Here at HUD our mission is to promote strong communities and affordable housing for the American people. A key factor in achieving these goals is making sure people have access to quality, affordable health care.
Compared to the general population, individuals in HUD-assisted housing are more likely to use emergency rooms and have health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.
In general, uninsured residents are required to pay more for medical services and more likely to incur substantial medical debt, a leading cause of bankruptcy. Health problems can lead to job loss, an inability to pay rent and utilities, and bankruptcy- all of which increase the likelihood of eviction or foreclosure and create a greater need for HUD assistance.
The Affordable Care Act is already strengthening health benefits and expanding coverage for Americans, and will provide affordable, quality health plans for the many consumers and small business owners who are applying for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces – including many who will be getting insurance for the first time.
As the President has said, the Affordable Care Act is more than a website – it’s affordable, quality health insurance made available to everyone. So even as the Administration continues to fix the problems with the health care website, across the country millions of people who lack affordable options today are checking out their new options. And millions more who have coverage today are already receiving benefits – keeping their kids on their plans, not getting dropped for having a pre-existing condition, accessing preventative services.
For individuals already living in HUD-assisted housing, the benefits of the Affordable Care Act are making it easier become more self-sufficient, reducing their need for HUD assistance.
The individuals and families that HUD provides assistance to are among the most vulnerable in our society. The average income for a HUD assisted family is $12,000. In families already fighting to make ends meet, the last thing they need is to be faced with the impossible choice of paying for health care or paying the rent.
That is why today Secretary Donovan is in Tampa, Florida to discuss the importance of reaching out individuals living in HUD-assisted housing, who are eligible for Medicaid and other health programs, but are not currently enrolled. This would also include people who live in affordable housing under the HOME program and residents in areas where median income and eligibility for HUD assistance may be higher than the Medicaid eligibility standard.
Making sure people have access to quality, affordable housing and health care go hand in hand in promoting the well-being of all Americans and our economy.