by Sylvia Moore
At the March 11 General Meeting, the Culver City Democratic Club voted in favor of joining the AllCare Alliance movement for universal health care. I'm very happy that the membership decided to join this important coalition of community and progressive organizations. The Alliance's goal is to get a publicly-financed healthcare program established in California based on "Medicare for All." There was no time to share my personal story with the membership at the meeting, so I share it here now. Last year, I injured my hand in a car accident. I briefly had employment for a few months, and got a silver health plan, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"). I was eventually able to get surgery for my hand. But, the ACA just isn't good enough. It was a first step, and only a step. The accident was in February 2014, and because of CoveredCA website hiccups, I didn't get my coverage until May 2014 (I started the application process in December 2013, and restarted it in March 2014 because of the new job).
It was not easy for me to find a surgeon because of the limited networks of ACA/Covered California plans. Even with my silver plan, I still had to pay high out of pocket costs for an MRI ($400), and co-pays for my primary care doctor ($55 a visit), and specialist visits ($65 a visit). At the time, my job didn't pay a whole lot. When that job ended, I paid premiums and costs out of savings I accumulated. I did, however, get some of these medical costs reimbursed from my auto insurer. I'm unemployed again and was eventually forced out of my silver plan, and put into the MediCal application process. Unfortunately, I could not locate a physical therapist who would take MediCal. I delayed possibly effective treatment trying to locate a PT who would take MediCal. For the PT I chose, my mother (who's helping me out) ended up paying $75 out of pocket (this was a discount!) for each visit.
My thumb has improved, but not enough where I have restored range of motion. I am going back to the surgeon, this time, uninsured. He does not take MediCal. The visit will cost $250. I may need more surgery, and if I don't get employment with health benefits soon, I shudder to think how much more surgery will cost. I will have to try to get all of these costs reimbursed by the other driver's insurer (I was not at fault). My auto insurer will not pay out for most of the out of pocket costs. Granted, this is not a life or death situation, but since I am a writer, having a bum hand is potentially career-affecting.
For some Californians on MediCal, they still have problems finding a doctor because of low-reimbursement rates. We have a two-tier health system in this country: a pretty good one for the affluent, employed and middle class, and a lesser quality one with harder or no access for the unemployed and low income. To me, that is unfair. When so many of us are still struggling to land jobs in a difficult economy, especially jobs with good health coverage, when wages are stagnant for many, having employment and/or access to a good income stream shouldn't determine the kind of coverage you get or whether you get coverage at all. That is unfair. In my opinion, health coverage must be decoupled from employment/income level. Health care is a right and should be paid for through taxation. Everyone accepts that public schools, police and fire are paid through taxation - why not health care?
If we had a universal system like Canada, Japan or Europe, I would have been able to seek treatment immediately or fairly soon after my accident at little to no cost. I would have been able to see any specialist no matter my employment/income situation. I wouldn't be "churning" in and out of MediCal/the private system and have my care interrupted because of bouts of unemployment. So, for those who have been lucky enough to have had continuous employment and generous health benefits most of your life, and consider the ACA to be the best we can do, please consider my experience and that of other people - particularly freelancers - who routinely experience bouts of unemployment. I have a good friend who is a freelance artist who is also experiencing coverage affordability issues despite the ACA.
I know President Obama and Congressional Democrats did as much as they could in getting some sort of improvement to our healthcare system passed. The ACA was what we got under the difficult circumstances at the time. But, we STILL need a publicly financed health system that covers everyone. Four million Californians will remain uninsured even when the ACA is fully implemented. What about them? This is where the states and the AllCare Alliance come in. California can lead the way to passing a truly universal healthcare system based on the ones in Canada, Japan, Europe, based on Medicare for All. California can be a model for the rest of the country. I'm imploring our state Democratic legislators, and Gov. Brown to support this effort. www.allcarealliance.org
by Diane Rosenberg
Beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother Cecilia Guttenberg passed away peacefully in her sleep at home on Friday March 20, 2015. She was 83 years old.
She was buried Tuesday morning, March 24, 2015, at Hillside Cemetery.
Her energy, passion and enthusiasm informed her life and all those around her.
Born July 15, 1931, Ms. Guttenberg was a dedicated educator for many years in the Culver City Unified School District.
Her students benefited greatly from both her knowledge and her caring.
Committed to political activism, she served over the years in several different capacities on the board of the Culver City Democratic Club.
An avid bridge player, she used her skill as a Life Master to teach others the game.
Most importantly, Ms. Guttenberg poured her love and energy into her three children, 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Though she is gone from this world, she lives on through them.
by Diane Rosenberg
On Sunday February 1st, Herb and I drove to Ojai to attend Lee Sanders' memorial service which was given by his school alumni. Lee's sister, brother-in-law and many of his lifelong friends and associates attended as well.
Everyone had many good things to say about Lee and it was clear he was well liked in the community.
Apparently Lee was very fond of being President of the Culver City Democratic Club. Giving Lee the plaque honoring his service to the Club was one of the best things we could have done for him. When he was in the hospice the only thing that he held on to and kept close to him was the plaque that the Club presented to him at our August General Meeting.
Congrats to Culver City Democratic Club endorsed LACCD Board candidates Andra Hoffman, Sydney Kamlager, Scott Svonkin and Mike Fong!
The following results of the March 3rd election are from LA City's final bulletin from March 4th @ 1:32AM. Culver City voting precincts have been included in the overall LA City results so we won't know how Culver City voted until the full results are released later in March. We do know who won and what the turnout has been.
All of the Culver City Democratic Club endorsed candidates for the LA Community College Board of Trustees were elected.
Voter turnout was 8.62% within the City of LA and 5.49% outside the City of LA. 54% of all voters used Vote-by-Mail.
LACCD Board of Trustees Results:
Seat #1: Winner -Andra Hoffman 34.79%
Andra Hoffman is leading over Francesca Vega 34.79% (61,307) vs 34.48% (60,762). Vega outperformed Hoffman in cities outside LA by 352 votes but Hoffman picked up 897 more votes in LA City to lead by 545. Final ballot counting is to be done by March 13th.
Seat #3: Winner - Sydney Kamlager 50.07%
Former District Director for Holly Mitchell, Sydney Kamlager won against 3 challengers in every city but Rolling Hills (where 3rd place finisher Essavi had a mere 8 more votes.) Kamlager won over 50% of Los Angeles and West Hollywood.
Seat #7: Winner - Scott Svonkin 61.24%
Challenger Steve Schulte won 3 cities but was 592 votes short of winning out of town. Incumbant Scott Svonkin dominated with 62% of the vote in Los Angeles to handily win.
Seat #9: Winner - Mike Fong 57.49%
3rd place finisher Joyce Garcia made a very strong rally in South cities Bell, Commerce, Cudahay and Huntington Park but failed to capture majority elsewhere. Winner Mike Fong had the race's highest margin of victory - he collected 36% more votes than 2nd place finisher John C Burke.
Other races of interest:
Hermosa Beach upheld their ban on Oil Drilling by voting "NO on Measure O" by a Four-to-One Margin. Close to 60% of voters turned out to vote.
LA had 2 charter Amendments seeking to consolidate LA City and LAUSD elections to even number years- Both passed:
Amendment 1: LA City elections - 76.93%
Amendment 2: LAUSD elections - 76.46%
In LA Council races incumbents* had no problem being re-elected and Social Justice Organizer Marqueece Harris-Dawson in District 8 was the only newcomer to win a seat outright. With 50% of the vote was needed to win, District 4 will have a run-off May 19th as none of the 14 candidate received over 16% of the vote. District 4 second place finishers David Ryu and Tomas O'Grady are separated by 61 votes.
LA Council Districts: District 2: Paul Krekorian* 75% District 4: Run-off: Carolyn Ramsay vs ? District 6: Nury Martinez* 61% District 8: Marqueece Harris-Dawson 61% District 10: Herb Wesson* 64% District 12: Mitchell Englander* 100% District 14: Jose Huizar* 66%