SPECIAL TO EL OBSERVADOR
A free Downtown Health Fair was held on Friday, November 16 at St. Joseph Cathedral in San Jose. Hundreds of people lined up to attend, including many uninsured, low-income, and homeless who were in need of care.
Providers and almost 100 volunteers offered free health screenings including blood pressure, glucose, foot care, BMI, HIV tests, and flu shots. They also assisted with enrollment in MediCal and the Low-Income Health Program (Valley Care), as well as numerous other programs such as CalWorks, CalFresh (food stamps), mental health services, drug and alcohol counseling, and veterans and homeless services.
Volunteers also provided haircuts and foot baths to those who needed them, as well as free socks, toiletries, and blankets.
At noon a community discussion was held on how to build a movement to improve Medicare and extend it to everyone, including many of those present who were ineligible for health care even after recent reforms. An “Improved Medicare for ALL” bill will be introduced in the state legislature in the new year and would end the denial of health care to California’s temporary workers, poor, youth, migrants, and unemployed.
One of the objectives of the Health Fair was to involve the uninsured themselves in organizing for passage of this bill, and many signed postcards to the Governor supporting it.
The Health Fair was sponsored by Low-Income Self-Help Center, CHAM Deliverance Ministry, Gardner Health Care for the Homeless, St. Joseph Cathedral, and County Supervisor Dave Cortese.