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The Inflation Reduction Bill (IRA): Cacarear es fácil, lo difícil es poner.

September 09, 2022

As this colorful Spanish saying says, “It’s easier to cackle than to lay eggs.”

Indeed, passing this bill was not easy.

But Democrats in Congress did it!!

The most consequential pieces of economic policy in recent U.S. history.

The new bill includes the largest investment in U.S. history to combat climate change, lower the cost of prescription drugs, and raise taxes on corporations.

That’s great. But what’s in it for Latinx?

Do we all know what it encompasses?

Here’s how this bills directly addresses the issues Latinx are facing right now:

HEALTH

Issues:

Latinx are three times less likely to have health care coverage.

Latinx face many challenges regarding available access to health care and medical treatments. Overall, Latinx adults are less likely than other Americans to have health insurance and receive preventative medical care.

Para muestra basta un botón (A small sample says it all): Latinx are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to die from diabetes; Hispanic adults are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes by a physician; and In 2017, Latinx were twice as likely to be hospitalized for treatment of end-stage renal disease related to diabetes, as compared to non-Hispanic whites.

What the IRA bill does:

The IRA will benefit everybody, by lowering health care costs, including prescription drug costs, and expanding health insurance coverage for Latinx families:

  • It caps the amount seniors will have to pay for insulin at $35 for a month’s supply.
  • The deal allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices for the first time and would prevent future administrations from refusing to do so.
  • It caps seniors’ drug costs under Medicare to $2,000 per year, 
  • forces drug companies to pay a rebate if they increase prices faster than the rate of inflation in Medicare,
  • provides free vaccines for seniors,
  • locks in lower monthly premiums – 80% of uninsured Latinx had access to a plan for $50 or less each month and 69% could find a plan for $0 a month in 2021.
  • The deal extends the tax credits of the Affordable Care Act for three more years, starting in 2023 and running through 2025, which will help keep free or low-cost health insurance available. Compared to before, Nearly 700,000 more Latinx will have health insurance coverage next year.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY COSTS

Issues:

Latinx are a lot  more engaged with the issue of global warming than are non-Latinx. Latinx are more convinced global warming is happening and human-caused, more worried about it, perceive greater risks, are more supportive of climate change policies, and are more willing to get involved politically. (Yale Program on Climate Change)

Nearly all Latinx (93%) say protecting the quality of the environment for future generations is very or somewhat important to them when thinking about proposals to reduce the effects of global climate change. Latinx are concerned about the well-being, both financial and overall, of their children and future generations.

According to research from PEWRC, about eight in ten U.S. Latinx (81%) say addressing global climate change is either a top concern or one of several important concerns to them personally.

There are many reasons for that.

  • They suffer one or more environmental issues daily in their local community, like too much garbage, air pollution, a lack of safe drinking water, the lack of parks and green space, and the pollution of lakes, rivers and streams.
  • They are overrepresented as workers in industries impacted by extreme weather, like agriculture and construction, according to an EPA study.
  • They’re also 43% more likely to live in areas that experience the most reductions in work hours because of extreme temperatures. (Axios)

Therefore, as Latinx work predominantly outside or without air conditioning, they are among those most prone to heat-related illnesses. This situation worsens as climate change makes conditions hotter, drier and more susceptible to wildfires, according to a report released in April by the nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Latinx agricultural and construction workers are particularly at risk from health hazards such as new and still-unknown diseases caused by allergens and pesticides, inadequate housing, unsanitary conditions, and more.

Not only that, but the consequences of global warming have also driven worldwide migration.  Many people from Latin America and the Caribbean had to make that wrenching decision, compelling them to move to the U.S.

Too many found themselves forced to choose between flight or death.

What the IRA bill does:

As it leads the way to climate change awareness, and by taking concrete actions, this bill will have an impact beyond our frontiers and thus help protect all Americans.

By protecting Public Health, the IRA recognizes that climate change disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color.

The Inflation Reduction Act takes the most aggressive action on climate and clean energy in American history. The legislation will bring down energy costs for families and create thousands of good jobs, all while reducing climate pollution and ensuring that we have a clean, secure future energy supply.

Overall, families that take advantage of clean energy tax credits can save more than $1,000 per year.

The IRA will fund various programs to reduce air pollution, including fenceline monitoring and screening near industrial facilities and schools, and air quality sensors in disadvantaged communities,

Designed to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure and economy against natural disaster and extreme weather events, it is creating a program to improve walkability, safety, and affordability, creating solutions to protect against extreme heat, flooding, and other impacts. These include provisions that will save small business owners money.

Last but not least, the IRA will…

MAKE THE TAX CODE FAIRER

The reforms will raise revenue only from the most profitable corporations and wealthy financial executives, creating sustainable revenue streams that will address both short-term and long-term economic challenges.

IRA will ensure that high-income people and large corporations pay the taxes they already owe.

It will crack down on larger, profitable corporations that currently get away with paying no federal income tax.

It’s also important to note that only individuals that make more than $400,000 in a year will see this tax raise, this will not affect the 99%.

But… ¡Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente!

As we understand from this saying in Spanish, if you snooze, you lose!

Or more to the point: This is not the time to sleep like that little prawn.

We’ve got to keep on working and here are some ideas:

Let’s discuss with our family and friends how climate change has affected our community, and why we should be concerned. According to polls, Latinx are the most concerned group, but that doesn’t mean everybody in our communities understands what is at stake. Growing awareness about the climate crisis within our own communities is crucial to taking action.

Let’s get out and vote, and convince others to vote.  Voting gives us a say about the future we leave our children.

Let’s help elect Latinx leaders, and urge them to take advantage of the IRA and rebuild better by investing in U.S. clean energy to create more jobs and lessen pollution.

We are 32+ million eligible Latinx voters. Let’s wake up to a lack of engagement, to voter suppression, and other factors slowing our progress.

Everyone should continue to engage and mobilize eligible Latinx voters to register and vote and work to stop voter suppression.

Let’s get involved. Latinx must use their leadership, and positions in the community to bring climate change to the head of policy priorities at the local, state and federal levels.

Let’s inspire more Latinx to run for public office, be civically engaged, and advocate to their representatives for equitable, comprehensive climate change policy.

Let’s fight for this together!

What do you think? Are you with us? 

We’d love to hear from you. Contact us at hi@moirastudio.com

 

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