Repealing the health care reform has become a bone of contention for Republican presidential candidates and one of the central themes uniting them. However, this cause is not exactly popular among Latino voters.
Less than 30% of the Hispanic voters who participated in an Impremedia/Latino Decisions opinion poll think the law should be repealed, while half of the participants think it should not. At the same time, the majority disagree with the mandate the law imposes on consumers to have health insurance coverage.
The numbers show that one of the main arguments Republican candidates are using against Obama does not have the support among Latinos it has in other groups. Despite this rejection, there is a side that can be exploited during the election.
On the other hand, Latinos are one of the groups that will benefit the most from the reform, which expands insurance coverage. But their support for this law is not uniform and solid, since almost 20% have doubts about it. The White House should continue telling Latinos about the positive aspects of the reform for a socioeconomic group like theirs.
Jobs and the economy will be central themes in next year’s election-but health care plays a predominant role for both Republicans and the Latino community, although for different reasons. For Latinos, the health care reform debate does not focus on government expansion or the “socialism” of Obama’s proposal, but on expanding insurance coverage. Their opposition to the insurance mandate is based on the fear of being unable to pay for it. They do not perceive this mandate as an imposition by a federal government that does not respect individuals.
There is a gap between the vision of Republican candidates, who see health care reform as one of Obama’s electoral weaknesses that should be exploited, and the majority of Latinos, who are attempting to measure the reform by its impact. Today, this difference benefits the Obama administration. Nevertheless, the gap can start closing if the administration leaves a vacuum and does not sustain a permanent campaign focusing on the health care reform’s benefits.