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Barbara Lee

OPINION: Rep. Barbara Lee Urges Constituents to Take Advantage of Opportunities to Get Health Insurance

Special enrollment is underway and lasts through December 31. Any eligible Californian can sign up without needing to have a qualifying life event – for example, losing your job, recently getting married, or having a new child.

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Stethoscope on Bed; Photo courtesy of Hush Naidoo Jade Photography

The past 18 months have shown, more than ever before, the fragile, precious, and priceless nature of our health.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our economy, our ability to educate our children and our general wellbeing.

There is an important  tool to help us stay safe and vibrant. That’s health insurance. With the pandemic far from over, having affordable, high-quality health coverage is more important than ever.

The economic stimulus package known as the American Rescue Plan (ARP), signed into law in March, is helping to lower health insurance premiums to levels never seen before.

Covered California, the agency that administers the Affordable Care Act in this state, has been working hard to get out the word about the new increase in the financial help available to ensure millions of Californians can get quality health insurance coverage.

Covered California estimates the new financial assistance available through the ARP can directly help more than 450,000 people in the Bay Area by significantly lowering their monthly premiums.

New data shows that an estimated 103,000 people in the Bay Area are uninsured and eligible for health insurance coverage through Covered California, with an additional 89,000 eligible for no-cost Medi-Cal. Under the ARP, most of those eligible for Covered California would be able to get a high-quality plan for as little as $1 per month, or a plan that offers additional benefits for less than $100 per month.

The new law is already helping about 280,000 people in the Bay Area currently enrolled through Covered California by lowering their premiums and making coverage more affordable than ever before. Covered California consumers statewide have already seen their net premiums decrease by an average of $190 per household per month.

Hush Naidoo Jade Photography

Affordable, accessible, high-quality healthcare is a fundamental human right. As chair of the Congressional Black Caucus during the drafting of the Affordable Care Act, I worked to ensure strong provisions that expand health care access, address health disparities and create incentives for people to live healthy lives.

While citizens and leaders in the greater Bay Area, including the 13th Congressional district which I represent, reacted quickly to slow the spread of the virus, our communities have still been hit hard, especially communities of color.

With the help of vaccines and ARP, we are making positive steps forward. We can hug our grandchildren again. We can go to restaurants again. We are returning to school and to work.

But the pandemic is not over. As the Delta variant continues to spread, it is now just as important as ever that we continue to get vaccinated.

Last November, I spoke on the House floor emphasizing the need for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and the disproportionate impact the pandemic was having on Black, Brown, Latino, Asian and Indigenous people – communities that historically have been left behind in times of crisis.

We can’t allow that to happen again this time.

Vaccines are readily available, and they are proven safe and effective. Please don’t hesitate. Let’s not lose the ground we have worked so hard to gain.

Vaccinations and affordable health insurance are invaluable tools that can help us get back to normal. We must use them.

To find out how much financial assistance you can get and enroll for coverage, go to: https://www.coveredca.com/.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee represents the 13th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

Barbara Lee

VP Harris Comes to Oakland

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Vice President Kamala Harris talks with Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., as she arrives at Oakland International Airport, in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, to campaign for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who faces removal from office in a Sept. 14 recall election. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Vice President Kamala Harris talks with Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., as she arrives at Oakland International Airport on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, to campaign for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who faces removal from office in a Sept. 14 recall election. (Photo by Carolyn Kaster, Associate Press)

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Barbara Lee

Black Leaders Voice Strong Support for Gov. Newsom as Voters Return Recall Ballots

Each of the speakers took about one minute to voice their support for the governor and share why they intend to vote ‘no’ on the recall.

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Election Mail in Ballot; Stock Image

Supporting the campaign to stop the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) organized a ‘Black Leaders Press Conference, attended by 90 influential Black leaders in education, the church, politics, civil rights and as well as members of the California Legislative Black Caucus, last Tuesday on Zoom.

Lateefah Simon, a Bay Area-based women’s and civil rights activist, moderated the zoom rally.

Each of the speakers took about one minute to voice their support for the governor and share why they intend to vote ‘no’ on the recall. Many of them also spoke out against controversial recall candidate Larry Elder, who is Los Angeles-based radio talk show host and who says he not an African American but an American who is Black. He is the leading candidate vying to replace Newsom.

“We come together today as African American leaders because we understand the danger before us. We understand this is a right wing move, and we’re not going to let it happen,” said U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA-37).

“We can’t get confused by Larry Elder,” said Bass. “I don’t care what he looks like. We know Larry Elder very well in Los Angeles. He has built his career on attacking black leaders.”

The meeting began with a prayer delivered by the Rev. Amos Brown, pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco and president that city’s NAACP branch. Brown prayed for the “redemption of our democracy” and that the promise of the nation be upheld.
Congresswoman Lee echoed Congresswoman Bass’ support for Newsom.

“We know that the health of our children, our neighbors and our communities depend on Gov. Newsom’s leadership. He’s been there for us, and we will be there for him,” she said.

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond shed light on unprecedented education spending Newsom helped make a reality in the state.

“Our governor has given our schools a $123-billion budget for education – a record budget. It includes funding for broadband, mental health, community schools, universal meals for all kids, universal pre-school for all 4-year-olds, COVID tests, PPE and anti-hate. We don’t recall governors who do good things for African Americans and for all people. We say ‘no’ to the recall.”

Malia Cohen, member of the California State Board of Equalization, called Black women to action, stressing that the recall election is especially urgent for women’s rights.

“If we lose Governor Newsom, we are losing our reproductive rights, we are losing our opportunity to have a champion that has been helping us fight the fight for child support and helping us lead the way for universal Pre-K. This is a human being that is an ally.”
San Francisco mayor London Breed thanked Newsom for believing in her and first appointing her as well as providing logistical support to her city.

“Governor Newsom has been there for us. He has answered our calls. He has been active and reached out to us on so many different levels. And what I don’t want to do is to go backwards and stopped the progress we have been making,” Breed said.

“More importantly, I want to express that Gavin Newsom has been an amazing supporter and friend to African Americans – not just in his capacity as governor but when he served here as mayor of San Francisco,” Breed continued. “The first position I was appointed to was on the San Francisco Redevelopment Commission and Gavin Newsom appointed me. A lot of people think it was Willie Brown. It was not Willie Brown. It was Gavin Newsom.”

Brown was the first Black mayor of San Francisco and a former Speaker of the California Assembly.

Newsom, who joined the call, expressed his gratitude for the support he’s received thus far and reiterated the stances he plans to champion as governor. He pledged to continue to put women in positions of power, to build on economic and workforce development strategies for minority communities, and to continue to reform the public education system in California.

Voting in the recall election has started in California’s 58 counties. Voters can return their mail-in ballots now by mail or at designated drop-off stations or polling centers in their counties. Or they can show up to the polls on election day Tuesday, Sept. 14, to cast their vote.

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Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Colleagues Call for Eviction Moratorium

The lawmakers’ letter comes in the wake of a Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent eviction moratorium, which the lawmakers helped secure earlier this month.

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Eviction/Shutterstock

Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13) joined Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Cori Bush (MO-01), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), and 59 of their House colleagues in urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to pass legislation to extend the federal eviction moratorium for the duration of the pandemic.

The lawmakers’ letter comes in the wake of a Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent eviction moratorium, which the lawmakers helped secure earlier this month.

“Millions of people who are currently at risk of eviction, housing insecurity, or face becoming unhoused desperately look to their elected representatives to implement legislation that will put their health and safety first and save lives,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

“As your fellow colleagues, we implore you to act with the highest levels of urgency to advance a permanent legislative solution in a must pass legislative vehicle in order to extend the life-saving federal eviction moratorium for the duration of the deadly global health crisis,” the letter said.

Only 51 percent of people in the United States are fully vaccinated, break-through infections are surging, and only 11 percent of the $46 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance that Congress authorized to provide financial relief to renters and landlords has been distributed by states and localities. 

Black, Latino, Asian, and Indigenous households are more likely to report being behind on their rental payments, with nearly 600,000 seniors and nearly 20 percent of senior renters who are people of color are behind on rent. Additionally, communities with lower vaccination rates and higher COVID-19 cases tend to be the same as those with renters at heightened risk of eviction without an eviction moratorium.

With the Supreme Court ruling striking down the CDC’s eviction moratorium, the lawmakers are calling on Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer to advance a legislative solution to extend the eviction moratorium in a must-pass legislative vehicle.

“The impending eviction crisis is a matter of public health and safety that demands an urgent legislative solution to prevent further harm and needless loss of human life,” the lawmakers continued.

“If we do not act, the end of the eviction moratorium will undoubtedly lead to the increased spread of COVID-19, more deaths, disability, and trauma. We implore you to act with the urgency this moment demands…”

 

 

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