News media companies often fight each other to get first access to news; but, late last week Spanish-language media giants put competition aside to do the right thing -- impart much needed information on healthcare enrollment to Latinos.
For the first time ever, Univision, Telemundo and impreMedia co-hosted a town hall where President Barack Obama answered questions and major concerns of Latinos. The effort was part of the Asegurate campaign, known as Get Covered in English, an effort led by The California Endowment to engage Latinos and get them covered.
With less than a month left to enroll in health coverage, the timing of this event was crucial. Millions of Latinos have yet to enroll in healthcare programs. The biggest barriers to enrollment -- cost and fear of deportation -- were brought front and center by Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart and Univision's Enrique Acevedo.
Among the biggest barriers to enrollment for Latinos is confusion and fear that applying for healthcare could lead to deportation. The president urged Latinos in mixed immigration status families to get enrolled and not fear deportation, and committed to not sharing personal information gathered in the enrollment process with other agencies.
"For everybody out there who's in a mixed status family there is no sharing of the data from the healthcare plan into immigration services. You should feel confident that if somebody in your family is eligible you should sign them up," he said.
Spanish-language media outlets have a unique relationship with their audiences. They are the most trusted messengers and often the first call in case of emergencies, even before dialing 911. The dire need for continued information about the Affordable Care Act among their audience brought these three Spanish-language media giants together to make history.
News of this unprecedented event spread quickly through social media, garnering nearly 700 million impressions and causing the hashtag #TuSaludyObama to trend nationally the morning of the town hall. The event was streamed live on all network websites, including Fusion, and was broadcast on Saturday on Telemundo and Galavision.
During the one-hour town hall, the president answered questions about low-cost health insurance program options available under the ACA, including Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program, government assistance with subsidies and premiums.
The president's words struck a chord with the audience when he emphasized our obligation as parents to have health insurance. Not only do we need our children to be healthy, and have health insurance, but we also need to be healthy for our children. This is non-negotiable and warrants affordable healthcare for all.
Last Thursday's event was a key step in helping move the Affordable Care Act forward. No one denies that the rollout of the ACA had its stumbles, but many of those setbacks have been corrected. Yet, there's still more work to be done. We must continue informing the public, especially Latinos -- an important demographic to the success of the ACA -- about this landmark legislation and its benefits.
Thanks to Thursday's event, many more Latinos and their families will be better prepared to secure the healthcare they deserve.