By Margarida Jorge, Lower Drug Prices Now & Orson Aguilar, UnidosUS Action Fund

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has turned all of our lives upside-down and led to a staggering toll of suffering and death. Effective drugs and vaccines will play an essential role in ending this nightmare and letting us all get on with our lives… But what if they invented a remedy for COVID-19 and you couldn’t afford it?”

What if a treatment for COVID-19, or a vaccine to prevent it, was finally approved and on the market but you couldn’t afford it? That’s no idle speculation. COVID-19 drug and vaccine profiteering is real, and puts us all at risk. And Arizona’s Latino families are likely to be hurt first — and worst.

Latino families are bearing the brunt of COVID-19 — from the pandemic itself, and we’ll also bear the brunt of the high cost of treatments and vaccines being developed to stop it.

In August, the CDC reported that the rate of COVID-19 cases for Latino Americans was nearly 3 times higher than for whites. In Arizona, Latinos make up nearly a third of the population but around 44% of the COVID-19 cases.


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Judge Amy Coney Barrett faced questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, the second day of her confirmation hearings for the U.S. Supreme Court. ( via NBC NEWS)

The Senate’s apparent rush to rubber-stamp Donald Trump’s appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court represents bad news for Latinos. Indeed, this judge — who comes with the seal of approval of the far-right Federalist Society — represents a threat to workers, immigrants and anyone
who needs health care.

As the Alliance for Justice has noted, Barrett’s record as a federal appellate judge on workers’ rights and civil rights is awful:

“For example, Barrett weakened Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — siding against a Black worker whose employer established a ‘separate-but-equal’ policy of segregating their employees by race. She ruled to gut protections for older workers. She overturned precedent to inhibit the ability of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect consumers. …


By: Orson Aguilar, UnidosUS Action Fund Executive Director

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Flames rage on Churchwood Drive as the Woolsey fire tears through Oak Park. (Wally Skalij/ Los Angeles Times)

Latino communities face disproportionate harm from climate change. More than half of U.S. Latinos live in states already feeling severe climate change impacts, from flooding and sea level rise in Florida to scorching heat waves in Texas to droughts and devastating wildfires in California. In many places, Latinos are the essential workers producing our food — we’re about half of U.S. crop and livestock production workers — and doing so in increasingly dangerous conditions as temperatures rise and weather becomes more unstable.

And climate change doesn’t travel alone. Burning the fossil fuels that have sent global temperatures soaring also produces lung-damaging pollution. Nearly half of U.S. Latinos live in counties that frequently violate standards for ground-level ozone, a dangerous pollutant. Cities with high percentages of Latinos, like San Antonio, Houston, Fresno and Los Angeles — consistently rank near the top of the American Lung Association’s annual list of most polluted cities. …


August 27, 2020

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Preamble
America’s strength is its people. Our country’s diversity has helped us innovate to solve problems, avoid cultural stagnation, become the most prosperous nation in history, and better navigate a complex world. However, the politics of division have grown more vicious in recent years, with extreme voices inciting Americans to mistrust and even hate people because of their race, religion, origin, or sexual orientation. These voices push policies to codify that mistrust into law, threatening our values, rights, economic and social well-being, and even our lives. …


“Failure to pass a bill that provides real relief will not only devastate those communities, but it will also send our entire economy into a further tailspin. The entire country will suffer.”

By Orson Aguilar, UnidosUS Action Fund Executive Director

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Certified nursing assistant Rosa Arenas has been home quarantining since May 2 after testing positive for COVID-19 at her apartment in Orange. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

At long last Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced his version of a new COVID-19 relief bill, a proposal he’s dubbed the “HEALS Act.” But McConnell’s bill doesn’t heal, it hurts. And it hurts the vulnerable most of all. With the nation already topping 150,000 deaths, McConnell’s bill fails to grasp the urgency of the pandemic.

The Republican bill will hurt many and will damage our already-struggling economy even further, but it will be particularly hard on some. As UnidosUS recently documented, Latinos and other people of color are overrepresented among the sick and dying, the unemployed and essential workers at risk of exposure to the virus. The most recent analysis from APM Research Lab found that Latinos are two and half times as likely as whites to die from COVID-19. …


Affordable Insulin NOW and Lower Drug Prices NOW.

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Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday growing up. It combined the best things about being a child: family, play, food and laughter. My relatives were always cracking jokes on each other and I couldn’t get enough. Some of the laughs were about a topic that was over my head at the time: living with diabetes and specifically, taking their daily insulin.

It was light-hearted jabs like “you stick me and then I’ll stick you” that I heard from tíos, tías, abuelos and other family members growing up. That’s part of Hispanic culture — to try to make difficult situations a little easier by making jokes. But the uncomic truth is that there are currently 30.3 million people across the country living with diabetes, lives that are impacted daily beyond the diagnosis which can sometimes result in tragic ends. I often reflect on that drastic number — 30.3 …


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By Albert Jacquez

In 1968, when adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage was $11.50 per hour. Today, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. That means that if you earned that wage and worked 40 hours a week, you would take home about $1037.43 a month after taxes. According to ApartmentList.com, the national median rent for a single bedroom apartment is $959 a month, so after paying rent, you would be left with $78.43 to spend on food, medical care, transportation, utilities, and everything else.

Think about it — $78.43. …


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By Albert Jacquez

In 2015 hedge fund manager Martin Shkeli raised the price of malaria medicine and key component of HIV medication from $13.50 to $750 per pill- overnight. This story made national news and put the drug corporations front and center in a heated debate about the price of prescription medicines in America.

All Americans are affected by the increased need for prescriptions to manage their health care, but not all Americans are equally affected. In reality pharmaceutical companies price gouging hurts low-income Americans, who don’t have medical insurance, disproportionately. …


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By Albert Jacquez

The House recently passed the Climate Action Now Act (H.R. 9) with 231 votes, three of which came from Republican House Members. The Climate Action Now Act requires the President to develop and annually update a plan for the United States to meet its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement on climate change to reduce greenhouse emissions. The proposed legislation also prohibits federal funds from being used to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. A similar bill has now been introduced by Senator Shaheen in the Senate.

Because the majority of Latinos in the United States live in Texas, California, and Florida, our communities directly experience the drastic effects of climate change. Latino communities in these states battle with extreme summer temperatures, smog, droughts, wildfires, floods, and hurricanes. According to research from the World Bank, the Rhodium Group, the Environmental Protection Agency, Nature and other sources which state extreme heat hurts farm worker productivity, which may result in an increase in the price of produce and the loss of jobs for many U.S. Latino farm workers. This is a double-edged sword for our community: a loss of income for many farm workers, and an inability to afford produce for low-income families across the country. Smart climate policies would help create high-paying, clean energy jobs and help save millions of people money on their electricity bills. …


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Por Albert Jacquez

La decisión de la Administración de Trump de cortar el Plan de Energía Limpia (CPE), creada durante la administración de Obama, forma parte de los ataques a las defensas medioambientales y demuestra una indiferencia descarada por las consecuencias que estas decisiones tendrán en la salud pública. Está claro que el administrador de la EPA, Scott Pruitt, olvidó lo que la “P” en su agencia ha defendido tradicionalmente: “Protección”. …

About

UnidosUS Action Fund

The UnidosUS Action Fund — working to empower the Latino community nationwide.

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