease and avoid an outbreak of medical-related bankruptcies, safety-net health care providers must be reimbursed for providing testing and treatment to the uninsured, and indigent health care programs such as the Colorado Indigent Care Program must be authorized to reimburse providers for the costs of COVID-19 testing and treatment. If we fail to act, we know Coloradans will forego needed testing and treatment, which will only intensify and prolong the outbreak.
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