Spanish language media companies joined together on Thursday to host a town hall meeting with President Barack Obama at the Newseum in Washington, DC, aimed at getting millions of uninsured Latinos to sign up for the Affordable Care Act (ACA.) The town hall, “Tu Salud y La Nueva Ley: Conversación con el Presidente (“Your Health and the New Law: A Conversation with the President”) addressed issues and concerns that have been seen as barriers to health insurance enrollment for the Latino community.
The town hall was part of The California Endowment’s* Asegúrate campaign’s “Countdown to Coverage,” held as the open enrollment period for 2014 health insurance coverage under the ACA nears its end on March 31.
Nationwide, Latinos make up 17 percent of the population, yet account for more than one third of people in the U.S. without insurance. Latinos are more likely to be uninsured than any other ethnic group in the U.S. In California, nearly 60 percent of the uninsured are Latino.
In response to the huge enrollment gap, The California Endowment developed the Asegúrate media partnership to reach millions of low-income, uninsured Latinos in California and get them enrolled in health coverage.
According to the Endowment, in many immigrant communities, fear and anxiety over deportation have kept Latinos from enrolling family members, including U.S. born children, in health coverage. Currently, there are approximately 10.2 million eligible but uninsured Latinos in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“For everybody out there who’s in a mixed family, there is no sharing of the data from the health care plan into immigration services. You should feel confident that if somebody in your family is eligible, you should sign them up,” said President Obama.
“The success of Affordable Care Act depends on enrollment. And that means getting Latinos enrolled. President Obama’s support today will go a long way, especially his reassurance that enrollment information cannot be used for immigration enforcement purposes. Fear of deportation is very real in our communities and hopefully after hearing our President today, that will no longer be the case,” said Daniel Zingale, Senior Vice President at The California Endowment.
During the first half hour of the town hall, Spanish language journalists asked President Obama questions about the law and its impact on the Latino community. The second half of the town hall featured experts who took questions from the audience. Panelists included:
- Mayra Alvarez, Director of Public Health Policy in the Office of Health Reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Annette Raveneau, National Latino Press Secretary and Regional Communications Director at Enroll America
- Clarissa Martinez, Director of Civic Engagement and Immigration at National Council of La Raza
- Yándary Zavala, Communications Project Manager, Voto Latino
- Maria Beltran, California Outreach Coordinator, Young Invincibles
Broadcasts dates and times of the town hall meeting are:
Saturday March 6:
Galavision at 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. CST/7 p.m. PST
Telemundo at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST/8 p.m. PST
Sunday, March 9
Univision KMEX Los Angeles Time 6 a.m.
*The California Endowment is a funder of the California Health Report.