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Health Care Reform & Health Disparities: A Spanish Forum for the Latino Community

November 13th, 2009 · 7 Comments

This is another blog by David Molina, who serves on the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs:

On Sat., Nov 7th, 2009, huddled in the most unorthodox of locations, Tienda La Tapatia, a Mexican grocery and bakery in Gresham, Oregon, over 60+ Latino community members gathered around to have a frank conversation about the state of health care in the Latino community.

The forum was hosted in collaboration with the Oregon Latino Health Coalition, KUNP-TV Univision and the Consulate of Mexico in Portland. Grandparents, men, women, youth and children shared their stories and the challenges they faced in Oregon. Working class and immigrant challenges such as:

-a woman and her family who was struggling to stay afloat with medical bills and piling debt after her husband who had been diagnosed with diabetes had been fired from the job

-a gentleman who lost part of his finger on the job site who was refused service at an hospital emergency room

-an elderly man who was refused medical care after being unable to furnish an Oregon driver’s license

-a father who was struggling to pay the expensive monthly health insurance premium for him and his family of six and in debt after one son fell gravely ill

-a high school student with high academic marks unsure of her future as she is not a U.S. Citizen or legal resident

Our panel’s moderator Ms. Delia Hernandez of KUNP-TV Univision and the distinguished panel composed of bilingual physicians and health care advocates included: Dr. Yves Lefranc, Oregon Academy of Family Medicine; Dr. Peter Mahr, Physicians for a National Health Program; Edith Molina, Oregon Latino Health Coalition; and, Ursula Rojas Weiser, Consulate of Mexico in Portland.

These challenges are not isolated to East Multnomah County alone, nor Oregon. Hispanic families often work in low-wage service sector positions and industries that involve greater risk and exposure of work related injury and limited health insurance. No doubt access to affordable health care remains a top priority for Hispanic families.

The health of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing ethnic minority and their families is essential in guaranteeing their continuing social and economic contribution to the nation and state.

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Tags: community organizing and activism · David Molina · health care

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Reyfeo // Nov 14, 2009 at 7:31 am

    There you go again…

    How many of these Hispanics were “legal” US Citizens?

    And why would the Consulate of Mexico be at this forum? What business does a foreign government have in the Health Care Reform issues of this country!!

    I gather you approve of Health Care (that i’m being forced to pay for through high taxation by this crazy Nazi Administration) for Illegal Aliens.

    Soooo, as much as it pains me, I mean really, your heart breaking examples hit me deep in the corners of my heart–how many Cabrones from Mexico will you have us carry on our American backs! Ever think this may be why Oregon, California and many other states are broke…so I end with this; hey stupid THE MONEYS RUN OUT, THE PARTY IS OVER!!

  • 2 Anna // Nov 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Have you lost you mind?! This isn’t an article about illegal immigration. It’s about health. What difference does it make who was there? Everybody needs this kind of information. And who cares if the Mexican Consulate was there? Consulates from all over the world are located in the United States, offering information. Our consulates do the same thing in foreign countries.

    As for health care for illegal immigrants–they already get it from the emergency rooms, which is not cost efficient. That’s why they should be allowed to buy private health insurance. Furthermore, this summit was to give people information about how to improve their health. This kind of information would actually lower health care costs in the long run.

    Furthermore, take an economics class. The global economy was wrecked by NYC Wall St crooks, and the politicians who deregulated the economy.

    That, along with funding the wars, is why the states are going broke. Get a clue.

    People attending a meeting in Oregon about how to improve their health have nothing to do with it. Stop scapegoating of illegal immigrants. You’ve internalized all of that racist garbage from talk radio. You’re getting crazier.

  • 3 WhatThe.. // Nov 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    The Mexican Consulate is at the forum because he represents Mexican Nationals.

  • 4 IE // Nov 14, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    I agree with Anna on this one. Reyfeo, it appears that you, like many others, have internalized that everything that is wrong in the U.S. is all immigrants fault. People that cut your grass. Pick your produce. Get taken financially advantage of. (ie: subprime mortgages). I don’t believe that it cost one trillion dollars to take care of healthcare cost for any immigrant group. Instead of buying into the crap that folks like Lou Dobbs perpetuate, get a grip. You should be gripping about how Wall Street has lined their pockets with your tax dollars. That’s outrageous!

    Oh, and next time you travel abroad Reyfeo make sure that if you are ever in any trouble you don’t try and use the U.S. consulate. They really have no reason trying to help you out in a foreign country.

  • 5 Reyfeo // Nov 15, 2009 at 4:27 am

    If you knew what you were saying you’d know it’s usually the US Embassy who gets involved if you are incapacitated and need to provide you temporary healthcare to get you back to this country. Specifically, if I have health issues in a foreign country, the US Embassy, if no one else is around will ensure I get taken care of (yes I sad this twice, I know). BUT IT WON’T ADVOCATE that the health care provided to me in that foreign country be FREE OF CHARGE….big difference!

    Also, I don’t think everything in this country is immigrants fault, but to say ANY immigrant can get FREE health care in the US most definitely makes worst the illegal immigration problem. You know it and your okay with it. Me, I prefer the least taxes on my pay and what ever tax dollars I do give start paying down this ridiculous deficit.

  • 6 David Molina // Nov 15, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Very much appreciate all your thoughts on my post. First, I can’t validate people’s citizenship status. This wasn’t a hiring gig, this was a community forum. Each of the individuals in that room contribute to this failing economy with their labor and through taxes. Through this post, I tried to illustrate how extreme hardships under the current privately-run health care system impact across ethnicity, gender and age. When you become ill, piling medical debt does not discriminate. This is a case between the have’s and have-nots. All Americans, regardless of their immigration status, are impacted, through rising premium costs. Secondly, I tried to illustrate through the voices expressed that there appears some discrimination against Latinos, not just non-Latinos (pre-existing conditions, firing employees upon health care findings). Certainly, as an entrepreneur I have my concerns with the Obama administration’s health care plan, but does it mean that I cannot be open to listening to the concerns of the Latino community? Of course not. When I was on active-duty, my family paid zero for our health care. It was covered in its entirety. The vast majority of the American people, regardless of race, don’t have this luxury.

    The Consulate of Mexico in Portland made it clear upfront to everyone present that they were not in a position to influence or shape American domestic policy, that this is for the U.S. Congress to legislate (our elected representatives), so the argument that it was advocating free health care is baseless and absurd. To also argue that all Latinos are new immigrants or undocumented is also absurd. Immigrants, undocumented and foreign, may I remind us, have served in the U.S. military for generations.

    Finally, I’m not a Republican or Democratic Congressman trying to persuade the Latino community for or against national health care insurance reform. I’m a Commissioner, obligated by statutory authority, to ensure all Latinos in Oregon are heard, regardless of their party affiliation or ideological bent. Read more at: http://www.oregon.gov/hispanic. Thanks again for your comments, very much enjoyed them, ^dm

  • 7 Labor & Employment Community Forum with Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian // Feb 19, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    [...] the Nov 2009 Health Care Reform & Latino Health Care Disparities Forum, I used a combination of Spanish-TV, radio and print marketing (2,500 flyers) and the event [...]

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