The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act introduced many changes to the American health care system in an effort to make access to health care more available to American citizens and residents. Some of the most significant changes included the creation of federal and state run health exchange through which eligible residents can compare and purchase health plans. The exchanges were coupled with a series of and federally funded subsidies to make the plans more affordable. On top of this, the law expanded coverage for Medicaid to all persons with an income up to 138% of the federal poverty line. Despite the promises of universal coverage, the law was designed with an explicit exclusion of undocumented immigrants, and later through executive order the President excluded DACAmented people.
Despite these explicit exclusions of marginalized immigrant communities under federal law, the state of California now finds itself in a position to continue leading the way toward acceptance and inclusion of undocumented immigrant communities. On February 14, 2014 State Senator Ricardo Lara introduced The Health for All Act (SB 1005), an act that promises to expand health insurance coverage to individuals who are currently excluded by the Affordable Care Act through the state run Medi-Cal program if they meet income requirements, or through an exchange program where they can purchase private health insurance.
Since then, the Orange County Dream Team has begun to organize around the Health4All Campaign, and took a leading role in organizing the Orange County stop of the Undcu CAREvan, along with RAIZ and the California Immigrant Policy Center. The CAREvan was an early event in the campaign, in which undocumented immigrants traveled from San Diego to Sacramento to raise awareness about the Health for All Act, and collect stories of the daily struggles our community faces due to being denied affordable health care.
OCIYU is now in the midst of continuing organizing efforts in Orange County to ensure that at least in California the promise of universal healthcare is fulfilled.
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