I’m adding to my frequent flyer miles as the summer o’ conferences comes to a close. The Latino Engagement team has been crisscrossing the country and working with our amazing affiliates and partner organizations to spread the word about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, and all the benefits that the close to 9 million Latinos across the country could start to take advantage of soon!
We’ve hit the road at conferences for some of our country’s most influential and historic Latino organizations that are also working hard to make sure our community knows how important it is to sign up for the ACA. Why? Because Latinos continue to have some of the highest percentages in health disparities, including 3 in 10 being uninsured, 1 in 6 having a pre-existing condition, and 25.3% of us living in poverty. Learning about and enrolling ourselves and our families in the ACA makes sense.
Under the ACA, preventive services that Planned Parenthood health centers provide, such as birth control, well-woman visits, and lifesaving screenings, will be covered at no cost. However, for those who need it, financial help will be available to help cover the cost of plans. One of the most important messages that we’re delivering — no matter what, if you qualify for an ACA plan, or you don’t, Planned Parenthood health centers will continue to provide the care that we always have.
Our first stop was Nevada for the League of United Latin America Citizens (LULAC) Annual Conference where we had the chance to reconnect with some of our great promotores and were warmly greeted by a great audience at the family expo who had plenty of questions about the ACA and what Planned Parenthood services can do for them.
Next we made our way to Milwaukee, for a visit with the wonderful staff at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, “sampled” some amazing local dairy and cuisine, and then made our way down the road to Chicago for a quick visit with the Planned Parenthood of Illinois staff and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference where we rallied with our fellow champions for Latina health, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, EMILY’s List and Catholics for Choice, cheering on those fighting for women in Texas, and honored trailblazer Nevada State Assemblywoman Lucy Flores.
Finally we just wrapped up at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference in New Orleans where we had the pleasure of being on two panels about the ACA and the work that Planned Parenthood is doing to make sure people get enrolled. Following the panels, we held an energetic reception with the world class all-female brass band The Pinnettes!
The energy was kept high as we all had the opportunity to hear from First Lady Michelle Obama as she stressed the importance of the community taking charge of our lives to create a healthier generation. She had marching orders for everyone in attendance, on October 1, make sure everyone in your family and in your community knows that it’s time to sign up for health insurance. As Mrs. Obama stated, getting the law passed was just the first part, making sure that people know the benefits and how to become enrolled is going to be the hardest part.
At every stop we hear amazing stories of how one of our Planned Parenthood health centers was there to provide help and support whenever a woman needed it. We hear from women of all generations and get the opportunity to talk to so many young activists who keep the fight for women’s health going strong. Despite weeks away from our loved ones, and the inappropriate amounts of fast food, it’s nothing but a pleasure to get to do this work, hear your stories and suggestions, and to now be able to carry your faces and names with us as we continue in our work for you and all women!