Southland reacts to health bill

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The impending passage of health insurance reform stands to affect the vast majority of people in the United States — regardless of whether they’re citizens. Patients at some Orange County clinics offered mixed reactions to the changes.

Half a dozen patients at the Gateway Urgent Care Medical Center in Anaheim waited to see the doctor. Nearly all had heard about the passage of health insurance reform in Washington D.C.

Susan Mendez of Fullerton held her nose at the political process that led to this policy. "It concerns me about the amount of control the government has."

She said the government had to do something to change the system. "It is broken, and I do believe that everyone has a right to health care." Like Mendez, almost everyone at this urgent care center had medical insurance.

Five minutes away, in Santa Ana, nurse Elizabeth Manoat worked the front desk at IMC Medical Group’s storefront family clinic. "We provide services from babies from vaccinations for free, family planning care and prenatal care." Most clients, she said, don’t have insurance or legal citizenship in the United States.

In the waiting room with his nine-year-old daughter, Oscar Bravo said he was happy to hear about Obama’s health insurance reforms. "I think everyone I know is waiting for the opportunity to have this kind of insurance."

But it dismayed him that undocumented and recently documented people like him will likely be shut out. Last year his wife required treatment for a hernia. She’s undocumented so the $5,000 for the procedure had to come out of his pocket. His employer, Sears, offers health insurance but he said he can’t afford the premiums on his $15 hourly wage. He tried but failed to obtain Medi-Cal benefits for her.

He said he’s worked in this country for 25 years and paid payroll taxes. It upsets him that medical insurance for him, his wife and two children is economically beyond his reach - or flat out denied.