Latinas Speak Up on Health Reform!

Cross-posted at MomsRising.org.

Right before college, my parents had to file for bankruptcy protection due to overdue medical bills related to my little sister’s premature birth. I worked three jobs to get myself through school, even getting a bout of mononucleosis because I was so run-down.  

The situation of my parents — I was born to a Cuban father and a Puerto Rican mother — is, unfortunately, not unusual in our community. As many as a third of the 45 million Latinos who live in the United States have no health insurance, making us the group most likely to be uninsured, according to the Hispanic-themed Poder 360 magazine. The Affordable Care Act President Barack Obama signed into law six months ago promises to insure as many as nine million more Latinos.

While I am blessed today to have good health insurance, I, too, have struggled to maintain affordable health coverage. That’s why it so important for our community to remain engaged in discussions regarding health care reform. Voices like:

Liz Cerezo,
“For 5 years now, my husband and I have not had any type of medical insurance….What my anticipation is holding off for, is the Health Care Reform.  If this should play out, the way the “Suits“ in the casa blanca say it will, then Glory be to God. Not only for my sake, but for the sake of others, who also fall in between…The fine line. “The Fine Line”

Luz Villafana,
“Ahora que vamos tener elecciones, estamos en una posición de poder para poner presión a los candidatos y ver si están con nosotros o contra la reforma médica. Tenemos la oportunidad de votar por candidatos que estén de favor a asegurarnos todos.” “Tenemos Que Seguir Luchando Por La Reforma de Seguro Médico”

Dariela Cruz,
“I know that the new health reform is still the first step and it is not perfect, but little by little it will be much better. I trust that when my kids are adults they will have a better health system, one with more options, one that they can rely on and one that they can trust. A Health Care option that doesn’t depend on jobs or on maybe luck.” “Familes Need More Health Care Options”

Saray Hill,
“Section 4207 from the Health Care Reform is a huge first step to ensure that babies are not deprived from breastmilk because their mothers have to go back to work. This gives society hope that a healthier generation will be raised and that, slowly but surely, breastfeeding will become the norm.” “Health Care Reform and Breastfeeding”

Xochitl Oseguera,
“Health insurance has become more difficult than putting tortillas and milk on the table for my child. I am happy for now. I definitely hope this Administration’s healthcare reform bill will support small businesses and their employees. I am not sure if next time I am unemployed I will be as lucky as I am today. “Will Work for Healthcare Reform”

Natalia Bonilla,
“Barack Obama’s healthcare reform will benefit Puerto Rico with $6.6 billion more than the $4.8 expected for Medicaid between 2011 and 2019. After the healthcare bill passed on March 21, Puerto Rico began to look at the next decade which will be crucial for the Island to step up to the demands for accessing healthcare funds. Among the priorities will be creating by 2014 a new market for health insurance, also known as the Centers for Health Insurance Exchange.” “Puerto Rico: Now, It’s the Island’s Turn to Work on Health Care”

Together we must ensure that Latinos truly benefit from health care reform and understand new consumer protections for health care consumers in the law. For more great blogs on health care reform see MomsRising’s health care blog carnival here.  

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Mama Grizzlies for Health Reform (Heck yah, we’re all Mama Grizzlies for our kids)

This post is written by MomsRising Executive Director, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. We’d love to hear your comments about how you are rising up as a mom. What are you rising up for?

There’s been a lot of media coverage lately about the rise of high profile political moms in the Tea Party movement, and of course, Sarah Palin herself who’s said, “You don’t want to mess with moms who are rising up… you don’t want to mess with Mama Grizzlies.

But what’s been less sensational news–and what isn’t as commonly reported–is that moms are rising up across the political spectrum.

Turns out, we’re all Mama Grizzlies for our kids.

And moms are increasingly coming together to protect our families, as well as to support measures that build long-term family economic security, including health care reform.


Yes, moms are rising up.

And they are rising up across the political spectrum.

Yet too often the airwaves are dominated by the grizzly anti-health care hype, while the fact that there’s actually a broad movement of engaged and active moms in our nation–many of whom have fought for health care and other family economic security policies–is overlooked.

You see while some politicians, pundits, and prognosticators have taken to the airwaves to claim that health reform is too complicated, cumbersome, and doomed to failure; real moms across the nation who have supported, and who are directly affected by, the new law are excited about having increased access to health care.

How do we know that?

They’re telling us.

*Click the map above to read the real-life experiences of moms and dads across the nation about how health reform is already helping their families.

You’ll find storieslike this one from Michelle, a MomsRising member from Texas, about how new protections for health care consumers are already helping her son:

My 20 year old son Jordan had lymphoma as a young child. After many years of painful and expensive treatment, he is thankfully in full remission. He is currently attending college and pursuing a music degree. His dream is to one day be a professional musician. Jordan is very gifted and has the talent and work ethic to obtain this dream but I found myself trying to steer him into other areas of study. My reasoning was rooted in the knowledge that many professional musicians are privately insured and that it would be impossible for him to purchase private insurance with his pre-existing condition.

Over the past couple of years, Jordan discussed his dreams and future plans less and less with me. At the time, I believed this was just a natural part of becoming his own person. He was seeking my advice less often and I had to grill him to get any details on his progress with his studies.

Since the Health Care Reform Law was adopted, a heavy burden was limited. I no longer fear that he will be unprotected. I have stopped trying to discourage him from his chosen path.

I never realized the damage I was doing until he came to me a few weeks ago and told me that he was so happy that I was now supporting him and encouraging him in the field of his choice. After we talked further, it became clear that my frequent “suggestions” to look into other areas of study made him feel that I did not approve or that I didn’t believe in him. This was very painful for me to hear because I love my son and cherish the great relationship we have. If I had continued to feel compelled to discourage him, I might have done irreparable damage to our relationship and to his self esteem.

I know in the scheme of things, my story is not as life and death as some stories but I truly believe that the passage of this legislation makes it possible for my son to realize his American Dream and makes it possible for me to give him the unconditional love and support he needs to do just that.”

Moms speak up when our families’ health and economic security are at stake.

And, the internet and new technologies are allowing mothers to make their voices heard as never before. For instance, “respected social media groups estimate between 23 million and 26 million moms are in the blogosphere.” This means that now a full one-third of the 83 million moms in our nation are participating in having their voices heard online, which is where an increasing number of people are now going to get their news.

To bring more of these voices forward, MomsRising is hosting a blog carnival on health reform, which includes policy analysis from experts, personal stories from moms and dads across the nation, and articles from around the web about how health reform is helping families.

That’s right. Moms are rising up to make sure their voices are heard.

And with over 80% of women in our nation becoming mothers by the time they’re forty-four, that’s a lot of voices.

Moms are rising up to celebrate and secure health care for their families, and they are rising up to combat falling family economic security. And this uprising is needed. The U.S. Census reported that 1 in 7 people in our nation were living in poverty last year, and the USDA reported that nearly 1 in 4 kids in our nation are experiencing food scarcity due to family economic limitations.

With these challenges on the home front, it’s no wonder that an increasing number of mothers are coming together and rising up to make their voices heard. This is evidenced by the fast growth of the non-partisan group, MomsRising.org, which has quickly grown from a handful of moms at the organization’s inception four years ago to more than a million members today–members who have made millions of constituent contacts in support of health reform and other policies to strengthen family economic security like paycheck fairness, sick days, family leave, early learning opportunities and more in the last year alone. MomsRising members came out in force to fight for health reform by sharing their personal stories about why their families needed better health care at in-district meetings with U.S. Senate offices across the nation, they have sent letters, made calls, and walked the halls of Congress fighting for their families to get the health coverage they needed.

Now, with the successful passage of health care reform, across the country families are breathing a collective sigh of relief knowing that loved ones who were previously unable to get health care or who were in danger of being cut off from health care will now be able to get the treatment they need with new provisions starting today.

September 23rd marks not only the six month anniversary of this important law, but also the day that a number of provisions go into effect that will curb health insurance industries’ worst abuses. These provisions include:

A ban on insurance companies discriminating against kids with pre-existing conditions;
A ban on insurance companies dropping people from coverage when they get sick;
A ban on insurance companies putting a lifetime limit on the amount of coverage they provide, so families can live with the security of knowing that their coverage will be there when they need it most;
And, young adults can now stay on their parent’s health insurance plan up to age 26 if their job doesn’t provide health care benefits.

These provisions are already making a huge difference in the lives of families in our nation, families who’ve been struggling and can now sleep better at night.

However, we can’t completely rest because there are opponents to health care reform working right now to repeal and block implementation. The stakes are simply too high to let any health care opponents, including one subset of of highly visible Mama Grizzlies, to speak on behalf of all America’s mothers.

We’re all Mama Grizzlies for our kids.

We Mama Grizzlies celebrate the new protections that health care reform brings to our families. So, to the politicians, pundits, and prognosticators who want to repeal and de-fund this new health reform law, we are rising up to say, “No way, no how!”

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