Dr. Efrain Talamantes has seen the Affordable Care Act play out in his office and community. Based in East Los Angeles, he’s an internist and chief operating officer for AltaMed, one of the largest health centers in the country. Talamantes said because of the health law and the funding that comes with it, AltaMed has been able to build new clinics and bring more providers where needed. Many more of the health center’s patients are also now insured, largely because of the center’s own enrollment efforts.
A growing organization, AltaMed has been able to provide coronavirus testing to more than 65,000 people in Southern California since March, Talamantes said in early October. “My concern is that turning our backs on the ACA will dismantle the infrastructure that is helping us fight this pandemic,” he said.
Pulling the health law now could also stunt the health progress Talamantes expects from his patients with chronic conditions — being insured prompts them to seek regular care and stay on top of their medications, he said. “Things like diabetes and hypertension, it takes about 15 years to start seeing favorable outcomes, and we’re not there yet,” he said.