Tom Perez, Chair of the Democratic National Committee, visited The Box Gallery on Thursday for a conversation with local activists about healthcare issues affecting the Hispanic and gay community in West Palm Beach. His visit also fueled engagement with members of the community around the Affordable Care Act, COVID-19, and Joe Biden’s plan to tackle the pandemic.
Perez was joined by Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, breast cancer survivor State Sen. Lori Berman, Dr. Esteban Kloosterman, Nurse Practitioner Dora Tirado, Rolando Chang Barrero, Gallery owner & PBC Democratic Hispanic Caucus President, and Claudia Mendoza, former PBC Democratic Hispanic Caucus President.
Participants discussed Trump’s failures to address the coronavirus pandemic while Chairman Perez gave his heartfelt thanks to our healthcare workers and those in the frontline of the pandemic.
Rolando Chang Barrero discussed the fact that while approximately 1,783,304 Floridians gained health coverage, Florida rejected Medicaid expansion, preventing an additional 1,596,000 residents from gaining coverage, noting that he was one of them. Florida is among the worst states in the nation when it comes to people who are uninsured — an estimated 13.2 percent in 2019, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report.
Nikki Fried, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, echoed concerns about the nearly 8 million people in Florida who have a pre-existing condition and that their health care is at stake if Trump scraps the ACA.
COVID-19 is a public health crisis unlike any we’ve ever faced and with no end in sight, but according to the consensus in today’s conversation, elected officials such as Governor DeSantis and President Trump are acting like everything is fine – but everything is not fine.
An air of urgency lingered in the room knowing that President Trump has notoriously tried and failed multiple times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “All of the repeal bills that went through Congress would have caused millions of Americans to lose their health coverage and raised costs for millions more and would have ended Medicaid as we know it, putting the care of children, seniors, and people with disabilities at risk,” said Chang Barrero.
As the Trump administration supports overturning the entire Affordable Care Act that could put the care of millions of Americans at risk, it will hurt the Hispanic community that has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
“The Latino communities have been among the hardest hit by this crisis and Trump’s incompetent response,” said Chang Barrero. “A significant portion of the essential workforce are Latinos who have been dramatically exposed to this deadly virus. Data reveals that out of nearly 200,000 coronavirus deaths, more than 38,470 are Latinos. Donald Trump’s failure to contain the pandemic has had major consequences for the community’s most vulnerable population, those 65 and older.”
The Democratic National Convention recently launched a new digital ad campaign highlighting President Donald Trump’s “attacks on Floridians’ health care and his efforts to gut coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions, even in the middle of a pandemic.”
The ads blast Trump for his effort to rush a Supreme Court justice confirmation so he can strip away health care protections for more than 7.8 million Floridians with preexisting conditions.
DNC Chairman visits Hispanic-owned small business in West Palm Beach