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.
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