During this week, King’s legacy reminded me of two important things: We do not walk alone on this incredible history-making journey, and we have more work to do.
Some of that work took place on this past weekend with “Big Sunday,” when Covered California carried its message to thousands of people in Southern California. We teamed up with more than 500 African-American churches statewide to bring home the message that we should leave no one behind. (Visit http://news.coveredca.com/2016/01/covered-california-big-sunday-connects.html for more information.)
I was honored to speak at three of the churches, to spread the good news about affordable health care and to be a part of the celebration of King’s birthday. While I was at the City of Refuge in Gardena, the sermon consisted of a church member delivering King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which so powerfully addressed his and our nation’s highest aspirations for justice and equality for all Americans.
Covered California is working toward those goals, and making real the “promise of democracy,” through the Affordable Care Act. The law guarantees health insurance to everyone who is eligible, and it brings health care coverage within the reach of those with limited means and the many who had been turned away because of their health status. Health care is now a right in this country, not just a privilege for the fortunate.
Our work continued on Monday, when I proudly marched in the 31st annual Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles. An estimated 250,000 people lined the streets to see the parade and remember King’s dream. Fittingly, the theme of this year’s parade was “Our Work Is Not Yet Done.”
Former President Lyndon B. Johnson initially uttered those famous words, when describing the incredible progress made in America under King’s leadership, while acknowledging that we had more to do as a country.
The Affordable Care Act opened the way for hope and opportunity for many in our health care system. No longer are people denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition. No longer are health insurance companies allowed to take away your coverage if you get sick or if your treatment begins to cost too much. No longer is health care out of reach for those with limited means.
While these are great achievements, we know that we have more work to do. Even in the third year of this new era of health care, hundreds of thousands of people remain uninsured. Too many of them do not know about the new options available to them, or the financial assistance that nine of every 10 Covered California consumers receive, or the premier care that so many of our enrollees have already received.
That’s why Covered California proudly presented a new report, titled “Delivering on the Promise of Care: Early Indicators That Covered California Enrollees Are Getting Needed Care,” which details the vital treatments that have already been received by our enrollees since we opened our doors.
http://news.coveredca.com/2016/01/covered-california-releases-report-on.html) shows how Covered California enrollees are getting the best care when the worst happens.
The most touching moment of the event was hearing the story of Anita Haynes-Hiley, a single mother who works as a personal trainer in the San Francisco Bay Area. Anita thought exercising, watching what she ate and taking care of herself would enable her to live a long, healthy life.
Everything was going according to plan until the day she was diagnosed with inoperable Stage 4 uterine cancer, which had spread throughout her body. Anita signed up with Covered California and began to get world-class care at UCSF that is helping her beat the disease. Like many others I have met over the past few years, Anita says Covered California has literally saved her life.
In the spirit of King, let us not be silent about something this important, because health care coverage is something that can change someone’s life for the better by giving them the care and protection they need.
In his final public speech King said, “I’ve been to the mountaintop … I’ve looked over, and I have seen the Promised Land.” In so many ways, Anita’s story represents the Promised Land for health care in America. Through the care Anita received, we see what health care looks like when it is equal and just. No one is turned away, and those who enroll receive the best care from California’s top hospitals and doctors. This is the Promised Land that we are still working to deliver for all Americans, and our work is not yet done.
Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31. As we approach the deadline, I would like to invite you to join Anita, Leader Pelosi and Covered California in getting the word out in all ways you can.
One easy way is to join us on Jan. 26 by participating in the Covered California “thunderclap.” A thunderclap is a synchronized social media blast of one message by multiple users, going out a specific day and time. This message will be seen by participants’ friends and followers, who, ideally, will share it with their own networks.
Visit http://bit.ly/CCAthunderclap and click the button agreeing to have your social media account(s) publish this one-time message at noon on Jan. 26. Let your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers know about Covered California. Encourage them to find out if they qualify for financial assistance and are eligible to save hundreds of dollars per month off their monthly premium. Do not let them roll the dice and gamble with their health and financial future.
Labels: Peter V. Lee Blog