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Mid-City CAN Blog

Health-care team member describes visit to legislators

Picture of Asha MAsha Mohmed is a City Heights resident, who came to the U.S. from Somali in the mid-'90s. She is also a member of the Mid-City CAN Access to Health Care Momentum Team. She went to Sacramento on Feb. 20 through a grant from California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. The purpose was to visit California state legislators and support implementing a full expansion of Medi-Cal to those earning up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level in 2014. They visited state Assemblymember Rocky Chávez (R-Oceanside), state Assemblymember Manuel V. Pérez (D-Coachella, Joshua Tree), state Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego), state Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and state Assemblymember Shirley Webber (D-San Diego). She described her trip through a Somali interpreter.

It was a great experience. This is very new to me. I met with a lot of great people around California who were facilitating discussions and sessions.

The reason that I went to Sacramento was because of the health-care issue. We met with five individuals -- different assembly members and state senate members.

 

I told them that health care is a necessity to life, and if someone doesn't have access to health care then they can't work. They can't have a life. The first thing and the most important is to have good health. If they don't have good health it is important to have an insurance card, or they can't do anything about it.

So we were asking [the legislators] specifically to expand health care coverage -- for singles after age 26. A lot of those people won't be covered with health-care reform.

I felt very happy to be in a meeting with people. We were welcomed.

I kept sharing my personal story over and over again:

The example that I shared is myself when I came to the United States [in 1996]. I have eight children. I felt very lucky to have health insurance and a home. I gave birth to a boy here in the U.S.

He was born here, so he had health insurance. What surprised me was that when he got older, he didn't qualify for health care.

I also talked about my daughter. She didn't have insurance. When she graduated from high school, she got pregnant, and when she gave birth, she owed $10,000 to the hospital -- $10,000 is a lot of money.

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