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Peter's Blog: Bus Tour, Day Five

This has been a wild year, with politics in Washington being something of a rollercoaster ride.

But here in California, we’ve been working with our partners to make sure consumers are not on a rollercoaster. Consumers can be confident that with Covered California, they’ll never be taken for a ride. Instead they’ll find improvements, stability, security and access to affordable coverage.
La Familia Counseling Center

We boarded the Covered California bus today and set off to continue our statewide tour thanking our partners who help make affordable health care in California a reality. One of those valuable partners is Health Sherpa Insurance Agency, who have signed up many in the Sacramento area. The bus made its first stop today at the Health Sherpa office in downtown Sacramento.

La Familia Counseling Center, our second stop, is a neighborhood resource in south Sacramento that provides multicultural counseling and support services. There, renowned “performance painter” David Garibaldi was working on one of 13 murals that will be created as part of the Covered in Art project.
David Garibaldi and Peter V. Lee

“Covered California came to me and told me about the importance of raising awareness of health care,” said David. “What better way to get that message out than art?

“It's an incredible way for Covered California, La Familia, and the dozen artists around California to use their platform for a greater purpose.”

Sergio Barrios, who is self-employed, spoke about how having a health plan through Covered California is necessary for managing his chronic condition, known as Type 1.5 diabetes. Before the Affordable Care Act, Sergio’s premiums were as high as $1,700 per month.

“It’s very affordable,” said Sergio. “I’m alive because of this program.”

Stride Health, our next stop, is a start-up in San Francisco that connects consumers to the health plan that best meets their needs. It’s an example of the innovation that has sprung up around health insurance since the advent of the Affordable Care Act.

Our next visit was to HealthRIGHT 360, a health center with origins in the 1960s Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Among those who spoke at the event were Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed, enrollee Katie MacBride and mural artist Apexer.

“When I was in college, I remember wondering what I was going to do — I didn't have health insurance, so I prayed that I didn't have to go to the doctor or dentist,” said Supervisor Breed. “No one should have to live like that.”

Covered California member Katie MacBride spoke about getting life-saving surgery after finding out she had a congenital medical condition. “I'm a big fan of Covered California ... My life was saved. But I knew that with my condition I'd never be able to live without insurance. I was finally able to purchase insurance individually, outside of a job. My health did not have to determine the trajectory of my professional life.

“I learned the hard way how quickly a person can go from being healthy to needing medical care.”

The day wrapped up with a stop at HealthMarkets, an insurance agency in San Bruno. HealthMarkets has been a leader in getting Bay Area residents signed up, and we paid a visit to thank them for what they do.

Tuesday’s stops:

  1. Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center (250 Locust St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060)
  2. Lemus Insurance Agency (454 East Alisal St., Suite C, Salinas, CA 93905)
  3. PHP Insurance Services (1818 Tully Road, Suite #162-A, San Jose, CA 95122)
  4. East Oakland Youth Development Center (8200 International Blvd., Oakland, CA 94621)