SCLPC Opinions

How To Help Latinos Get the Health Care They Deserve Through Covered California

CC Los AngelesHaving health coverage is important to keep families healthy. It can help stop the unfortunate practice of foregoing medical care when it’s needed, paying high out-of-pocket expenses if an emergency occurs, or ignoring potentially serious medical conditions.

Covered California has serve 1.8 million consumers since 2013. In the Latino community, the percentage of uninsured has been reduced by half. The numbers are great, but health care coverage means much more than just numbers. It means that lives are being changed, and good health practices are being instilled in many of our communities, for our future generations.

So what can you do as a leader in the Latino community? You have a platform and following that allows you to educate and encourage people in the community to do what is best for themselves and their families, and at the same time, comply with what is now the law. Going to Covered California is a great first step. Covered California is the state health insurance marketplace where people can shop and compare a variety of health plans and select coverage that best fits health needs and budget. They can even find out if they qualify for financial help to reduce their monthly payments, or if they are eligible for Medi-Cal. There are numerous resources on the Covered CA website, including FAQs, Newsletter templates, Fact Sheets, and more. The information is available in various languages, including Spanish. You can also follow Covered California on social media. There are English and Spanish Facebook (; and Twitter pages (; This is a great way to keep people informed.

CC Enrollment Event

In addition, all personal information submitted to Covered California, including immigration status, is strictly confidential and is never shared.

Regardless of the plan people choose, they will have benefits that will take care of most of your healthcare needs, including free preventive services to stay ahead of big health risks, such as blood pressure and cholesterol screenings for adults, mammograms and cervical cancer screening for women, and common vaccinations for children.

The next open enrollment period will be from November through January 2016. However, special enrollment is available year-round for one of the following qualifying life events:

  • Losing health coverage.
  • Income changes.
  • Turning 26 years old.
  • Change in place of residency. This includes moving to California from another state.
  • Having a child or adopting a child, receiving a child into foster care, or placing a child in adoption or in a foster home.
  • Getting married or entering into a domestic partnership.
  • Becoming citizens, national or lawfully present individuals.

Individuals should be aware that these life-changing events allow them to shop and enroll into a health plan outside of the open enrollment period and obtain the coverage they need.

It is now the law to get healthcare coverage, and the penalty of remaining uninsured is increasing. The penalty rises substantially for 2016, however, the biggest penalty for individuals could be not having a health coverage that can benefit their health and their lives.

AT&T’s Commitment to Education, Diversity and Career Opportunities

by Adriana Martinez, Director of External Affairs, AT&T

tech latinos 2AT&T is a longtime champion and supporter of increasing educational opportunities in diverse communities, including the Latino community. We take our commitment to diversity seriously and have made significant contributions to increase opportunities for Latinos who desire to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

While Latinos make up approximately 16% of the U.S. workforce and are responsible for half of the nation’s population growth from 2000-2012 , they make up just 3% of the workforce in the tech sector. AT&T has recognized the need to invest in a well-educated workforce in order to increase this number of Latinos in tech, especially when approximately one in five Latino students still attend high schools where graduating is not the norm.

To improve the graduation rate for all high school students, AT&T launched the AT&T Aspire initiative with a commitment to investing $350 million in education from 2008 to 2017. An estimated 1 million students across the country have benefited from AT&T Aspire and the program remains committed to achieving a goal of 90% graduation rate by 2020.

latino tech 1In Southern California, AT&T is making significant investments in education and are working in collaboration with organizations who are creating opportunities for Latinos who want to pursue a career in the technology field including:

Increasing access to quality education and opportunities in the technology sector is a significant issue in California and many underserved communities across the country. Investing in education and promoting diversity are top priorities for AT&T. We will continue our commitment to increasing educational success and providing opportunities in the 21st Century.

AT&T was the primary sponsor of the 21st Century Cities & Schools Latino Policy Forum held at Cal State LA on June 6, 2015. AT&T is working closely with the SOCA Latino Policy Center to educate local Latino elected officials on technology issues.


ron_garcia_profileDuring his political career, both opponents and supporters of former Brea Mayor Ron Garcia found it difficult to pigeonhole him. We often demand our politicians provide us with short labels that make is easier for the rest of us to categorize and thereby understand them. Conservative, Liberal or Progressive. Right-winger. Environmentalist. Business Leader. Labor Activist. Tax-crusader. Take your pick, we’ve all used them.

But categorizing Ron Garcia was never easy. He is a lifelong Republican, and a Latino. For the general public that’s often confusing or even considered contradictory. He is a military veteran and he still proudly wears an earring, a reminder of his “wilder days.” And although he is a Republican, and proud of it, he has mentored several current political leaders – many of them women and most of them Democrats. For those who rely on Ron’s wisdom he is also always a voice of reason and common sense; attributes often in short supply in political circles.

Ron recently “retired” from public service haven chosen not to pursue re-election last year. But we will continue to rely on Ron’s counsel as an ex officio Board Member of the Southern California Latino Policy Center and hope we can all continue to benefit from his experience.

I interviewed Ron and his fellow Board Members nearly two years ago and prepared this short video featuring some of Ron’s ideas and perspectives. Thank you Ron, for your service and your leadership.


Latinas Represent

Latina Advocacy Org Website Goes Live

By Nadia Farjood, Latinas Represent

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Latina elected to Congress, once said, “The future of this country is in the hands of women.” And now, so is all of the information and inspiration you need to advance Latina political leadership and build a more reflective democracy. Political Parity and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda invite you to our new online portal – – an innovative and interactive virtual resource for Latina advocates, candidates, and aspiring and elected leaders.

Latinas Rep

While 25 million strong, Latinas only make up barely one percent of Congress. We need more women representing their communities and country. With our new interactive and educational web forum, we’ll bring together thousands more actors and advocates, expand access to groundbreaking research and tools, and inspire Latinas to get involved, stay involved, and ascend to the highest levels of public service. At, women of all ages, backgrounds, and experience can:

  • Get Informed and learn the facts about Latina underrepresentation
  • Get Inspired by stories of Latina leaders
  • Get Local and host a LatinasRepresent event in your community
  • Get Ready to run, seek a political appointment, or support candidates

Visit the site, share an inspiring story, and encourage your family, friends, and local leaders to represent. Post these sample tweets to spread the word:

  • The new #LatinasRepresent website is LIVE! Check out for facts, stories, & resources for Latina leaders. #latism
  • Hear stories of #LatinaLeaders in public service from across the nation: #LatinasRepresent #GetInspired
  • Want to host your own #LatinasRepresent event? Download the how-to guide: #LatinasLead