Executive Director, B. Darcel Lee of the California Black Health Network shares with us great news on their visit to the White House.
This past Monday, February 24, 2014, I (B. Darcel Lee) was privileged and honored to attend a special movie screening at the White House. Many of us who have worked tirelessly over the past year toward the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, were invited to the White House not only in celebration of Black History Month, but also as a thank you for our efforts. It was an experience I will not soon forget.
Senior Advisor to the President, Valerie Jarrett, first welcomed us and let us know that the President was grateful for all of the work we have been doing as we educate and outreach to communities of color and ensure that these individuals are enrolled in the Affordable

Yusuf & Darcel Lee at the White House

Care Act. She asked that we now double our efforts and participate in March Madness as we race toward the March 31st deadline date for Open Enrollment. Ms. Jarrett let everyone know that it is critical for us to get as many individuals in our communities enrolled as possible. She said that we were each invited to the White House as a thank you and that the President wanted her to express his strong interest in having us really focus on enrollment over these next few weeks.

 

First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Michelle Obama, then took the stage and again, thanked each of us for our work on the ACA. She also introduced the cast of the film that we were about to see: The Trip to Bountiful, starring Cicely Tyson, Blair Underwood, Vanessa Williams, and KeKe Palmer, all of whom were there and all of whom we met. FLOTUS emphasized the film’s themes of perseverance, stick-to-itiveness, and hope. She spoke directly to the dozens of African American students from historically Black colleges and universities who were also in attendance. These young people had been invited to participate in this wonderful event because each of them has a GPA of 4.0 or better! Mrs. Obama encouraged them to continue their education, letting them know that education is the key to a healthy life and also the answer to the realization of their hopes and dreams.

As we move into March and the March 23rd fourth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, I think it is significant that California Black Health Network was afforded this opportunity. We take our work seriously and for that we were rewarded with a visit to the White House. The President and Mrs. Obama are committed to this law of the land and like them, we are passionate about providing access to care for those who have had no insurance, and thus, no assurance.
Despite all the rhetoric and all the push-back, the Affordable Care Act is working. Over 4 million people now have insurance who did not have coverage before. So many stories are surfacing about the benefits of the ACA and everyday people, around this state, are telling me and my staff how grateful they are for this safety net.
For more information about the California Black Health Network, visit www.cablackhealthnetwork.org.

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