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Commentary by Enaya Hanbali
| Friday, Feb 3, 2017

Hundreds of local residents from throughout Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley, and Simi Valley showed up Wednesday at U.S. Rep. Steve Knight’s offices where they signed a petition and peacefully protested to urge him to keep and protect the Affordable Care Act.

The community came together because the community believes healthcare is a universal right for all Americans and a right that our country has fought for many years. The Affordable Care Act has insured 12.7 million Americans in California alone, and many individuals in the local district have been positively impacted by it.

Knight has failed to serve the community in his district. Santa Clarita has residents who live below the poverty line at 9.3 percent; 21.3 percent in Palmdale; and 6.1 percent in Simi Valley. These individuals and many others obviously cannot afford the cost to pay for healthcare out of pocket. It is going to be even harder if Knight decides to get rid of the Affordable Care Act as these individuals and many others are going to have to face insurance companies taking advantage of them again by using policies such as “pre-existing conditions” to avoid paying for one’s coverage. This will decline the health of many Americans and will damage people financially, which happened right before the Affordable Care Act.

It is unfortunate that there are many Republicans who are against the Affordable Care Act when there is a growing rise in healthcare costs. It is unfortunate that the rich in this country do not want to protect the basic rights of the people who work for them and the people who love them. It is an embarrassment that we are the only developed country where people have poorer health conditions while we pay more money into healthcare than any other developing country.

Knight might claim he has the interest of veterans in the community; however, he has never done anything to help veterans in the district. Many veterans in the district have to drive for hours or take a bus for hours to use their health benefits at the veterans hospitals outside of the district. Knight’s district is a huge district that covers many cities; it does not make any sense that he claims to help veterans as the district does not even have a single VA hospital for them.

The Democratic Party, the Green Party, independents and former Republicans came together to unite about the issue of healthcare in the district, because Knight has gone too far and his policies do not have the local community’s best interest. In the rally of protests, there were nurses, various health professionals, teachers and Democratic delegates speaking out that they had enough. They shouted “Knight out” because they had enough of him in his time in office. There are many Democratic delegates who showed up to the rally who are possibly thinking they have a chance to beat Knight in future election cycles, and they are organizing early to connect to the community.

This should be a concern for Knight, since in the last election, he won by a slimmer margin than his last election cycle. It is obvious the approval of his office work has declined. According to various statistics, the Republican influence has declined in this district for the last couple of years; the decline was more obvious in the last election than we have seen in years.

According to the California secretary of state’s office, Knight won by a slim margin of 53.1-46.9 percent. As he gets more of the local residents upset in his district, there is a strong likelihood he is not going to win the next election cycle – which will make California better.  This must mean there is hope that Knight is going to get “his ass dropped” out of office.

 

Enaya Hanbali is a native Southern Californian of Arab American descent. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public policy and administration from California State University, Long Beach. She works at a hospital in the 25th Congressional District.

 

Photos: Enaya Hanbali

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20 Comments

  1. Curtis Hook Curtis Hook says:

    Rep. Knight, continue to vote for repeal and replace… just make sure they happen at the same time.

  2. The “Affordable” Care Act; it only works if you don’t work.

  3. The “affordable” care act is a sham. We now have an $8,000 deductible and can no longer afford to take our kids to the doctor. Not sure who is this affordable, but for our middle class family, it has been a horrific nightmare.

  4. Rick Pratt Rick Pratt says:

    It worked for my family. I was able to afford insurance for the first time in over a decade. And I do work and have done so for 30 years. The ACA framework IS the republican plan, essentially the same as what the Nixon Admin put forth in the 70’s and then again in the 90’s to counter the clinton admin and also the same as RomneyCare in MA… They can’t come up with a replacement because it’s the plan they’ve been hawking for 45 years.

  5. Knight needs to remember that het got elected by a majority, not only a few.

  6. Luis Putzeys Luis Putzeys says:

    I hope the ACA is repealed and replaces ASAP.

  7. Its only affordable for the people getting massive subsidies. Everyone else is getting soaked.

  8. I hope he got a petition from those who want it dissolved…it is not affordable and there is no care but it is an act…

  9. #NoMoreKnightmares. Let’s “replace” Steve Knight in 2018.

  10. Star P says:

    The ACA works, is it perfect no, but for the first time, millions of Americans who never had health insurance could, young adults could stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26 and those with pre-existing health problems could not be denied coverage. Those who claim it only works for the poor are simply wrong and/or ill informed.
    Why should health care be limited only to the wealthy? Why are elected officials provided with government sponsored health care at no cost, but hard working citizens cannot have affordable health care because that would be “socialism?” Without the ACA, tax payers would still be obligated to pick up the tab for those uninsured; at least with the ACA mandate, individuals are accountable for paying their fair portion without placing an undue burden on all tax payers.

    Health care is a fundamental human right, and the Republican led Congress has had six plus years to repeal or offer a viable alternative to the ACA, and yet, they have failed to do so on both fronts. Repeal and replace? Ha, six plus years and counting, the GOP apparently can fool some of the people some of the time, but let’s get real, trump and his lackeys have NO plan or vision. Overturning the ACA, places the onus on them to come up with a realtime solution and they don’t want the responsibility or blame for denying millions of voters health care especially when midterm elections are just around the corner.

  11. Ann McKeown says:

    excellent article! good to know that it is people from all parties and all parts of the district who are concerned. Single payer may be the way to go, but it is cruel to remove healthcare without a replacement. Take care of our people!

  12. Andrea Paysinger says:

    I did read the ACA, all 1571 pages of it. And I read the FIRST DRAFT which had more PROTECTIONS for insurance policy holders to REIN IN the cost increases imposed by the insurance companies. In case you nay-sayers forgot, Anthem Blue Cross increased premiums in California 39% in 2008, only the insurance commissioner would not approve it. The ACA stopped that. If your premiums and deductibles are high, shop for another policy. I know working people who have reasonable costs and good coverage and SOME WHO COULD NOT GET ANY COVERAGE FOR CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS AT ANY PRICE. One family has a child with cystic fibrosis which ins from her dad’s work REFUSED TO COVER. They are grateful that they have coverage for her now because the premiums are far less that the THIRTY THOUSAND they were paying out of pocket every year, sometimes more. The Medicare “enhancments” alone are saving millions for people on Medicar – though many are too stupid or ill-informed to realize it.

  13. Andrea Paysinger says:

    All you folks who want it repealed and are buying the propaganda vomited out by the republicans should actually speak to some people who will be negatively affected.
    Do you have elderly parents on Medicare? The “DOUGHNUT HOLE” which was closed by the ACA will open again and MEDICATIONS that have ben AFFORDABLE will again be too expensive for them to afford.
    Are you willing to help them pay for the meds that are keeping them alive? There will no longer be free screening for cancer, diabetes, kidney and liver disease and co-pays for lab and x-ray will AGAIN BE CHARGED, AS WELL AS FOR DOCTOR VISITS. If you have elderly parents who will have to choose between rent and medical care, what will YOU DO?

  14. Andrea Paysinger says:

    The ACA had many more advantageous features in the First and Second Drafts
    However these were removed or modified during “mark up” by republicans so that the insurance companies had less constraints.
    So blame the republicans for the lack of fairness in the ACA. The Democrats tried to give us an excellent program but were stymied by those who took bribes from the insurance industry.

  15. Dan K says:

    Hey Enaya Hanbali, why you are not responding to all these reasonable people who explained to you how bad was affordable care??

  16. nol ami says:

    Hundreds of protestors? I only see maybe a couple dozen. Anyway, healthcare is not a universal right. You have the right to seek care, but you do not have rights over someone else’s labor to be cared for by them.

    The ACA is awful, it hurt my family personally when my parents had their long time health insurance discontinued because it was not ACA compliant. Now forced into the exchange and told it was the same coverage as their old insurance, they found out it wasn’t when they needed to use it. My father got diagnosed with cancer and his doctors didn’t accept his new insurance. He wanted to go to special cancer hospitals but his new insurance wasn’t accepted when his old insurance would have. My father was a strong man, both physically and mentally, but I had never seen him so defeated as when he was told his oy options were out local hospital and the county hospital in Los Angeles. We tried the county hospital because supposedly they have a good cancer program but they couldn’t do anything until they got a specific test done. Unfortunately they needed permission from the insurance company to perform the test which they said could take a week. It took months and by that time my dad had been placed in hospice at his home.

    I’m not blaming the ACA for my father’s death, but he was not cared for. We cared for him the best we could, but my dad worked his ass off his entire life, bought really good insurance and it was taken away because a few geniuses in Washington felt they knew what was best more than my dad knew for himself.

    So, I don’t care about how the ACA helped you. I don’t care how bad you had it before. All of us had triumph and struggle in different ways and you will never justify taking my parents health insurance away so that you could feel good about seeing subpar doctors at the county hospital.

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