Health Care Reform Good for South L.A.

26 Sep Health Care Reform Good for South L.A.

Congresswoman Karen Bass

Congresswoman Karen Bass

By Congresswoman Karen Bass

In 2011, California had more people under the age of 65 without health insurance than any other state in the U.S. These 7.1 million people had to worry that getting sick could lead to financial ruin. Even more people had to worry that they could lose their health insurance if they lost their jobs. No family should have to face the burden of living uninsured.

But as a result of President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, health insurance and access to health care are becoming more available and affordable than ever.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health coverage is now a reality for individuals and families in South Los Angeles.  In the 37th Congressional District alone, the new health law has enabled 9,600 young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance, and as many as 36,000 children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance. Thirty-three community clinics in Los Angeles received funding from the Affordable Care Act to hire and train outreach and enrollment workers to help Angelenos sign up for the new health care programs.

Through California’s new health insurance marketplace or health care exchange, Covered California, millions of individuals and small businesses without coverage will be able to find and purchase insurance plans that fit their needs and budgets starting Oct. 1.

Nearly 86,000 seniors in our community are now eligible for free preventive services and the average senior is saving almost $800 a year on his or her prescriptions. Women now have access to free birth control and preventive care.

When I was a physician assistant, I saw firsthand how people in our community struggled to secure basic health care. High costs kept them from pursuing the care they needed and treatable conditions like hypertension and diabetes became much worse before they were detected. Because of the Affordable Care Act, everyone in South L.A. has a chance to have quality care.

Unfortunately, there are some politicians in Washington, D.C., who refuse to accept the law. House Republicans have made forty attempts at repealing the Affordable Care Act. While the GOP plays politics in Washington with the law of the land, Democrats in Congress and Obama are keeping the promise they made three years ago to fundamentally improve the American health care system.

We should be proud that California became the first state to set up its own health exchange. By prioritizing people over politics and results over rhetoric, we’re making sure that everyone in our state can count on quality care.

We know that finding health insurance can be a confusing process. That’s why California has set up a toll-free number that connects you with a trained representative. Just call Covered California at 1-888-975-1142 or my office at 323-965-1422 to get help.  You can also visit Covered California online at for health facts and explanations of available plans and services.

Every day, the Affordable Care Act is delivering real results in our community. As the Affordable Care Act unveils new opportunities, I will continue to keep the community informed to make sure you get the quality coverage you need and deserve. Join me for a town hall on the new health care options on Sunday, Nov. 10 at West L.A. College.


Bass is a Democrat representing the 37th Congressional District and is the founder of Community Coalition.


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