#LAHealth4All Calls on LA County to Do More for Uninsured

April 16, 2014

Los Angeles County Supervisors and Department of Health Asked to Increase Funding for Safety Net for All Uninsured Angelenos

LA County is leading the Nation in plans to cover the uninsured, but Los Angeles leads the nation in need for a safety net

Los Angeles, April 16, 2014 – More than 70 people gathered at the steps of the LAC+USC Medical Center to call on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to increase funding for the County run health safety net today. Even after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions of low income people will be uninsured, including people who are undocumented and excluded from accessing the reforms of the ACA. Advocates for access to healthcare and immigrant rights were joined by labor unions, physicians, nurses, community clinics, and community members as part of the #LAHealth4All Coalition.

Dr. Shom Dasgupta, Medical Director of St. John’s Well Child and Family Centers, a community clinic serving Central and South Los Angeles, said of the lack of adequate funding “this has huge implications for our patients… can we say we live in a just society when we don’t provide these essential services? We believe that healthcare is a human right” to which Dasgupta added “it’s not just a right for citizens.”

Vanessa Aramayo, Director of California Partnership, a statewide network of community based organizations and one of the organizations leading the #LAHealth4All Coalition stated that Los Angeles County is leading the efforts to fulfill the promise of Health Care reform, stating that “California has been leading the nation in providing healthcare to low-income people, with more than 729,000 people enrolled early into the newly expanded Medi-Cal. Los Angeles County has been leading the state by enrolling 43% of that total.” She added that “we still have a long way to go, with possibly 4 million people remaining uninsured by 2019, nearly a million of those being undocumented, we must ensure that Los Angeles County provides a robust system of managed care for low-income people who don’t qualify for any other programs.”

“We know the benefits of giving patients a medical home,” said Anthony Wright,Executive Director of Health Access, ”providing primary and preventive care, and managing conditions like arthritis and diabetes prevents more severe and costly treatments later, such as emergency room visits and amputations.”

Victoria Ortega, Community Organizing Program Director of Clinica Romero, a network of community clinics serving the underserved communities of Greater Los Angeles added that “we have a segregated health care system. Segregation wasn’t ok in our schools; it’s not ok in our healthcare system!”

“Change needs to happen based on the needs of the communities of Los Angeles” said Illiana Garcia, a community organizer with LA Voice PICO who translated for her mother Graciela Villeda who is undocumented and uninsured. “When I get sick, I can’t work, and if I don’t work I don’t get paid. I still haven’t gotten the surgery I need” Graciela added, current programs “won’t cover the procedure until I am very sick or I can pay out of pocket for the procedure. I am here to create change in the system.”

The #LAHealth4All Coalition will continue to pressure the LA County Board of Supervisors and the Department of Health Services until they increase funding for these programs. Many members of the Coalition are also working to support the #Health4All bill, SB 1005 (Lara) a bill in the State Senate that aims to create programs that will provide healthcare for the undocumented and any others that are excluded from accessing the low- and no-cost health care programs created by the Affordable Care Act.

For more information:

Jeff Brewer, California Partnership, (213) 700-6276 [email protected]

Organizations Who Support #LAHealth4All:   Alliance for Children’s Rights, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE),  American Federation of State, County, City, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME),  California Immigrant Policy Center, California Partnership, Children Now, Children’ Defense Fund California, Clinica Monsenor Oscar Romero, Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles (CHIRLA),  Community Health Councils, Health Access, Hunger Action Los Angeles,  Korean Resource Center,  L.A. VOICE/PICO, Labor United for Universal Healthcare, Maternal and Child Health Access,  Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles ,ONE L.A. IAF, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, Saint John’s Well Child and Family Center,  SEIU Local 721 SEIU/UHW (United Healthcare Workers West), St John’s Well Child and Family Center, The Children’s Partnership, The Wall Las Memorias Project, Vision y Compromiso, Young Invincibles