Last week Health Care For All and Community Catalyst, Massachusetts leaders and consumers gathered at the State House to highlight the success of health care reform among Hispanics in the state. This month marks the 6th anniversary of passage of Chapter 58 in Massachusetts and the second anniversary since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama – two landmark pieces of legislation that have opened the doors to care for millions of residents first in the state and now nationwide.
The progress made in Massachusetts will extend nationally as the Affordable Care Act is implemented in 2014. At the celebration (see pictures here), hosted by Senator Kenneth Donnelly, we noted the impact of Chapter 58 in coverage for Hispanics:
“Chapter 58 has made a life changing difference for hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents, and we know that it has had a remarkable impact specifically on our Hispanic population,” said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care For All. “Prior to 2006, a disproportionate number of Hispanics were uninsured – nearly 1 in 4 was without access to health care coverage. As 2010, 96 percent of the Hispanic population was insured. This is a remarkable success connecting patients to the care they need.”
The event included two people assisted by the HCFA Helpline who told dramatic stories of how their coverage through health reform made a difference for them.
“Five years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and I had to go through emergency surgery. I was very worried and I couldn’t sleep at night because I couldn’t afford to pay for health insurance,” explains Eugenio Hernandez, a Commonwealth Care beneficiary. “I called Health Care For All because a friend of mine told me about the Helpline and with their help, I was able to enroll in the subsidized plan. I could access radiation and follow up treatment and now I am cancer and fear free. This reform has saved my life”
“I was the victim of assault and battery in New York City and I was in a coma for almost two weeks. I was hospitalized and had to undergo several operations and, even though the state of New York took care of a lot of the costs, I started receiving bills from the hospitals that I couldn’t afford,” said Pelagio de la Cruz, who benefited directly from Chapter 58. “When I returned to Massachusetts, I knew that I would need access to long term care. I called the HelpLine and now all the services that I need are covered by my insurance. I feel very lucky that I live in Massachusetts”