Creating a Culture of Coverage

Creating a Culture of Coverage,
Lorena Huerta, Executive Director of Familias Unidas


In a state where Latinos are now the majority, there were too few that enrolled into Covered California.The year 2013 is a benchmark in the Obama administration as health is now beginning to be recognized as a right and not a privilege.  The media campaign missed the mark in outreaching to Latinos.  Statements like, ” you cannot be denied for preexisting conditions” did not resonate with Latinos. Latinos and in particular, immigrant populations have not had access to insurance in the US or, in their home countries.  Health care is not part of the Latino culture.

It reminds me of growing up in the Central Valley.  I lived on a dairy farm where all the families around us were mostly uninsured.  One of the reasons I went into social work is because of my father’s example.  He was considered the community social worker because he knew some English.  A family that had been friends of ours were uninsured.  The mother of the family was diagnosed with cancer.  As was common for most families, she did not have access to preventative care and so she sought treatment too late.When she passed away, the family lost the home they worked so hard to buy.  It was their American dream.

Everyone has the responsibility to create a Culture of Coverage.  It is time to begin changing how we speak about health in our circles, within our communities, in our churches, and schools. It is our right to have access to quality health care. Not to be excluded are the remaining uninsured which really means those that are undocumented.  Health care for all means that they should be included into the Affordable Care Act.  It is time that we begin creating a Culture of Coverage in the Latino community.