By Eduardo A. de Oliveira EthnicNewz.org and FI2W reporter
When Barack Obama begins to focus on health reform as part of his lengthy to-do list, the new President probably won’t address the case of Pretinha, a 64-year-old undocumented housecleaner from Framingham, Mass., who worked for 22 years, but has no health insurance.
She is not alone. Dr. Milagros Abreu, a Boston University physician, knows hundreds of working families who, despite having paid taxes for years, were left behind by the Massachusetts Health Reform of 2006.
Dr. Milagros has helped more than a 1,000 Latino families enroll in a local health insurance.
Despite Pretinha’s lack of insurance, doctors at MetroWest Medical Center acted promptly after discovering her heart was failing. She was rushed to the operating room to receive a pacemaker, a small device that uses electrical pulses to normalize the heart rate.
Pretinha’s life was saved only because there were people who care for those who “simply don’t qualify.”
“Since June, our goal has been to draft a concrete proposal so the President can work on health reform on day one,” said John McDonough, a former Mass. state representative, and an envoy of Sen. Edward Kennedy’s office to spearhead health reform efforts.
President-elect Obama has said he will look for Congressional input on the direction the country takes on health care reform. But will the Republican minority in Congress compromise? Or will 46 million Americans, of which 32 percent are Latinos, remain uninsured?
“It’s probably too early to say how the Republicans will vote,” said McDonough, who admits that the illness of Sen. Kennedy, who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last May, has helped soften some hearts, but will not be decisive. (more…)