08/08/2013 09:53 am ET

Affordable Care Act's Grassroots Outreach In Los Angeles Focuses On Latinos


Standing just inside a busy Baldwin Park supermarket that caters to Latinos, Moises Herreros smiles as he flags down shoppers. "Do you have insurance? Do you have any questions about Obamacare?"

Many stop to chat in Spanish. They've heard of the health law but don't know how it works.

In a state where Latinos make up 60% of those without medical insurance, that lack of awareness is a pivotal challenge facing health officials charged with rapidly educating millions of residents and enrolling them in coverage.

Latinos are the most important constituency in California's coming healthcare transformation. But many know little or nothing about how it will work or whether they will be eligible for free or subsidized coverage. To get the word out, unions, health centers and grass-roots groups have begun dispatching bilingual workers like Herreros to connect directly with as many Latinos as possible before the law takes effect Jan. 1.

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