Not everyone will have access to health insurance

September 7, 2007
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With one hand, we give. With the other, we take away. At the same time as the Boston Public Health Commission is launching a campaign to enroll Latinos/as in Commonwealth Care [“Todos deben tener seguro” by Andy Zagastizábal, JP Gazette, Aug. 24] the state proposes hurdles to care for other Latinos/as.

Any state resident who does not have a valid social security number or legal immigration papers (which are impossible to attain for many families) is ineligible for subsidized Commonwealth Care. Instead, with the end of the free care pool under the new system, s/he would get care through the Health Safety Net Trust Fund. The Safety Net recognizes that, papers or no, we are all human beings, and we are responsible to each other for basic needs to food, shelter and health care. The Safety Net also recognizes that for a community to be healthy, its members need to be healthy. We are all interdependent.

The state is proposing that many people who access health care through the Safety Net at a hospital or a community clinic run by a hospital would have to pay $35 per month. Over a year, that would come to $420. That’s a lot for a poor family who might otherwise be eligible for subsidized Commonwealth Care. The monthly fee might make the difference between getting health care or staying away and hoping for the best.

“Todos deben tener seguro.” Yes, everyone should have insurance. But under our state’s health care reform, not everyone will be able to have it. When one among us suffers, all of us do. We need to make this wrong right.

Judy Goldberger, RN
Jamaica Plain