Mayor Lee Joins National Day of Action in Support of the Affordable Care Act
Mayor urges Congressional Representatives to project the ACA, while meeting with local health officials and residents to discuss benefits of the coverage.
Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined city leaders from across the country on Wednesday as part of a National Mayor’s Day of Action in support of the Affordable Care Act. The coast-to-coast event featured Mayor Lee and his colleagues urging members of Congress to protect the ACA and ensure that affordable healthcare remains accessible for all.
“We must protect the tremendous progress we’ve made under the Affordable Care Act,” said Mayor Lee. “As Mayors, it’s our job to ensure that our residents are healthy and productive, and the ACA helps us achieve that goal. We believe that access to healthcare should be a right enjoyed by all, and we are all working together to see that right protected.”
Since the ACA was passed in 2010, more than 5 million Californians have benefited from its coverage, including 133,000 in San Francisco. The ACA has infused more than $20 billion into the state’s healthcare system, and has resulted in historically-low uninsured rates among California residents.
As part of the National Day of Action, Mayor Lee held a virtual phone bank, along with Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland and Mayor Helene Schneider of Santa Barbara. The online event, hosted on Mayor Lee’s website, provided visitors with contact information to California Congressional Representatives, and allowed residents to tell those elected officials why they should support the ACA.
Mayor Lee also joined a phone-calling effort that took place at the San Francisco headquarters of the United Healthcare Workers. There, Mayor Lee personally made calls to California Congressional Representatives, imploring them not to repeal the ACA without a substantive replacement program.
If the ACA is overturned without an equitable replacement, public and private hospitals will suffer, local government costs will increase, and residents will lose quality coverage.
“Repealing the ACA will have tremendous consequences, with the worst impacts being felt by our most vulnerable residents,” said Mayor Lee. “We should not punish people for being sick, or for having pre-existing conditions. Those are the communities we should be working hardest to protect.”
Along with taking part in the phone banks on Wednesday, Mayor Lee visited a pair of local health institutions to show his support for the ACA. He stopped by a Medi-Cal enrollment center administered by the City’s Human Services Agency at 1440 Harrison Street. The ACA created a pathway for more low income residents to access health insurance through California’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal. At the enrollment center, Mayor Lee thanked employees for their work, and spoke with Medi-Cal recipients about how healthcare coverage provided through the ACA helped improve their lives. About a quarter of San Franciscans are now covered by Medi-Cal.
“Repeal would mean the elimination of health insurance for millions of low and moderate income Californians, many of whom are receiving comprehensive health care for the first time in their lives,” said Human Services Agency Director Trent Rhorer, who led Mayor Lee on the tour through the Medi-Cal enrollment center. “Our neighbors and communities need our collective voice to demand that the gains we’ve made in accessible, affordable health coverage through the ACA remain in place.”
Later in the day, Mayor Lee dropped in on the Maxine Hall Clinic, located on 1301 Pierce Street. At the clinic, Mayor Lee engaged in a roundtable discussion with physicians and ACA beneficiaries. He also talked with Barbara Garcia, the Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, about the healthcare impacts that will be felt by local residents if the ACA is repealed.
Mayor Lee is one of 300 mayors from across the country who signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The letter detailed areas of the ACA that had bi-partisan support, including these provisions:
• Insuring children up to the age of 26;
• Eliminating lifetime and annual limits;
• Assuring eligibility for insurance coverage even with pre-existing conditions;
• Guaranteeing coverage for pregnancy and breast cancer screenings; and,
• Providing coverage for preventive services at no additional cost.
San Francisco is dedicated to providing compassionate care, and the City has demonstrated that by launching Healthy San Francisco, leading the fight against HIV, and stepping up efforts to increase pedestrian safety. Maintaining the benefits of the ACA is one more way for San Francisco to be a safer, healthier city for all.