Arizona for Health Care

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Arizona for Health Care is part of the national group Americans for Health Care. It’s a group made of working families, small business owners, seniors, health care workers, community leaders, and policy makers who fight for affordable, quality care. We’ll compare each of the Presidential Candidates’ positions on health care and how they might impact the Latino community. Guests include: Julia Greene, Director, Arizona for Health Care.

>> José Cárdenas:
Good evening, I'm José Cárdenas. Tonight on "Horizonte" we'll tell you about a national coalition's plan to keep a close watch on polling places next Tuesday and help ensure voter protection. Also where do the presidential candidates stand when it comes to healthcare? A look at the differences and how they might impact the Latino community. And analyzing the future of the Hispanic consumer. The 2000 elections were a wake-up call for the electoral process exposing the need to safeguard voters' rights. Election Protection 2004 an aim to do. Trained volunteers will monitor polls next week and answer any last-minute questions voters may have. Joining us is John Hartsell. Thank you for joining us this evening. Tell us first about the genesis of election protection 2004.

>> John Hartsell:
You know, first of all, I would like to thank you for having me this evening. 2000 was an interesting year in elections. It was very competitive. There were a lot of voters turning out in 2000. Florida is something that everybody knows what happened there. There were felons purged from voter rolls and folks with the similar name or same name were also purged from the voter roll, folks that were not able to vote. More than 4 million voters nationally that were disenfranchised throughout the country that didn't get a chance to vote. Their ballot was not cast on Election Day.

>> José Cárdenas:
That resulted in the formation of the coalition?

>> John Hartsell:
Absolutely. People for the American way created a sister organization, and that's who we are. We're out to protect voters in this election cycle.

>> José Cárdenas:
Who are the members of the coalition?

>> John Hartsell:
The members of the coalition range from ACLU, NAACP, the AFL/CIO, and here in Arizona we have the Arizona leadership institute and the Arizona advocacy network working with us currently.

>> José Cárdenas:
As I understand it the coalition is going to be focusing on specific states on election date, is that right?

>> John Hartsell:
That's right. Weaver 17 targeted states, 9 are top tier states, and those were chosen by organizations that are on the Department of Justice's list of quote-unquote bad states.

>> José Cárdenas :
Meaning what?

>> John Hartsell:
These states have to have pre-clearance any time they change an election law and that stems from a voter -- a history of voter problems and election problems.

>> José Cárdenas:
And Arizona is one of those states?

>> John Hartsell:
Arizona is one of those states going back to the 1962, '64 operation eagle eye.

>> José Cárdenas:
The other states in that 17-state group, what's the basis for their being selected?

>> John Hartsell:
The nine top tier states are on the D.O.J. list. The other 17 states are primarily battleground states where we expect high competition and the presidential race, and very high turnout.

>> José Cárdenas:
Now, why does battleground state equate with a place where election proceed tech needs to go.

>> John Hartsell:
Those are going to be the most competitive states and those are where we expect to say maybe some problems in this election psyche pull.

>> José Cárdenas:
What kinds of problems do you anticipate?

>> John Hartsell:
Problems can occur as unintentional, campaign law is very complex and it's hard to teach a poll worker in an hour-and-a-half what each voter's rights are and what all components of election law are. So where -- we're there as a supplement to help out with the Secretary of State's office and the county recorder's office and help them make sure each voter gets a chance to cast their ballot.

>> José Cárdenas:
A lot has been done since the 2000 elections to improve the electoral process.

>> John Hartsell:
Sure it has. The most major component of what's happened, the help America vote act, basically makes it so every state has a provisional ballot, and so anybody that goes to vote on election day is going to have an opportunity, if their name happens not to be on a voter roll, or they forgot to turn in there their vote by mail ballot, they're going to have an opportunity to vote a provisional ballot in this state.

>> José Cárdenas:
Yet if you read the newspapers, now we're fighting about the provisional balloting.

>> John Hartsell:
A provisional ballot is a very simple thing. If you walk into a polling place and your name is not on the voter roll, first thing to do is to make sure you're in the right polling place and you can ask the poll workers for that information. But if you aren't on the voter roll and you know you're registered to vote, you simply have to ask to vote a provisional ballot. That means it's a ballot to be verified. Later that evening the ballot will go to the county recorder's office and they will verify you are a registered voter at that precinct.

>> José Cárdenas:
I want to talk a little bit exactly about what's going to happen on election day. Before we get into that, have we run into any problems here in Arizona?

>> John Hartsell:
We've had a couple of problems. One is that the county recorder's office because of the number of new registered voters in the state and the number of people that are requesting early ballots or vote by mail ballots, it's roughly 55% of the electorate throughout the state that will be voting by mail, we've seen a lot of problems in back logs, mail-in ballots being submitted back or coming to the actual voter. Myself personally, I didn't get my ballot until two days ago, and I requested it about three months ago.

>> José Cárdenas:
What do people like you do?

>> John Harstell:
You call the recorder's office and you can call down to the county recorder's office and request that ballot. At this point, though, you're not going to get that ballot in time to mail it back to the record recorder's office. So what we suggest you do is fill it out and return that ballot to the recorder's office or hold onto it until election day and drop that off at any polling location in the state.

>> José Cárdenas:
But we had talked a little bit off camera about one of the problems that may arise on returning the ballot and you have to under some circumstances return it to your precinct. Can you talk about that?

>> John Harstell:
Right. It's the case that if you actually lost your vote by mail ballot or you actually never received a vote by mail ballot, if you requested one and you lost it or never received it, you have to vote a provisional ballot at your polling place.

>> José Cárdenas:
As I understand it, you were talking before about the number of new registrants, it's almost 500,000, isn't that right?

>> John Harstell:
That's right. It's very exciting time in Arizona, 479,000 new registrants throughout the State of Arizona. I would like to mention that more than 200,000 are members of the Latino community. So this is going to be very important to this election cycle that these new voters have an opportunity to vote and vote without interference.

>> José Cárdenas:
And, in fact, the focus of election protection 2004 is on the Latino vote, is it not?

>> John Harstell: That's right, in Arizona, and throughout the nation, our focus is on communities of color.

>> José Cárdenas: Why is that?

>> John Harstell:
That's where a lot of problems have occurred in the past. In Arizona, the issues are going to be very simple, Spanish-language ballots for people who prefer to read Spanish and bilingual speakers at polling plays. Those are going to be the two major problems we see on Election Day. Those are unintentional and we want to make sure we can remedy that as soon as possible as soon as possible on Election Day. We have over a thousand volunteers that will poll monitoring and we have over 200 attorneys that will be working for us on Election Day.

>> José Cárdenas:
And they will be working for the organization as opposed to either one of the parties?

>> John Harstell:
That's right. These are nonpartisan volunteers who will bewaring no partisan gear or anything like that, no buttons, no shirts. They will be wearing our shirts that say you have the right to vote. And so we will have the ability to assist voters in the polling place if requested.

>> José Cárdenas:
One of the concerns that's been expressed, at least at the national level, is that minority voters, Latino, African-American, will be intimidated at the polling places. Do you anticipate that happening in Arizona?

>> John Harstell:
You know, we really don't anticipate a lot of problems. Arizona over the last few election cycles has not had a lot of problems. However, we also haven't had a program like this to document what problems may have occurred. So we're not anticipating problems. We hope nothing more than Election Day goes smoothly and there there's no problems. But if there are, we're going to be there to help and document that information.

>> José Cárdenas: You're going to be -- the organization is going to be doing some activities prior to Election Day. Tell us about that.

>> John Harstell:

Over this weekend we have about 500 of our 1,000 volunteers coming into Arizona. These folks are going to be knocking on doors in our 145 targeted precincts handing out our voter bill of rights and telling voters where to vote on November 2nd.

>> José Cárdenas:
How did you identify the targeted precincts?

>> John Harstell:
Our targeted precincts, it's very simple, we have 70% Spanish surname by census cat data in our precinct. If a precinct had more than 70% Latino population, we targeted that precinct.

>> José Cárdenas:
What types of things will you be sharing with people with you knock on the doors, telling them where to vote, what else?

>> John Harstell:
That's right. We'll make sure they know where their polling place is first of all. Secondly, we'll talk to them about what their rights are as a voter. A lot of folks -- since 2000, a lot of folks are thinking their vote is not going to count. We want to take that away from folks and make sure they understand that their vote is going to count and it's important that they vote on November 2nd.

>> José Cárdenas:
Got a lot of first-time voters in this election?

>> John Harstell:
That's right.

>> José Cárdenas:
We're just about out of time any concluding thoughts?

>> John Harstell:
I would like to let voters know if they do encounter a problem on Election Day, they can contact us. Our hotline number is 1-866-ourvote. With rising healthcare premiums and prescription drug costs, healthcare is an important issue this election year.

>> José Cárdenas:
John Harstell thanks for being here. With rising healthcare and prescription costs healthcare is an important issue. Mike Sauceda tells us about a group dedicated to the fight for affordable healthcare.

>> Reporter Mike Sauceda:
Arizona for healthcare is a group part of a national organization called Americans for healthcare. Their mission is to push for affordable accessible and quality healthcare for all. According to Arizona for healthcare, almost 1 million people in Arizona are uninsured. 33% are Hispanics compared to 12% of Caucasians and 21% of African-Americans. In addition, 29% of the uninsured are children under the age of 18 and most of these children are Latino. According to the Pugh Hispanic Center and Kaiser Family Foundation national survey of Latinos in March of 2004, over one-third of Latino adults report lacking health insurance. In addition, almost 6 in 10 of those who do have health insurance say they personally know someone who does not. With less than one week left to the presidential election, let's look at where the candidates stand on some healthcare issues. President Bush's proposals provide $4 billion to encourage states to set up pools to buy insurance for poor people. Spend $1 billion enrolling children who are eligible but not signed up for government programs. Enact laws limiting medical malpractice lawsuits and damage awards. Here are some of Senator John Kerry's proposals. Create a congressional health plan in which people could buy insurance at group rates from the same programs that insure Congress. Guarantee health insurance for every child in America. Have the federal government pick up part of the cost of catastrophic care to control the cost of insurance premiums.

>> José Cárdenas:
Here with us to talk more about President Bush and Senator Kerry's healthcare plans is Julia Greene, the director of Arizona for Healthcare. Julia, welcome to "Horizonte."

>> Julia Greene:
Hi.

>> José Cárdenas:
Tell us again about what Arizonans for Healthcare is all about.

>> Julia Greene: We're actually a state project of Americans for Healthcare and we're a project of the Service Employees International Union. We're the largest healthcare worker union in the country, and why we formed this was about two or three years ago because of the eroding healthcare insurance for all employees, and we felt there was no leadership. So we created Americans for Healthcare to start working state by state and hopefully on a national program in the next few years.

>> José Cárdenas:
There's been a lot of discussion at least recently in the news about healthcare, but do you think that the candidates have talked enough this subject?

>> Julia Greene:
Not enough, because everything is sound bites. So they haven't gone into as many details as some of our information gives on the two plans that the candidates offer.

>> José Cárdena:
Do you think the voting public got useful information from the debates?

>> Julia Greene:
They got some. They got some. Yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
But not enough?

>> Julia Greene:

Not enough.

>> José Cárdenas:
Let's talk a little about some of the specifics of each candidate's healthcare plans. I want to go through some of the various areas and then we'll come back and fill in. Flex spending accounts, explain that and tell with us the candidates --

>> Julia Greene:
The flexible -- you mean the healthplan -- the health savings accounts, is that what you mean?

>> José Cárdenas:
Yes.

>> Julia Greene:
Well, that's a big plan that President Bush is pushing actually, and how that is actually the individual will have more control over it than the businesses that are offering it. So there's money put in, very much like a 401(k) or IRA, and it's not taxed, that money, and if it's used on healthcare. So that account would be building up over a number of years. I think those accounts are a good idea for people who are younger and don't have many healthcare problems and they can build up a sizable account over the years if they're keeping that money aside, but for older Americans it may not be the best route.

>> José Cárdenas:
Let's talk about retirees 54 to -- 55 to 64. How do they fare under the competing plans?

>> Julia Greene:
Under the competing plans? Well, Bush doesn't really -- the Bush plan doesn't really address the people 55-65, the early retirees. John Kerry is suggesting -- actually he is suggesting a program that would include -- that would be also -- also be included not only for the retirees but also for small business where they would create a large national healthcare pool that the small businesses could buy into. Actually modeled after the federal health insurance plan for federal employees, which is already structured and in place and offer some of the most competitive rates, and people are able to choose their plan. So to expand that to include small businesses and then also the people who are early retirees could also buy into that plan as well. So they'd have that luxury and then they would also be able to get a tax credit if their income was at a certain level, low-income level.

>> José Cárdenas:
Prescription - drugs has certainly been a hot button issue during this campaign. Tell us about how that's treated under the competing plan.

>> Julia Greene:
Well, the prescription -- I think that the prescription drug plan that has been -- that was passed this -- earlier this year is not a very good one because basically it has -- doesn't lower much of the prescription costs. It has nothing to control those. So -- it also precludes people from going to Canada, and we hear all about how people are going over the border to buy their prescription -- prescription drugs. I think Kerry says he would allow people to go to Canada and buy drugs. It wouldn't be unlawful. And what would be good about that, at least it might help lower the price in -- on the American market because then there would be at least competition from abroad.

>> José Cárdenas:
Finally, how do the unemployed fare under the two plans?

>> Julia Green:
The unemployed fare -- again, bush doesn't really offer a plan for the unemployed, but Kerry does, and what Kerry is saying is basically -- what happens a lot are people opt out of not taking the cobra, and we found this a lot in Arizona. We're collecting -- we're having people sign up as I'm a healthcare voter cards all over the county of Maricopa. So we've met people in different places and we've found a lot of young couples who have said they actually opted out when they had to -- when they had gotten a new job, and you have to wait that month and you're supposed to take your cobra, but for a family -- a young family, that's $800 or more for that month, and so a lot of people say, well, I'll just ride it out and see how I fare. So we have met people who then -- their kid had never been sick and then they have to go to the emergency room and then they're hit with a $5,000 bill because they didn't take the cobra. I think there is a good incentive under the Kerry plan is they can get a tax credit for that money they spend on the cobra, and there's no tax credit under the Bush plan. So that would help people who opt out of it because they think that's too large of a cost.

>> José Cárdenas:
As I understand it, Americans for healthcare is officially nonpartisan, right?

>> Julia Greene:
Yeah.

>> José Cárdenas:
I gather from your comments and what I have seen from some of the materials, you have determined the Kerry plan is better than the bush plan; is that right?

>> Julia Greene:
Yeah, I would say --

>> José Cárdenas:
Why is that?

>> Julia Greene:
Under the Kerry plan it proposes to ensure 27 million more people and most of those are children. In fact it proposes to insure all children, which is a big deal for us. We really care about that a lot. 27 million, as opposed to the bush plan that only proposes to ensure another 2.5 million. So the number is dramatic. At the same time, we would still like to see more -- even if everything that Kerry is proposing is there, we'd like to see more progress on healthcare because there's still another 18 million people even under the Kerry plan that would still be uninsured.

>> José Cárdenas :
How will these plans affect Latinos?

>> Julia Greene:
How will they affect Latinos? I think here in Arizona 33% of Latinos are uninsured, and they're the largest group by far, compared to the Anglo community, which is only 12% and African community which I think is 21%. So Latinos have the most -- the greatest uninsured population here in Arizona. So anything that's done to increase the number of uninsured -- number of insured here in Arizona will dramatically affect that group, the Latino community. So...

>> José Cárdenas:
There's another more Arizona focused issue that your group is talking about, and that's the healthcare district elections.

>> Julia Greene:
Yeah.

>> José Cárdenas:
What's going on there?

>> Julia Greene:
With the special healthcare district, it was separated out from the county last year under proposition 414, and the voters voted to create a special healthcare district, which is like a school district and it has its own taxing authority now. So I think that's a good thing it's separated out of the county government. Right now, the first time ever board will be elected for the special healthcare district, and we think this is key that people really elect a board that wants to see the hospital healthcare system continue as a safety net system that takes care of the uninsured and poor of Maricopa's community because there are some people -- there are some of the candidates who actually talk about that they don't want to see any more support going into the hospital system and they want to see it self-sufficient, even if it means closing that system down. So we're really trying to get education out there for people to vote the healthcare district and vote keeping it as a strong public hospital system for everyone.

>> José Cárdenas:
Again, focused principally on Latinos?

>> Julia Greene:
Yeah, because they're the -- again, and it's probably because they're the largest uninsured community here, so they're the largest users of the healthcare district as well.

>> José Cárdenas:
Julia, thank you for sharing your information with us tonight.

>> Julia Greene:
All right. Thank you.

>> José Cárdenas:
Much appreciate it. The economy is also a priority for many Latinos voters. According to a new report, Hispanics buying power is estimated to be almost $700 billion this year, and is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2030. How are companies trying to capture this market? Here with us is Dr. Loui Olivos. He is we with the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU. Dr. Olivos put together the Datos 2004 Annual Survey on the Hispanic market. Dr. Olivos, welcome back to "Horizonte." We've had you on the show before to talk specifically about Datos, and I would like to start by asking you to tell us, anything surprising in this year's results.

>> Dr. Loui Olivas:
Absolutely, what was incredible to the research team comprised of MBA students in the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU, some nuggets jump out at us. Number one, in Arizona, between 2000 and 2002, Arizona had the largest increase of the Hispanic population in the nation. It's a great secret to a lot of folks.

>> José Cárdenas:
Largest percentage increase.

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:
12%.

>> José Cárdenas:
More than California, more than Texas.

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:
Absolutely. Those states are third and fourth in line. Number two, to take a look at the market segmentation as corporations like to call it. When you look at the Hispanic population, there's Hispanics of Mexican origin, of Cuban, Puerto Rican, central, South American. What was fascinating to find is in 37 of the 48 contiguous states, the majority are of Mexican origin, which speaks volumes to how you then market to this Hispanic community dominated by the Mexican origin community.

>> José Cárdenas:
Which runs a little down -- counter to what we have been hearing if that I recall correctly, the emphasis seems to be on the diversity of the Hispanic market, Cubans, south Americans, central Americans, and if I understand you correctly, there may be many more people from those countries, or countries of that origin, but nevertheless, the Mexican origin population is as big, if not bigger, than it ever has been.

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:
Absolutely. And it continues to grow because of the second and third generation. When you look at second generation growth of Hispanics, growing at 58% in comparison to 28% of first generation projected between the year 2000 and the year 2010 --

>> José Cárdenas:
It's not the increase in immigration from Mexico causing this?

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:
Far from it. It's the second-generation increase of that Hispanic population. And that will continue to drive into the next decade.

>> José Cárdenas:
What else jumped out at you in this year's analysis?

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:
We tracked since 1980 the Hispanic population in the U.S. is growing at five times that of the general population, and when you speak to general population, you got to remember that also includes the Hispanic population. That's also true, by the way, of Arizona. Interesting finding. The other finding is on the percent growth of the purchasing power of the Hispanic population. That's where you see a lot of corporations today paying more attention. Since 1990, the Hispanic purchasing power has been growing twice that of the general population, 8.8 to 4.6. So in today's purchasing power, the Hispanic purchasing power in the U.S. is 9th largest behind Canada yet well ahead of Spain and Mexico, and should this trend continue, and all indications are, even, Jose, if it were to drop to 6.6%, not at the 8.8 rate over the last 13 years, we will reach $3 trillion in 2025. Placing the Hispanic purchasing power in America as the fourth largest purchasing power in the world, U.S. first, China second, Japan third, and then the Hispanic population in America is fourth.

>> José Cárdenas:
Where does Arizona rank when it comes to Hispanic buying power?

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:
Arizona ranks seventh, 19 billion and growing. Growing much faster than the general population of Arizona. So that speaks well to the economy because with an increasing purchasing power it means that corporations are selling to an increasing share of market called Hispanic. Remember, the majority of the products and services purchased by Hispanics in Arizona are that of non-Hispanic in entity.

>> José Cárdenas:
You would expect that this will change as there's greater appreciation for the growth of the Hispanic buying power?

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:
No question, because they're helping to fuel the economy. They're having to subsist when they're here whether they're documented or undocumented, whether they're here legal, and with that comes the purchasing power of home, purchasing power of every convenient view that you purchase a home with and equipped a home with, and so it bodes well for the economy of Arizona because Arizona's economy is benefiting from that growth.

>> José Cárdenas:
What does it mean in particular for marketing strategy?

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:
From a marketing strategy perspective, it speaks to growing share of the market, what is the language characteristics, what are the nuances that makes the Hispanic purchasing power and purchasing behavior different than general market. So if you get into the hearts and minds of that consumer, you can sell to that consumer.

>> José Cárdenas:
Dr. Olvidas, I want to talk a little about how you gathered the data. Can you fill us in on that that.

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:
Absolutely. We're fortunate to have a dead grated group of MBA students in the W.P. Carey school that work with me. We go to all the sources, the U.S. bureau of census. We go to other secondary sources and other publications and we mine the data. The reports are there. The tables are there. It's making sense out of what has been reported so that it's presented in a realistic fashion that has meaning to the economy and meaning to the purchasers.

>> José Cárdenas:
We've already made some reference to second generation Hispanics. Did you find anything else of interest with respect to that group?

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:

What we're finding is that group is also increasing in their purchasing power and increasing in educational attainment, and so one goes with the other. The higher level of education, the greater you're purchasing power. And also continues that that second generation is not as mobile as the first generation. So when you're born into the area, the economy as a second generation Arizonan, you will tend to stay there.

>> José Cárdenas:
You mean upwardly mobile economically?

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:
Absolutely.

>> José Cárdenas :

Dr. Olvidas, thank you for sharing this fascinating information about Datos 2004. We look forward to having you back for Datos 2005.

>> Dr. Loui Olvidas:
Thank you very much.

>> José Cárdenas:
Thank you. And thank you for joining us on "Horizonte." I'm José Cárdenas. Have a good evening.

Julia Greene: Director, Arizona for Healthcare;

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