Thousands line up for annual free health clinic at Sports Arena

While politicians continue to debate Obamacare, a large crowd of uninsured and underinsured people lined up outside the Los Angeles Sports Arena on Monday morning, hoping to get free health and dental care at this year’s annual Care Harbor clinic.

Some camped out overnight. Others trickled in during the wee hours. By 8 a.m., organizers estimated, a couple thousand people were waiting calmly in a line that snaked around the Los Angeles Sports Arena, doubling back on itself.

At the head of the line, they received wristbands marked with the day of the week they could return for care -- Thursday through Sunday. One group of women danced as they walked through the gates to the wristbanding area.


“It’s a happy day,” said an arena worker as the group scooted past.

Like many others in line, Jesus Villareal, a 40-year-old from East LA, hoped to get dental care, which is expensive and usually not covered by programs such as Medi-Cal.

He also said he hoped to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but that his attempts to enroll online thus far had not worked.

“My computer says, ‘try again,’” he said. “It’s kind of weird, don’t you think? All these brains in our country.”

Representatives from Covered California, the state insurance exchange, will be on hand throughout the clinic to help attendees learn about plans and begin the enrollment process.


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