Stories: Treating the Invisible Patients of Los Angeles
Many Americans expect to receive health care when they need it. For those with health insurance provided by employers, the bulk of their health care needs are covered. The Affordable Care Act matched insurance plans with new patients every day, but that service is being undermined by the current administration in Washington, D.C.
Yet despite governmental intervention, there are still millions of Americans who go without health care. Some rely on hospital emergency rooms for their care, or must choose paying for food and lodging over taking care of their medical needs.
In Los Angeles, the non-profit organization Care Harbor runs a clinic that provides free dental, vision, women's and general health care. For four days, hundreds of doctors, dentists, optometrists and nurses vounteer their time and expertise to take care of nearly 4,000 patients.
Some patients are employed with health insurance, but don't have coverage for vision or dental. Others are unemployed and can't afford new glasses, mammograms, or new dentures. Still others are undocumented immigrants who live at or below the poverty line and for whom health care is financially out-of-reach.