“Obamacare” brings hope of medical coverage to Boyle Heights

Sep. 22, 2013 / By


José García and Teresa González recently applied for Medi-Cal at an Alta Med Clinic. Photo by Jonathan Olivares


José García gripped an envelope in a plastic bag as he and his wife sat in a crowded waiting room at the AltaMed Health Clinic on Whittier Boulevard at Rowan Avenue in East Los Angeles.

“We’re here to apply for Medi-Cal,” said García, 56, drawing attention to check stubs, marriage certificate and other legal documents stuffed into the bag.

The couple, who care for a grandchild and one teenager of their own, has only ever had health coverage for one year, about five years ago. They enjoyed the stability it gave them.

“I felt good, protected. For any little thing I would go in and they would immediately run tests,” said Teresa González, 51, García’s wife.

That feeling of security will soon be available to many of the 48.6 million uninsured Americans.

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, promises to provide affordable health insurance to many more Americans, starting in January.

California’s Medicaid program, called Medi-Cal, already covers most healthcare expenses for 7.6 million low-income Californians (mainly children, youth and women) at little cost to them.

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