South LA organizations praise court’s health care ruling

St. John’s President & CEO Jim Mangia addresses the crowd during the Thursday morning press conference. (Photos by Andrew Zappin for St. John’s Well Child and Family Center)

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act was a surprise and cause for celebration in South LA, where many low-income uninsured families live.

Shortly after the court’s announcement, a coalition of elected officials and local organizations representing patients, healthcare workers and community clinics held a joint press conference at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center to praise the decision that will extend insurance coverage to millions of additional Americans.

The court’s decision will benefit South LA residents who seek care at St. John’s. Right now, 61 percent of their patients are uninsured and 82 percent fall below the federal poverty level.

“What we can say today with certainty is that the Supreme Court has upheld the right of our government to ensure that all Americans have access to healthcare,” said St. John’s Well Child and Family Center President & CEO Jim Mangia. “President Obama staked an incredible amount of political capital and endured harsh attacks by opponents to pass legislation that affirms healthcare is a fundamental human right for everyone. This is a day of celebration.”

The Affordable Care Act will provide billions of dollars in funding to expand Medicaid to millions of low-income Americans. The law also includes $12 billion for the expansion of community health centers, which could benefit other South LA community clinics.

image“This is a great day for our President, our country and our local communities. Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholds what we have all known: that a person’s ability to stay healthy should not be a privilege for the few but a right for all,” said Laphonza Butler, president of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers. “It also means that LA County’s 2.2 million uninsured residents can breathe a little easier by knowing that they will have access to the care they and their families need.”

The coalition members that attended the press conference included St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, SEIU-United Long Term Care Workers, Congressmember Karen Bass, Senator Curren Price, Senator Kevin DeLeon, Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, NAACP Greater Los Angeles Chapter, Special Needs Network, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, and Brotherhood Crusade.

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