Latino Outreach Could Bolster Support for Healthcare Overhaul

PHOTO: A new Latino Decisions survey indicates that Latinos think the Affordable Care Act is a good thing for the Hispanic community after they learn some basic information about it.

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Latinos are very interested in the Affordable Care Act but a new survey shows they don't know much about it yet.

Targeted outreach to the Hispanic community might go a long way, however, in increasing public support for the law.

The Obama administration is battling fierce opposition to implementation of the law from the Republican Party and looking to gain as much support as possible from allies. President Obama even spoke last week at a Planned Parenthood conference, becoming the first sitting president to address the group in person. The women's health advocacy organization has been a staunch supporter of the law and Obama said he will need help from it and other groups with implementation.

Latinos could fall into that category, but they don't yet. Hispanics generally support the law and they stand to be hugely impacted by it -- some studies indicate more than five million uninsured Latinos are likely to gain coverage -- but a new impreMedia-Latino Decisions survey indicates they find it confusing and are wary about how it will impact them.

More than half of Latinos surveyed said they were "not that informed" or "not at all informed" about President Obama's healthcare overhaul. More than two-thirds said the healthcare plan is confusing and less than 15 percent said public officials in Washington, D.C. took the health needs of the Latino community into account as the bill was developed and passed.

But the community is eager to know more -- nearly 90 percent said they want to learn more about the law.

Here's the interesting part: After they were provided some basic information about the law, three-quarters said it was a good thing for Latinos.

Those numbers indicate a couple of things. One, that more outreach specifically targeted at Latinos is needed. And two, that Latino support for the law increases after that outreach.

In other words, there's untapped support for the law in the Latino community. A little targeted outreach could harness it.

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