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SACRAMENTO — At the Aug. 21 meeting of the Covered California board of directors, Legislative Black Caucus members Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown (D-47) and Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-62) aired deep concerns centered on a single, lingering frustration: the idea that Covered California is not doing enough to enroll African-Americans in affordable healthcare.

With the second phase of enrollment due to begin Nov. 15, lawmakers warned against a repeat of what they described as failed outreach efforts the first time around, resulting in too few blacks obtaining the coverage they need and are entitled to receive.

With ease, Assemblywoman Brown ticked off a list of complaints that her office has received from statewide and local community leaders dismayed by lackluster outreach efforts. “Because of your lack of commitment to the African-American community,” she told the board, “this population could owe more than $8 million in penalties to the IRS for failure to buy insurance. We cannot let that happen on our watch.”

Suggesting that his time was wasted and efforts disrespected, Assemblyman Bradford expressed disgust over being asked to identify qualified outreach and advertising firms, only to find out that Covered California staff never even bothered to make any follow-up contact. “Covered California must be committed to outreach to this community,” he insisted.

Although Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said he disagreed with the black legislators’ perspectives, board member Susan Kennedy suggested he accept their concerns and work with staff to resolve them.
By CBM Newswire

CBM exists to facilitate communication between the black community, media, grassroots organizations, and policy makers by providing fact-based reporting to a network of over 21 Black media outlets on leading...