THE BLOG
06/17/2013 01:22 pm ET Updated Aug 14, 2013

Making Obamacare Work in California

June 7 was an exciting day for the implementation of Obamacare in California: Covered California (the state's health benefit marketplace, The California Endowment, and three of the nation's largest Spanish language media companies--Univision, Telemundo, and La Opinion-impreMedia--announced the "Asegúrate" ("Get Covered" in English) Media Partnership, a unique and innovative collaboration to educate Latinos about the Affordable Care Act and drive them to enroll in health coverage. President Obama hailed our efforts as "very important work on behalf of California's middle-class families." We were proud to stand with him as he spoke on Friday and honored to work with him to change the health care landscape.

The Latino Media Partnership is a model for states nationwide and has already proven to be incredibly compelling in California. It showcases how other states can succeed in educating and enrolling their remaining uninsured into Medicaid (in the states that have chosen to expand their state Medicaid programs) or into federally- or state-managed health insurance marketplaces.

Days like Friday remind us of what we are truly fighting for--the right to affordable and quality health care for every person. Because of Obamacare, 3-4 million Californians are expected to gain health insurance through Medi-Cal or the Covered California marketplace in the coming years.

But to take advantage of Obamacare's reforms, people need to be educated--they need to understand how the law will benefit them and their families on a personal level. Obamacare won't work unless we make it work--and there's a lot of work left to do.

That's precisely the goal of this partnership: coming together to empower Californians with the knowledge and tools they need to enroll in the health coverage that is right for them. In this spirit, Univision, Telemundo and impreMedia have put aside competitive concerns to educate the Latino community about important changes coming to the health system, and how to take advantage of them. Together, our media partners have the capacity to reach nearly all of California's 15 million Latinos. That's 38 percent of the state's total population and the demographic with the most to gain from Obamacare's successful implementation.

In all the work we have done to engage and educate Californians about Obamacare, we have come to rely on what we are calling our "echo chamber." We can each go out separately and talk about the importance of enrollment, preventive care and affordable coverage, and that in itself is a worthy endeavor. But when we all say it together, the impact is magnified, and the message ripples out further and further to reach more Californians with the information they need, when they need it. That's the power behind this partnership: we're echoing the same message, sharing it with others, and counting on those others to spread the word virally.

Obamacare's success in California hinges on effective outreach to the Latino community.

Latinos make up nearly two-thirds of the state's uninsured population. The three media partners have joined forces with The California Endowment and Covered California to develop coordinated messaging and content, and produce print, television, radio, web and social media content, including public service announcements, documentary series, town hall broadcasts, Twitter and Facebook outreach and advertisements. This is how we will reach California's Latinos--where they live, with messages that matter to them and with answers they can easily act upon.

Many provisions of Obamacare have already come into effect and have already done much to improve the lives of Americans nationwide. But Latinos--and most Americans for that matter--still know very little about how the law will impact them or their families on a personal level. Many California Latinos do not know that they may qualify for low- or no-cost care through Medi-Cal. Many do not know that soon they can make apples-to-apples comparisons on insurance plans through Covered California, or that the government will provide them with tax credits to do it. The bottom line is, Latinos, and Californians at large, will not enroll unless they understand why it's a good choice for them and their families.

Our media partners can help move the needle because they know their audience; they understand what messages resonate; and they can deliver research based messages in an open, friendly way that we know will help drive Californians to take action and enroll. Our research shows that Latinos trust media personalities like news anchors, as well as others like doctors and promotoras, when it comes to informing them about Obamacare's impact. These partners are a trusted part of the Latino community and have the ability to connect and lift up the many rich and captivating accounts of people whose lives have been changed because of Obamacare.

The Endowment also has a long history of collaboration on the grassroots level with Latino community-based organizations and communities all over California through our Building Healthy Communities initiative and we will work with our community partners to help them leverage this campaign. For example, in addition to the comprehensive media effort, the media partners will support community enrollment events and WEConnect resource fairs, where families can learn about and apply for government assistance programs.

The partnership is committed to ensuring that Latinos and other Californians hear these messages loud and clear. And even though the campaign focuses on Latinos, it's going to benefit all of us. California's health depends on everyone. The more people who join the ranks of the insured, the less people we have using costly emergency room care at taxpayer expense. The more young, healthy people we have with insurance, the lower everyone's premiums will be.

It has been nearly five years since Obamacare was signed into law and millions of Americans were promised a fair chance at getting affordable, quality health insurance. Here in California, we are working hard in new and unprecedented ways, with partners from philanthropy, government and media, to make good on that promise.

We're just getting started. We are committed to reaching out and engaging as many Californians as possible to bring awareness to the benefits of Obamacare; share the impact it can have on their lives; educate them on the potential medical coverage options available and enroll them in coverage that is right for them. We know that with the momentum of our concerted efforts through the Asegúrate Latino media campaign, we can engage millions of Californians and help them get started on their journey to a healthier future.