In recognition of the 18th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement:
“The last year saw the killings of at least two transgender people in California, and at least 27 across the country. Outside the United States, more than 85 transgender men and women have been murdered in hate crimes or by domestic partners. In spite of the rapid progress we have made together as a community, one thing has not changed: transgender members of our community – especially transgender women of color – continue to suffer from an epidemic of violence.
Any attempt to quantify the scope of that epidemic must be qualified by an “at least” or a “more than” because those figures hide murders never reported, hate crimes that went unrecorded because of lack of attention or malice on the part of investigators, victims misgendered or transgender kids who took their own lives in the face of rejection by their families or communities.
This month, voters elected an administration that presents an unprecedented threat to LGBT civil rights, but our community was under assault long before the election of Donald Trump. More than 200 pieces of legislation attacking LGBT people – with a special emphasis on the “T” – are making their way through legislatures across the country. Now more than ever, it is important that our community continue to make a priority of addressing the violence suffered daily by our transgender brothers and sisters.
2016 also saw the launch of Transform California, led by Equality California and the Transgender Law Center, a groundbreaking initiative to educate Californians about their transgender friends, neighbors and co-workers and the challenges they face. Through Transform California, we aim to make our state a place where all transgender and gender non-conforming people can feel safe and live free from fear and discrimination.
City police are investigating some type of an explosion in Center City that left a man injured on Tuesday morning.
Police confirm they were investigating a suspicious package on Pine Street when the explosion occurred, reports CBS Philadelphia.
Philly police officials tell CBS News the explosion was caused by some kind of device that the victim activated, and it came in a manila envelope.
Police are talking to the victim and his partner and looking at everything, including the possibility of this being a hate crime. Officials tell CBS News they do not believe this is related to terrorism.
“Preliminary information is that there was a package they believed to have contained some sort of medication. Now, it did explode, but at this time they don’t know whether or not this was an intentional explosion,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said. “We don’t know whether this was a bomb mailed to the house in order to explode and do injuries, or whether this was just some sort of freak accident where something like an inhaler just exploded.”
Small said the explosion occurred inside the kitchen where a 62-year-old man lives.
“There’s some broken glass, there’s some damage to the range where you would cook, there’s some blood, but there’s not a lot of structural damage at all inside the property,” Small said.
The victim was transported to Jefferson Hospital. His condition is still unknown at this time.
The Philadelphia Police, Bomb Squad, the ATF and other agencies continue to investigate this incident, however there’s no threat to the surrounding area.
“All of the other mailed packages that we initially thought were suspicious have been cleared,” Small said. “There no thereat now of anything else exploding.”
The victim does receive medication through the mail regularly.
Investigators say, while it’s rare, inhalers have been known to accidentally explode.
A 36-year-old roommate does live with the victim. Police say he’s being questioned at this time.
June 24, President Obama designated Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s National Park System. Stonewall is the first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights in America.
In support of this historic designation, Pride Live Nation has partnered with Charitybuzz and some of the biggest names in entertainment to raise funds directly for the Stonewall National Monument.
Visit charitybuzz.com/stonewall and bid on exciting experiences and items donated by Anderson Cooper, Cher, George Clooney, Taylor Swift, Justin Tranter, Jonathan Adler, Andy Cohen, Bryan Lourd, Cyndi Lauper, Mick Rock, David Karp, Taylor Swift, Dustin Lance Black, and Moncho1929.
In addition, Madonna has donated a pair of cherry red & purple velvet Prada couture shoes , Stevie Nicks has donated a trademark rhythm tech tambourine designed exclusively for Stonewall National Monument, and Demi Lovato has donated one of her specially designed Michael Costello sequin costumes worn on her Future Now tour.
The auction runs through Nov. 10, 3 p.m. EST.
The funds raised through the unique celebrity experiences and items will go toward helping to provide for dedicated National Park Service rangers, a temporary ranger station and visitor center, research and materials, exhibits, LGBTQ community outreach, public education and scholar engagement at Stonewall National Monument.
Equality California applauded the election of its endorsed candidate California Attorney General Kamala Harris to represent the state of California in the United States Senate. Equality California endorsed Harris’ candidacy in May of this year.
“Kamala Harris is an outstanding successor to Barbara Boxer and will carry on her decades-long pro-equality legacy,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “Harris already has a 20-year record of using each office in which she has served to advance LGBT equality. We are confident that she will continue as a champion for the civil rights of LGBT people – and all people who are the target of discrimination and lack of acceptance – in the United States Senate.”
Harris first demonstrated her strong support of the LGBT community as San Francisco district attorney, where she established a special LGBT hate crimes unit and led efforts to abolish gay and transgender “panic defenses” in criminal trials. She was a vocal supporter and defender in court of bans on so-called “gay conversion therapy” and was on hand at San Francisco City Hall to marry same-sex couples during the brief window they could wed in 2004. As attorney general, she refused to defend Proposition 8 in court and refused to certify the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” an initiative that sought to legalize the killing of gay men, for the ballot.
Harris has been a vocal supporter of Equality California-sponsored legislation, including Assembly Bill (AB) 1887 (Low), recently signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, which bans state-funded travel by California state employees to jurisdictions with laws in place that discriminate against LGBT people. In the U.S. Senate, she has pledged to support the federal Equality Act, as well as a nationwide ban on gay and transgender panic defenses.
The Equality California Political Action Committee endorses viable candidates who have a proven track record of supporting equal rights and legal protections for LGBT Californians and who are committed to advancing these goals in their capacity as elected officials.
The site of the most deadly hate crime in modern U.S. history will likely be purchased by the City of Orlando and turned into a memorial.
City officials announced today that they’ve negotiated a price of $2.4 million to buy Pulse, the nightclub where a gunman and 49 others were killed in June.
“This location is now a permanent part of Orlando’s history,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “It’s the site of the most tragic event that has ever occurred in the City of Orlando. We want our entire community to be a part of this site.”
The site has been visited by President Obama, Vice President Biden, Hillary Clinton and her runningmate Tim Kaine, plus visiting world leaders, and a number of celebrities. But most frequently, it’s visited by everyday people who want to remember those lost.
Talks about the club’s future took place for the past few months, according to Cassandra Lafser, press secretary for the mayor’s office, and a final price was reached this week. The Orlando City Council will vote on the purchase Monday, two days after Orlando’s annual pride celebration, Come Out With Pride.
On June 12, Fort Pierce man Omar Mateen opened fire in the Orlando LGBT club. In phone calls to police, Mateen swore an allegiance to leaders of ISIS. Mateen ultimately died at Pulse, where police shot him eight times before taking control of the club. Pulse regulars say Mateen frequented the club, leading to speculation he was gay, but family members and the FBI dismiss that.
The attack occurred on Latin night at Pulse, and a disproportionate number of victims were Latino. Dyer stresses the massacre, though, tore at all of Orlando, and the Pulse now should serve as memorial site recognized by the entire community.
“It has great significance, not just for the LGBTQ community and the Hispanic community, but for all of us that live and love Orlando,” Dyer said.
A timeline for turning Pulse into a formal memorial has not been set, but Dyer says the club will remain in its current state for the next 12 to 18 months. In the wake of the shooting, Pulse and the fencing surrounding turned into a makeshift monument to the fallen 49. The logo for the Pulse since became a mourning and rallying cry. But the site has also drawn trespassers and criminals breaking into the property, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The Sentinel notes owners Barbara and Rosario Poma negotiated a price well beyond the $1.65 million appraised value of the club. Pulse has not re-opened since the shooting.
Barbara Poma opened the bar in 2004 and named it in honor of her later brother John, who died from AIDS in 1991. Poma issued a statement earlier this year expressing her desire for part of the club to include a memorial. Dyers said a public process will determine what sort of memorial gets created at the site.
Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA) Adam Bouska via Facebook
For LGBTQ Americans, there is a clear choice for President of the United States this year. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a longtime advocate of LGBT rights, a defender of those too often overlooked by broader society, and the most qualified candidate to ever seek the Presidency. In the White House, she will be an ally to our community and a steady-handed leader who will keep America on the path towards greater inclusion and equality.
During her time as a Senator in New York, Hillary had an exemplary record of fighting for LGBTQ Americans. She was a passionate advocate for expanding hate crimes protections to cover those attacked because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. She fought to end workplace discrimination against LGBT people and to end restrictions that blocked same-sex couples from adopting children. In an era when marriage equality was still a controversial topic, she voted against President George W. Bush’s attempts to place a ban on same-sex marriage in the United States Constitution.
As Secretary of State, she led the most LGBTQ-inclusive State Department in American history. She was front and center in the fight to pass the United Nations Resolution on LGBT Human Rights, made the State Department the most LGBTQ-friendly workplace in the Executive Branch, and made it possible for transgender Americans to update their passports to reflect their true gender. She listened to the needs of our community, and advocated on a global scale for our inclusion and empowerment.
It is beyond all doubt that the election of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine is better for LGBTQ Americans than the election of Donald Trump and his notoriously anti-equality running mate Mike Pence. Yet her work to secure LGBTQ equality is just one of many reasons that Hillary Clinton is the best choice for president.
Here’s another: Hillary Clinton doesn’t quit. She doesn’t stop when the going gets rough. She doesn’t give up when things go against her, or throw her hands in the air and claim that everything is “rigged.” She’s tenacious, and a force to be reckoned with. We need leaders like that at the front of the progressive movement and in the highest level of our government.
If there’s one thing that has become painfully clear to me during my four years in Congress, it’s that change doesn’t come easily in this nation. As an LGBTQ American, this was, of course, no surprise to me. Progress in America is made in fits and starts — by moving forward as much as we can when opportunities present themselves, and holding our ground against the inevitable pushback.
Every single advance we’ve won for LGBTQ Americans has come through this sort of slow and methodical effort. Every right we now treasure is was won and protected through perseverance and grit.
The LGBTQ movement didn’t give up when the first few cases regarding marriage equality went against us in the 1990s; we kept at it over the years until we were finally able to make, and win, our argument before the Supreme Court in 2015.
We didn’t walk away from the fight when efforts to pass employment non-discrimination laws came up short in Congress after Congress; instead, we regrouped and have come forward with a bolder, more expansive bill, the Equality Act. It will take years to pass this comprehensive LGBTQ rights bill but our community is in this for the long haul. We’ll learn from our defeats, and come back stronger until we win.
The sort of tenacity that has defined the LGBTQ rights movement has been the story of Hillary Clinton’s life. She’s always been willing to play the long game, to grab small victories out of larger defeats, and to get back up and keep fighting even in the face of long odds.
She turned the defeat of her health care plan in the 1990s into an opportunity to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program. In the wake of the worst terrorist attack in American history, she rallied the Senate and nation to rebuild in New York and to provide needed health coverage to victims and first responders. When she lost the hardest-fought Democratic primary in history, she joined the Cabinet of her former rival, becoming one of his most trusted advisors, and today she leads her party forward with his enthusiastic support.
Hillary Clinton has never given up in her life.
She won’t give up on her goal of making America a better, more inclusive, more prosperous nation. She won’t give up on her commitment to LGBTQ equality. If we elect her on November 8, she won’t give up on us.
Democratic Congressman Mark Takano represents Southern California‘s Inland Empire in the United States House of Representatives. He is the first openly gay person of color to serve in Congress.
EQCA endorses viable candidates running for local, state and federal offices who have a proven track record of supporting equal rights and legal protections for LGBT Californians and who are committed to advancing these goals in their capacity as elected officials.
Click here to find your Congressional district. Click here to find your Senate and Assembly districts.
President of the United States:
United States Congress:
U.S. Senate: Kamala Harris
Congressional District 1: No Endorsement
Congressional District 2: Jared Huffman
Congressional District 3: John Garamendi
Congressional District 4: No Endorsement
Congressional District 5: Mike Thompson
Congressional District 6: Doris Matsui
Congressional District 7: Ami Bera
Congressional District 8: No Endorsement
Congressional District 9: Jerry McNerney
Congressional District 10: Michael Eggman
Congressional District 11: Mark DeSaulnier
Congressional District 12: Nancy Pelosi
Congressional District 13: Barbara Lee
Congressional District 14: Jackie Speier
Congressional District 15: Eric Swalwell
Congressional District 16: No Endorsement
Congressional District 17: Mike Honda
Congressional District 18: Anna Eshoo
Congressional District 19: Zoe Lofgren
Congressional District 20: Jimmy Panetta
Congressional District 21: Emilio Huerta
Congressional District 22: No Endorsement
Congressional District 23: No Endorsement
Congressional District 24: Salud Carbajal
Congressional District 25: Bryan Caforio
Congressional District 26: Julia Brownley
Congressional District 27: Judy Chu
Congressional District 28: Adam Schiff
Congressional District 29: Tony Cardenas
Congressional District 30: Brad Sherman
Congressional District 31: No Endorsement
Congressional District 32: Grace Napolitano
Congressional District 33: Ted Lieu
Congressional District 34: Xavier Becerra
Congressional District 35: Norma Torres
Congressional District 36: Raúl Ruiz
Congressional District 37: Karen Bass
Congressional District 38: Linda Sánchez
Congressional District 39: No Endorsement
Congressional District 40: Lucille Roybal-Allard
Congressional District 41: Mark Takano
Congressional District 42: No Endorsement
Congressional District 43: Maxine Waters
Congressional District 44: Isadore Hall III
Congressional District 45: No Endorsement
Congressional District 46: Bao Nguyen
Congressional District 47: Alan Lowenthal
Congressional District 48: No Endorsement
Congressional District 49: Doug Applegate
Congressional District 50: No Endorsement
Congressional District 51: Juan Vargas
Congressional District 52: Scott Peters
Congressional District 53: Susan Davis
Senate District 1: No Endorsement
Senate District 3: Mariko Yamada
Senate District 5: Cathleen Galgiani
Senate District 7: Steve Glazer
Senate District 9: Nancy Skinner
Senate District 11: Scott Wiener
Senate District 13: Jerry Hill
Senate District 15: Jim Beall
Senate District 17: Bill Monning
Senate District 19: Hannah-Beth Jackson
Senate District 21: Johnathon Ervin
Senate District 23: No Endorsement
Senate District 25: Anthony Portantino
Senate District 27: Henry Stern
Senate District 29: Josh Newman
Senate District 31: Richard Roth
Senate District 33: Ricardo Lara
Senate District 35: No Endorsement
Senate District 37: No Endorsement
Senate District 39: Toni Atkins
Assembly District 1: No Endorsement
Assembly District 2: Jim Wood
Assembly District 3: No Endorsement
Assembly District 4: Cecilia Aguiar-Curry
Assembly District 5: No Endorsement
Assembly District 6: No Endorsement
Assembly District 7: Kevin McCarty
Assembly District 8: No Endorsement
Assembly District 9: Jim Cooper
Assembly District 10: Marc Levine
Assembly District 11: Jim Frazier
Assembly District 12: No Endorsement
Assembly District 13: Susan Eggman
Assembly District 14: Mae Torlakson
Assembly District 15: Tony Thurmond
Assembly District 16: Cheryl Cook-Kallio
Assembly District 17: David Chiu
Assembly District 18: Rob Bonta
Assembly District 19: Phil Ting
Assembly District 20: Bill Quirk
Assembly District 21: No Endorsement
Assembly District 22: Kevin Mullin
Assembly District 23: No Endorsement
Assembly District 24: Marc Berman
Assembly District 25: Kansen Chu
Assembly District 26: No Endorsement
Assembly District 27: Ash Kalra
Assembly District 28: Evan Low
Assembly District 29: Mark Stone
Assembly District 30: Anna Caballero
Assembly District 31: No Endorsement
Assembly District 32: No Endorsement
Assembly District 33: No Endorsement
Assembly District 34: No Endorsement
Assembly District 35: Dawn-Ortiz Legg
Assembly District 36: No Endorsement
Assembly District 37: Monique Limón
Assembly District 38: Christy Smith
Assembly District 39: Raul Bocanegra
Assembly District 40: Abigail Medina
Assembly District 41: Chris Holden
Assembly District 42: Greg Rodriguez
Assembly District 43: Laura Friedman
Assembly District 44: No Endorsement
Assembly District 45: Matthew Dababneh
Assembly District 46: No Endorsement
Assembly District 47: Eloise Reyes
Assembly District 48: Blanca Rubio
Assembly District 49: Ed Chau
Assembly District 50: Richard Bloom
Assembly District 51: Jimmy Gomez
Assembly District 52: Freddie Rodriguez
Assembly District 53: Miguel Santiago
Assembly District 54: Sebastian Ridley-Thomas
Assembly District 55: No Endorsement
Assembly District 56: Eduardo Garcia
Assembly District 57: Ian Calderon
Assembly District 58: Cristina Garcia
Assembly District 59: Reginald Jones-Sawyer
Assembly District 60: Sabrina Cervantes
Assembly District 61: Jose Medina
Assembly District 62: Autumn Burke
Assembly District 63: Anthony Rendon
Assembly District 64: Mike Gipson
Assembly District 65: Sharon Quirk-Silva
Assembly District 66: Al Muratsuchi
Assembly District 67: No Endorsement
Assembly District 68: No Endorsement
Assembly District 69: Tom Daly
Assembly District 70: Patrick O’Donnell
Assembly District 71: No Endorsement
Assembly District 72: No Endorsement
Assembly District 73: No Endorsement
Assembly District 74: No Endorsement
Assembly District 75: No Endorsement
Assembly District 76: No Endorsement
Assembly District 77: No Endorsement
Assembly District 78: Todd Gloria
Assembly District 79: Shirley Weber
Assembly District 80: Lorena Gonzalez
Anaheim Elementary School Board Trustee Area 1: Billie Joel Wright
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board, District 3: Rebecca Saltzman
Berkeley School Board Director: Judy Appel
Carlsbad City Council: Cori Schumacher
Cathedral City City Council: Greg Pettis
Chula Vista City Council, District 3: Steve Padilla
Concord City Council: Pablo Benavente
Desert Community College District, Trustee Area 3: Fred Jandt
Desert Healthcare District Board: Les Zendle, MD
Morgan Hill City Council: Rene Spring
Oakland City Council: Rebecca Kaplan
Oakland City Council: Peggy Moore
Oxnard City Council: Genevieve Flores-Haro
Palm Springs Unified School Board, Trustee Area 1: Thomas Lister-Looker
Pismo Beach City Council: Erik Howell
Richmond City Council: Cesar Zepeda
San Diego Board of Supervisors, District 3: Dave Roberts San Diego City Council, District 9: Georgette Gómez
San Francisco Board of Supervisors, District 11: Kimberly Alvarenga
San Francisco City College Board of Trustees: Rafael Mandelman
San Francisco City College Board of Trustees: Alex Randolph
San Francisco City College Board of Trustees: Tom Temprano
San Francisco City College Board of Trustees: Shanell Williams
San Mateo Harbor Commission: Sabrina Brennan
Bold: indicates an LGBT candidate
For a full explanation of Equality California’s ballot positions, click here.
Proposition 52: CA Medi-Cal Hospital Reimbursement (State Fees on Hospitals) – YES
Proposition 55: California Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act of 2016 (Prop 30 Extension) – YES
Proposition 56: CA HealthCare, Research & Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 – YES
Proposition 57: The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 (Governor Brown’s Criminal Justice Measure) – YES
Proposition 58: LEARN Initiative (Amend & Repeal Prop 227) – YES
Proposition 60: The California Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act – NO
Proposition 62: The Justice that Works Act of 2016 (Death Penalty Repeal) – YES
Proposition 63: Safety for All Act of 2016 (Gun Safety) – YES
Proposition 64: Control, Regular, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act – YES
Proposition 66: Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016 (Pro-Death Penalty) – NO
Paid for by Equality California (eqca.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
Paid for by Equality California PAC. This advertisement was not authorized or paid for by a candidate for this office or a committee controlled by a candidate for this office.
A report that the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas released on Tuesday indicates Uruguay and Argentina are Latin America’s most LGBT-friendly countries.
The 2016 Social Inclusion Index notes Uruguay “has been a leader” in the LGBT rights movement that has gained traction throughout the region over the last decade.
The report notes Uruguay in 2009 became the first country in Latin America to extend adoption rights to same-sex couples.
Gays and lesbians have been able to legally marry in Argentina and Uruguay since 2010 and 2013 respectively. Both countries also allow transgender people to legally change their gender without undergoing surgery.
Argentina and Uruguay are among the countries that contribute to the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership to promote LGBT rights around the world that the State Department manages with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Uruguay in July hosted the first global LGBT rights conference to have taken place in Latin America. Uruguayan Minister of Exterior Relations Rodolfo Nin Novoa, Special U.S. Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry and more than 150 activists from around the world were among those who attended the gathering in the country’s capital of Montevideo.
“The laws that the LGBTI social movements of Argentina and Uruguay have achieved over the last few years have allowed for an opening and social inclusion that has contributed to a climate of respect for sexual diversity,” LGBT Federation of Argentina Vice President Esteban Paulón told the Washington Blade in response to the report.
“Public policies that have broken down barriers and extended equality to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people have also been implemented in both countries,” he added. “The report reflects that this combination of legal framework and public policies has, without a doubt, improved the conditions in which the LGBTI community lives and they are the correct path forward for effectively fighting discrimination.”
Marcela Romero of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Trans People, which is known by the Spanish acronym REDLACTRANS, also welcomed the report.
“We consider the inclusion of Uruguay and Argentina in the Council of the Americas’ 2016 Social Inclusion Index as the most LGBT-friendly Latin American countries as very positive,” she told the Blade.
Romero — who is also the president of the LGBT Federation of Argentina and the Crossdressers, Transsexuals and Transgender (People) Association of Argentina — told the Blade that hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity remain problems in both countries.
Diana Sacayán, a prominent Argentine trans rights advocate, was stabbed to death in her Buenos Aires apartment in Oct. 2015. She was the third trans person reported killed in Argentina in the span of two months.
“A lot has been achieved under both countries’ gender identity laws, but trans women still continue to suffer violence and are victims of hate crimes,” Romero told the Blade, referring to Argentina and Uruguay and the report. “We have still not achieved the full recognition of rights, such as access to health and employment opportunities.”
“There is still much work to be done to achieve real equality,” she added. “The policies of these countries should be a model for other Caribbean and Central American countries in which our community faces constant violence, stigma and discrimination and do not have access to their social, economic and cultural rights.”
Index ranks countries on women’s rights, racial equality
The report also ranked countries based on women’s rights, their policies towards ethnic and racial minorities and other factors.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Mari Carmen Aponte speaks at the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas in D.C. on Oct. 24, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Mari Carmen Aponte on Tuesday noted U.S. embassies and consulates around the world “regularly advocate for the human rights of LGBTI persons.” She conceded there is “considerable work that still needs to be done” to address social exclusion across the region.“Creating more inclusive societies means addressing the multiple forms of discrimination and violence,” said Aponte.
Aponte was the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador from 2012 until late last year.
The Central American country that borders Guatemala and Honduras has one of Latin America’s highest murder rates.
Francela Méndez Rodríguez of Colectivo Alejandría, a local trans advocacy group, was murdered in May 2015 while visiting a friend’s home near the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador. Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas por la Diversidad Sexual, an advocacy group known by the Spanish acronym ESMULES, said their offices were broken into a few weeks later after its executive director publicly denounced the four police officers who attacked a trans activist after he attended a Pride celebration.
With Covered California’s three-month open-enrollment period starting Nov. 1, it’s a great time to shop for the best fit for your health coverage. During Covered California open enrollment, which runs through Jan. 31, consumers can choose among 11 name-brand health insurance plans that offer high-quality and affordable coverage. Here are some helpful tips.
Shop, shop, shop around.
Covered California’s online Shop and Compare Tool provides consumers with detailed information about various health plans in specific regions throughout the state. You can compare premium costs, the four pricing tiers, and subsidies available to help you pay for coverage. With some health insurance premium costs expected to rise in 2017, the Shop and Compare Tool allows consumers to evaluate their options. Try out the Shop and Compare Tool.
Get in-person help to find the best value.
Health insurance is complicated. Getting help choosing the right plan and completing the application is free and confidential. There are thousands of Covered California certified insurance agents and enrollment counselors located throughout the state. They can help guide you to the health plan that is the best fit and best value for you and your family. Find free local help to enroll.
Check out provider networks.
If you want to visit a particular doctor, be sure to check with the specific health plan to confirm that the physicians you want to see are indeed in the plan’s network of doctors. In 2017, each enrollee in a Covered California health plan will be assigned a primary care physician. Learn more about primary care physicians.
Vision and dental plans offer added bonuses.
While children’s dental and vision coverage has always been included as part of all health insurance plans sold through Covered California, adults can now enroll in family dental and vision plans at competitive rates.
Enroll early, get health coverage earlier.
Enrolling in a Covered California health plan by Dec. 15 allows you to start the new year with coverage. Having health insurance in place starting Jan. 1 can reduce your worries about having to pay a tax penalties for not being covered, which are $695 per adult and half that amount for those under age 18 in the household or 2.5 percent of your family income — whichever is greater. Additionally, gone is the mental gamble of hoping nothing happens — such as a car accident, sports injury, or unexpected illness.
In response to a campaign ad by San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim attacking an HIV-positive, formerly homeless gay man featured in an ad by Equality California, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement:
“It is a tactic for some candidates in electoral campaigns to attack the character and integrity of their opponents in order to marginalize and discredit their participation in the political process. Starting in the primary in the race for Senate District 11, Supervisor Jane Kim launched a coordinated attack on our endorsed candidate, Supervisor Scott Wiener, and on Equality California itself. She spread blatantly false information about the funding of our electoral program in an attempt to disparage the character of Supervisor Wiener and the integrity of Equality California. Kim launched her attack at a time when Equality California was running ads focused solely on Supervisor Wiener’s endorsements and record of accomplishments.
The latest example of Supervisor Kim’s use of these troubling campaign tactics occurred this week when she attacked the character of Gary McCoy, who volunteered to participate in an ad prepared by Equality California PAC that focused on Supervisor Kim’s record on homelessness. McCoy is an HIV-positive gay man who fought substance abuse and nearly developed full-blown AIDS while living on the streets. In the ad, he discussed Kim’s purported support and compassion for the City’s homeless population with her opposition to measures that would provide $1 billion in funding over 20 years for homeless assistance programs and for transitional and permanent housing.
In response to the ad, Supervisor Kim launched a character attack on McCoy, asserting falsely that he was paid to participate in the ad, in an apparent effort to raise questions about his veracity and honesty. The Kim campaign went on to assert that “nothing he says is true.”
In fact, the ad educating voters about Kim’s record on homelessness was entirely accurate, as documented by numerous news accounts and by Kim’s own, publicly accessible voting record. Her claims that McCoy was paid to participate in the ad are wholly false. Our organization contacted him after reading his moving story online about how Supervisor Wiener helped him off the streets, into recovery from meth addiction and, ultimately, into a job at city hall. He volunteered his time because he felt voters should know the truth about Kim’s record of opposing and obstructing measures that would bring real help to San Francisco’s homeless population.
Kim has once again obscured the issues at hand with outright lies and personal attacks on anyone who dares to support her opponent. We urge her to return to an honest discussion of the issues that matter to San Francisco and to California.”