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State REp. Armando “Mando” Martinez joins Latino elected officials for NALEO Legislative summit on Health

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WESLACO — State Representative Armando “Mando” Martinez (D-Weslaco) joined the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, the nation’s preeminent Latino leadership organization, and more than 30 other Latino state legislators from across the country for the NALEO Legislative Summit on Health held from October 20-21, 2017. Topics addressed through the Summit included: state health policy trends, Latino health and prevention strategies, the future of the Affordable Care Act, and the challenges of the American healthcare delivery system.

On the first day of the NALEO Legislative Summit, Representative Martinez chaired a hearing which covered the Affordable Care Act. Participants discussed the history of the law, recent changes made by the current administration, and options for delivering health care under the law moving forward. With Latinos representing the second largest population group in the nation, the overall health of the Latino community is intricately tied to the future of the United States. Under the Affordable Care Act, the rate of Latinos without health coverage decreased from 39 percent in 2013 to 29 percent in 2016. While an impressive gain, large numbers of Latinos still live without coverage even though more than half qualify.

As changes to how Americans are able to access healthcare loom, there is concern that gains may be reversed. The NALEO Legislative Summit on Health provided Representative Martinez and

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other state legislators with an opportunity to enhance their understanding of the major health policies and legislation that state legislatures will tackle in future legislative sessions.

This Summit convened national and state experts, advocates, and other relevant stakeholders to explore the role state legislators and other state and federal lawmakers play in the development and implementation of the various aspects of health care policy and its impact on state budgets and other policy areas.

“Health is a concern for all, regardless of color, income, or political party. Access to quality healthcare is important because of the impact it has on one’s quality of life,” stated Representative Martinez. “The 2017 NALEO Legislative Summit on Health brought together industry leaders and legislators from around the country to discuss problems and exchange potential solutions in healthcare.”

Through the convening of the NALEO Legislative Summit on Health, Representative Martinez and other state legislators had the opportunity to network with fellow colleagues and experts from throughout the country, receive timely information and exchange legislative policies and ideas around the most effective ways to address the challenges and opportunities around healthcare delivery. A full agenda is available at http://www.naleo.org/2017_health

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