Undocumented Need Access To Healthcare Too, Sen. Lara Says

Sep. 12, 2014 / By

Healthcare enrollment continues to be a pressing issue, as many immigrants are left out of the health reforms or are confused about what benefits they fall under. In the video below, VoiceWaves looks at who is enrolled under healthcare coverage so far, who is left out, and what can be done about it.

In one success story, an undocumented youth from Long Beach, Adalhi Montes, had spent years of his life without health insurance until he enrolled through healthcare reforms. The state of California provided him, and many other DACA beneficiaries like him, with Medi-Cal as part of the health reform expansion in recent years.

But not all are able to sing praises. Sitting beside Adalhi at the press briefing on Healthcare enrollment last week, was Alessandro Negrete, an undocumented youth who is too old to receive DACA benefits. He was denied access to the medical care coverage Montes has.

“Access to health care should be a human right. Immigrant communities provide a lot for California, so we’re at a time when California should provide a lot for immigrant communities,” Negrete said.

The press briefing in downtown Los Angeles gathered community advocates like Negrete, Montes, with media hubs and a state senator, Ricardo Lara, to discuss gaps in coverage.

“Healthcare is the civil rights issue of our generation,” Lara said.

According to the numbers, 1.4 million Californians have enrolled in Covered California, as 2.7 million have been deemed eligible for Medi-Cal, according to Dr. John Connolly from the Insure the Uninsured Project. He added that of the estimated 3 million expected to still be without coverage in 2019, roughly about half of them will be undocumented.

Senator Ricardo Lara’s bill, The Health For All Act, will be reintroduced into the state congress to close the coverage gap, the senator himself said at the press briefing.

“It’s going to cost less in the long run. We’re going to have a healthier community. And we’re going to ensure access to everyone,” he said.

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Michael Lozano

Michael is an editor and multimedia journalist born to Mexican parents who started their own Domestic Violence counseling center in Southeast Los Angeles. His mentorship has provided youth opportunities to share their stories online on NPR, KCET, the Long Beach Post, and other national websites. His articles have been syndicated and translated into multiple languages via New America Media and ImpreMedia, the nation’s largest Spanish-language news publisher. He was a fellow with UCLA's Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies, and has recently been a Votebeat Reporter for CalMatters and the Long Beach Post. Michael graduated from CSULB in 2011 with research honors in Sociology and a Journalism minor. Follow his work @chicanochico on Twitter and @thechicanochicoreport on Instagram.