Latinos and the Political Earthquake in Massachusetts

There was that horrible earthquake that devastated Haiti. Last night, Massachusetts and the United States experienced a political earthquake that could be as in many ways as profound with the election of Republican Scott Brown over Democrat Martha Coakley to the U.S. Senate. And today is the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, which means that the Massachusetts debacle will be magnified by media assessments of the President's first year.

The immediate debate in Washington, D.C., among Democrats is how to tactically address the fate of the health insurance reform bill now that the filibuster-proof Senate is gone. Some want to push it through quickly before Scott Brown is seated, others want to wait, and some think the bill is dead. Word is that the White House prefers passing the Senate version of the health bill, which is the weaker of the two versions, but which they see as politically the most viable. The Republicans for the most part seem interested in killing the bill.

But whatever happens, two things seem clear. First, the Democratic Party and the president are now in the most defensive position they have been so far during this administration. Second, the Latino community is going to get screwed on health care . . . and immigration reform.

Both the House and Senate versions of the health insurance reform bills were highly flawed, raising serious questions that their description as "reform" applies. In both versions Latinos are disproportionately handicapped in our access to affordable health care, but more so in the Senate version. Part of the rumored White House strategy of supporting passage of the Senate version is that the president will fix it in the future. But this was a promise that then President Bill Clinton made in 1996 and broke about his welfare reform bill that created so many problems for Latino immigrants, including creating the five-year waiting period for legal permanent residents eligibility for federal health care programs that is such a problem today, despite being taxpayers. READ FULL STORY

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