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Immigrants without legal status remain mostly in healthcare limbo

Los Angeles Times, January 20, 2014

When Alva Alvarez gets sick, she buys over-the-counter medicine from the grocery and takes as much as she can until she feels better. The mother of five resorts to this because she can't afford a visit to the doctor to figure out what's ailing her. Although scenarios like this are supposed to disappear as millions of Americans become newly insured under the national healthcare law, Alvarez's situation isn't likely to improve and could get worse. The San Bernardino resident represents the biggest — and mostly invisible — group of people left out of the Affordable Care Act: immigrants in the country illegally. Concerned by this, state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) proposed Jan. 10 that such immigrants be allowed to get health insurance through a program such as Medi-Cal.