Undocumented “CARE-van” Travels State to Urge Passage of “Health for All” Act

April 14, 2014

Immigrant groups rally around bill to heal exclusion of undocumented Californians from Obamacare

For immediate release: April 22, 2014

What: As the California Senate Health Committee prepares to hear SB 1005 (Lara), a landmark bill to expand the Affordable Care Act to all Californians, a group of immigrant community members and allies will embark on a 600-mile journey to urge passage of the measure, which could set a national model for immigrant inclusion. The activists will fill a van - dubbed a “CARE-van” -emblazoned with giant #health4all signs and travel across the state, holding community meetings and public events in five regions. The CARE-van will then spearhead a rally at the state Capitol on April 30, ahead of the hearing for the Health for All Act.

Who: CARE-van participants will include undocumented immigrants, immigrant youth with deferred action (DACA), and health advocates. Many have been hurt by lack of access to basic health care.

For example, Alessandro, an immigrant youth leader from Los Angeles, will join his mother on the CARE-van. Alessandro is the sole provider for his mother, who suffers from cancer and diabetes. Since she is shut out of the Affordable Care Act, she has not been able to access vital medications.  Under the Health for All Act, the family would be able to obtain affordable health care.

Dates and locations: listed below.

Media Visuals: 12-seat “CARE-van” bedecked with colorful signs, Large “Vapor Rub” bottles to symbolize how immigrant communities have been forced to rely for too long on home remedies, life-size Band-Aid props, chalkboard with hand-written “Health4all” messages, health-themed posters.

Background: The Health for All Act (SB 1005 by Sen. Ricardo Lara) would create a health care system that works for everyone in California. Under the proposal, immigrants who don’t have health care would either be able to pay an affordable price for health insurance in a statewide marketplace that mirrors Covered California,  or- for low-income families  -  get regular medical care through the state’s Medi-Cal program.

Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach), author of the Health for All Act, stated: “While we’ve made enormous strides to reduce California’s uninsured population with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we won’t have a truly healthy state until everyone has access to quality, affordable coverage. Excluding people from access to care hurts the overall health of our communities, and does not reflect California values.”

“We need the Health for all Act because no Californian should suffer or die from an easily preventable health condition, no matter where they were born. We’re all healthier when all of us are covered,” added Betzabel Estudillo, Health Policy Coordinator at the California Immigrant Policy Center, a youth leader who was formerly undocumented herself and is joining the CARE-van.

The CARE-van is inspired by an “undocumented caravan” organized by day laborers and immigrant youth last year to fight deportations.

More information on the #Health4all Undocu-CARE-van destinations, participants, and SB 1005 “Health for All” campaign efforts is available at: http://undocuhealth.blogspot.com/

Itinerary: (Live photo and filming opportunities available). After kicking off in Los Angeles, the caravan will head down to San Ysidro (San Diego), and pick up riders along the way from across the state as it makes stops in Santa Ana, Los Angeles, Pomona, and Fresno before arriving in Sacramento on April 30 for the Senate Health Committee’s hearing on the Health for All Act.

Tuesday, April 22, 6:00 PM. Los Angeles: Downtown UCLA Labor Center, 675 S Park View St. Kick-off event with special video launch. In partnership with Dream Resource Center.

Wednesday, April 23, 6:00 PM. San Diego: San Ysidro Health Clinic, 3364 Beyer Blvd. Community meeting. In partnership with San Diego Dream Team, Health Access, San Ysidro Health Clinic.

Thursday, April 24, 6:00 PM. Santa Ana: Kidworks, 817 S Townsend St. Community meeting. In partnership with Raíz and Orange County Dream Team.

Friday, April 25, 6:00 PM. Los Angeles: El Centro Del Pueblo, 1157 Lemoyne Street. Town hall for Health for All. In partnership with Health Access, ACCE, Young Invincibles, California Partnership, Planned Parenthood.

Saturday, April 26, 12:00. Pomona: City Hall, 505 South Garey Avenue. Media event featuring panel of immigrant families. In Partnership with Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition.

Monday, April 28, 6:00 PM. Fresno: Fresno Center for New Americans, 4879 E. Kings Canyon Road. Community meeting, in Partnership with Fresno Youth in Action, San Joaquin Immigrant Youth Coalition, Health Access, Building Healthy Communities in Fresno, SEIU-UHW, and Act For Women and Girls.

Wednesday, April 30

11:00 AM. Sacramento: West Steps of State Capitol. Rally for Health for All Act.

1:30 PM. Sacramento: Room 4203. Senate Health Committee hearing.