Health Reform Means Not Going to Mexicali for Care

May. 15, 2013 / By

Alejandra Alarcon, as a baby with her older sister Gabriela and brother Robert, in the family van. Their mother usually made the van comfortable for the long trips to Mexicali.

Alejandra Alarcon, as a baby with her older sister Gabriela and brother Robert, in the family van. Their mother usually made the van comfortable for the long trips to Mexicali.

ALEJANDRA ALARCON/Coachella Unincorporated

COACHELLA — Like a lot of other families living in the Eastern Coachella Valley, when one of our family members fell sick, it meant driving about a hundred miles across the border into Mexico, to the City of Mexicali, to get taken care of by a doctor. The only other option, it seemed, was not being taken care of at all.

Now, because of healthcare reform efforts in the United States, young people growing up today in the Eastern Coachella Valley – the unincorporated rural communities of southern Riverside County — don’t need to go without health insurance the way I did. The scenario is finally beginning to change. At least, it can change – if people here are made aware of the health services now available to them through federal health care reform, right in their own community.

“We owe it to our country to inform the citizens to take advantage of all these resources that are available,” said Ronnie Cho, associate director of public engagement for the White House, during a speech about health care reform that I attended in Washington D.C. as a reporter last April.

Cho is right. For the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to make a difference, people need to first be aware that health care is an option for them. People need to know that they can afford to visit a doctor, without having to stray more than a few miles away from their home.

Read more at Coachella Unincorporated

 

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Coachella Unincorporated

Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.