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300 People Gather to #Fight4OurHealth in Berkeley, CA

300 People Gather to #Fight4OurHealth in Berkeley, CA

The energy was ecstatic on Sunday, March 12th, at the Ed Roberts Campus where over 300 people gathered to #Fight4OurHealth and defend the tremendous health care gains California has made covering over 5 million people.

We remember what it was like before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), close to seven years ago:

  • Young adults were kicked off coverage when they were around 23 years old.
  • If you were young and healthy and could afford coverage on the private market, access to the services you needed were not a guarantee if you had a certain condition or an expensive illness that meant you could hit a lifetime cap on coverage.
  • As a woman you had to pay higher premiums because maternity coverage was not considered an essential benefit.
  • If you had breast cancer, or allergies, or diabetes, you had a pre-existing condition and were either considered uninsurable or had to pay much, much more.

The ACA changed those things. Today we have more secure coverage because we are guaranteed a minimum level of benefits, meaning you get what you pay for no matter what happens, and prevention screenings are free. Low income families and individuals have options for coverage, where there were none before through the expansion of Medi-Cal. We strengthened private health care coverage so there are no longer lifetime caps for coverage yet your out of pocket costs are limited. At the town hall on Sunday, we heard courageous stories from Bay Area residents about their journey for health care coverage and what it has meant to their livelihood.

We were also joined by our health care superheroes -- Congresswoman Barbara Lee, California State Senator Nancy Skinner, California Assemblymembers Tony Thurmond and Rob Bonta, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin -- the Berkeley crowd cheered loudly for their efforts and words of advice. These leaders shared their local, state and federal policy priorities to help to address the health of the most vulnerable. They shared advice on what we can (and MUST) do as residents to protect our health care. Their words and calls to action brought inspiration and lifted our spirits – making us feel lucky to live in the Bay Area with such amazing champions for health.

The momentum to fight Republican efforts to roll back health care progress is critical the next few weeks. California has much to lose under the GOP plan because we have expanded coverage more than any other state in the nation. We have healthier communities and as a result a healthier state economy. We have seen what real change and progress look like and we will not go back. At CPEHN we want to hear from real people whose lives have been changed by the ACA. Please contact us to share your story. Remember – now is the critical time – we need you to make your voice heard and stand up for our health care today!

  

*Photos courtesy of the Alameda Health Consortium

Check out some clips from the event here:

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