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Nearly 100 people joined a community action at Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s Bakersfield office today to fight for our health and persuade him to support the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If he pursues a repeal, it will have very real consequences for thousands of his constituents who rely on Covered California or other provisions to obtain access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Carmen Morales, a nurse practitioner and SEIU Local 521 member, spoke at the event and drew on her decades of experience working at a public hospital. “I have a message for Representative McCarthy: Lack of access to quality, affordable insurance kills people. Working on the front lines at a safety net hospital, I am intimately familiar with the suffering that stems from poor access to affordable coverage. I specialize in working with people who have diabetes. Before the Affordable Care Act, I would see my patients lose their feet because they could not afford to see a regular primary care provider or to get supplies to manage their condition. Because of the ACA, we are providing preventive care.”20161220_105130

Sean Battle, a local pastor and a member of Faith in the Valley, talked about how healthcare should not be a political issue. “This should not be about politics. This is about the lives and deaths of people who don’t have access to healthcare.” He talked about not just how many millions of Californians could lose access to healthcare, but how having affordable access increases participation in our communities.

The event was organized by the Fight for Our Health Coalition which includes community members from: Health Access; SEIU California; SEIU Local 521; SEIU-UHW; SEIU Local 2015; UFW Foundation; Dolores Huerta Foundation; UDW/ AFSCME Local 3930; UWUA 246; Planned Parenthood Mar Monte; Project Inform; CIR/SEIU; California Alliance for Retired Americans; Community Health Initiative of Kern County; Faith in Action Kern County; California Partnership; and the Kern, Inyo, and Mono Counties Central Labor Council.

The #fight4ourhealth is just beginning, but we need to stand up now if we are serious about saving our community. If you want to get involved, call your congressman and tell them to support the ACA. We have gained too much to go back.

Check out the Kern County Facebook page for more photos.

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