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Right before college, my parents had to file for bankruptcy protection due to overdue medical bills related to my little sister's premature birth. I worked three jobs to get myself through school, even getting a bout of mononucleosis because I was so run-down.

The situation of my parents -- I was born to a Cuban father and a Puerto Rican mother -- is, unfortunately, not unusual in our community. As many as a third of the 45 million Latinos who live in the United States have no health insurance, making us the group most likely to be uninsured, according to the Hispanic-themed Poder 360 magazine. The Affordable Care Act President Barack Obama signed into law six months ago promises to insure as many as nine million more Latinos.

While I am blessed today to have good health insurance, I, too, have struggled to maintain affordable health coverage. That's why it so important for our community to remain engaged in discussions regarding health care reform. Voices like:

Liz Cerezo,
"For 5 years now, my husband and I have not had any type of medical insurance....What my anticipation is holding off for, is the Health Care Reform. If this should play out, the way the “Suits” in the casa blanca say it will, then Glory be to God. Not only for my sake, but for the sake of others, who also fall in between…The fine line. "The Fine Line"

Luz Villafana,
"Ahora que vamos tener elecciones, estamos en una posición de poder para poner presión a los candidatos y ver si están con nosotros o contra la reforma médica. Tenemos la oportunidad de votar por candidatos que estén de favor a asegurarnos todos." "Tenemos Que Seguir Luchando Por La Reforma de Seguro Médico"

Dariela Cruz,
"I know that the new health reform is still the first step and it is not perfect, but little by little it will be much better. I trust that when my kids are adults they will have a better health system, one with more options, one that they can rely on and one that they can trust. A Health Care option that doesn’t depend on jobs or on maybe luck." "Familes Need More Health Care Options"

Saray Hill,
"Section 4207 from the Health Care Reform is a huge first step to ensure that babies are not deprived from breastmilk because their mothers have to go back to work. This gives society hope that a healthier generation will be raised and that, slowly but surely, breastfeeding will become the norm." "Health Care Reform and Breastfeeding"

Xochitl Oseguera,
"Health insurance has become more difficult than putting tortillas and milk on the table for my child. I am happy for now. I definitely hope this Administration’s healthcare reform bill will support small businesses and their employees. I am not sure if next time I am unemployed I will be as lucky as I am today. "Will Work for Healthcare Reform"

Natalia Bonilla,
"Barack Obama’s healthcare reform will benefit Puerto Rico with $6.6 billion more than the $4.8 expected for Medicaid between 2011 and 2019. After the healthcare bill passed on March 21, Puerto Rico began to look at the next decade which will be crucial for the Island to step up to the demands for accessing healthcare funds. Among the priorities will be creating by 2014 a new market for health insurance, also known as the Centers for Health Insurance Exchange." "Puerto Rico: Now, It's the Island's Turn to Work on Health Care"

Together we must ensure that Latinos truly benefit from health care reform and understand new consumer protections for health care consumers in the law. For more great blogs on health care reform see MomsRising's health care blog carnival here.

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