Senators Donovan M. Dela Cruz, Michelle N. Kidani, and Donna Mercado Kim Joined Latino Elected Officials for NALEO Legislative Summit on Health

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Senators Donovan M. Dela Cruz, Michelle N. Kidani, and Donna Mercado

Kim 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 on October 19-21, 2017.

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 (ACA), 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 are made to how Americans are able to access healthcare loom, there is concern that gains may be reversed. The NALEO Educational Fund’s Legislative Summit on Health provided Sens. Dela Cruz, Kidani, Kim and 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.

“We were given many opportunities to meet and speak with our peers from across the country,” said Sen Dela Cruz. “It’s a great feeling to be able to represent Hawai‘i.”

“This entire summit was very informative, we were able to listen and learn from many experts in different fields to gain a comprehensive overview of health care as a whole,” stated Sen. Kidani.

“Affordable healthcare is and continues to be an important issue for Hawai‘i, so the more insight we gain into what works and what may not, the better we can serve our communities,” said Sen. Kim.

Through the convening, Sens. Dela Cruz, Kidani, Kim 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 regarding the most effective ways to address the challenges and opportunities around healthcare delivery.

Topics addressed through the Summit curriculum 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. A full agenda is available at


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