The "CoverAge" premiere will be this Wednesday, November 20 at 6:30 p.m. at The Downtown Independent, located at 251 S. Main Street in downtown Los Angeles.

If diseases do not discriminate, why does medical assistance do so?

It is a common question among people who lack health insurance, either because of the high coverage prices or because of a lack of immigration status in the country. It is also the question asked in the documentary CoverAge, written and directed by Set Hernández, a beneficiary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Hernández is originally from the Philippines and emigrated with his mother and two brothers when he was just 7 years old. Currently he and his brothers are protected under DACA and his mother continues to be undocumented.

“When we were children we didn't have health insurance. I was very fortunate to receive medical insurance when I entered college and then through my work, ”said Hernandez, 27. "But my mother and my younger brother don't have medical coverage and my older brother sometimes has yes and others don't."

His own experience led Hernández to become an organizer to fight for the health rights of all people, regardless of their age or immigration status.

“As an undocumented person, you see very closely how this situation affects your friends and family,” said Hernández.

Set Hernández (d) advocates for the health rights of all people, regardless of immigration status. (Supplied)

A year ago his mother was diagnosed with cataracts and this situation impacted the whole family.

“She said that when she was diagnosed she didn't know whether to laugh or cry because she didn't know what she was going to do,” said the young man.

His mother had received a diagnosis according to his health condition, but the cure was not within his pocket. So through a fundraiser and community support she managed to pay for her surgery.

"She is much better now, but another eye exam should be done," Hernandez said.

The health of the undocumented

Hernández, who graduated as a cinematographer in 2014 from UCLA, began working on the documentary focused on the undocumented earlier this year in collaboration with the California Immigrant Policy Center.

CoverAge carefully confronts the exclusion of immigrant health care without documented adults in California.

His two main characters are Héctor Plasencia, a transgender Latino and organizer who advocates the inclusion of all people in medical coverage with the # Health4All campaign.

The second character is Emma, ​​a 60-year-old woman who is caring for the elderly and was diagnosed with cancer almost 10 years ago. Without fear of her undocumented situation, Emma says she advocates coverage for everyone.

Since 2014, California has reduced its number of uninsured residents from seven million to three million people thanks to the implementation of the Low Price Health Care Act (ACA) and additional state reforms.

However, the ACA specifies that undocumented immigrants are excluded from health coverage through federally funded programs, including Medi-Cal.

In the middle of the year, Governor Newsom included the Medi-Cal for people aged 19 to 26 in the annual budget. However, older people were left out.

Hernandez said that it is the most fair thing to do since the government has no problem in collecting the taxes of all people, regardless of their immigration status, but if they have trouble trying to have healthy people.

"We recognize how long and difficult the fight can be for someone when their family member is fighting a serious illness," said Hernandez.

The DACA beneficiary added that although the phrase sounds cliché, it is important that all people organize to increase power in the communities.

“As an undocumented organizer, I can speak for my mother but I also have to learn to empower her and others so that we can continue to help and inform,” said Hernandez.

The "CoverAge" premiere will be this Wednesday, November 20 at 6:30 p.m. at The Downtown Independent located at 251 S. Main Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Admission is free. For more information visit:


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