Coverage matters…

There are real health consequences to being uninsured.

Because it’s in the Metro Section, this article by Steven Magagnini of the Sacramento Bee might be overlooked, but it shouldn’t be.

It makes the point by focusing on the death of Melelea Tausinga, a leader in Sacramento’s Tongan community, who was uninsured and didn’t get the care she needed.

“People who do not have health insurance delay much needed medical care, are more likely to forgo care because of costs, and when they do finally show up for care the conditions they have are often far more severe,” James said. “They are more likely to show up with late stage cancer.”

That’s what happened to Tausinga, said her husband, Tevita Tausinga…

Melelea Tausinga, mother of four and grandmother of seven, not only gave herself to her community, she worked for more than 10 years as motel maid, then as teaching assistant at Susan B. Anthony Elementary, where her granddaughters attend. Neither job provided health insurance.

She kept working even after she started complaining five years ago about severe pain. “She told me to touch her stomach,” her husband said.

“It was something like a stone but it was little. The main thing is, we didn’t have money. She finally went to a doctor last May after we got Medi-Cal.”

The doctor told her she had a cancerous tumor, but it took three months before her daughter-in-law Brianna Tausinga lined up a surgeon who would take Medi-Cal.
“They pretty much said we caught it too late,” said Brianna Tausinga

The article further talks of the lack of health coverage in California’s growing Asian-American community, referring to a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, an important ally and Health Access California board member.

The issue of uninsurance is acute for Latinos and Asian-Americans–but it’s a big issue for all of us.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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