Health Access Post, Capitol Hill, Corner Store Art Center, Washington DC July 2015

Health Access Post, Capitol Hill, Corner Store Art Center, Washington DC July 2015

Health Access post words

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Milagros or "Miracles" handmade by Branham to symbolize health are nailed to the post

Milagros or “Miracles” handmade by Branham to symbolize health are nailed to the post

The Caduceus, symbol of medicine, is painted to go around this post.

The Caduceus, symbol of medicine, is painted to go around this post.

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This post was started in Big Sur, in Monterey County, California, where the Affordable Health Care Act is not accepted by many doctors and hospitals. The small clinic in Big Sur has been overwhelmed with people who drive the hour from Monterey for care, because they can’t get a doctor in Carmel or Monterey.

The lead artist, Branham Rendlen and her husband, both self-employed, have seen their insurance premiums triple. They believe that health access should be affordable for all people and access to good health care is a right.  They now have to struggle to pay the premium of $1,500 a month

Mary Storey, in Gillsville GA was not able to get coverage, despite many calls and long waiting on her calls looking for insurance.  I sat in her living room listening over over an hour as she was shuttled off to different people, and finally to an automated voice recording that cut her off.

In Fallbrook, California where I live, many have seen coverage increased and costs reduced, so they are thankful for the changes.  My fiance pays for Covered California (Abama Care) through Blue Shield, but three times he has called doctors and been told they “don’t take that insurance.”  This month he had to drive 40 minute to Urgent Care in Temecula to see a PA, who diagnosed his 3 week cough as bronchitis and gave him a antibiotics.

I have a deeply personal experience with the fear that you feel when you are turned away from health care. I worked for PBS for 10 years, a state funded job on the San Diego State University Campus.  California state employees have excellent health insurance.  I paid $100 a month for myself and two children. and that included dental insurance.  When I left that job, to go into business and finish one of my books, I tried to get health insurance.  The monthly amount was $465, and I could not afford it on my small grants. I said,”I have been healthy all my life, what can happen in a year?”  I took the chance, but 6 months later got ovarian cancer.  A doctor in Carmel walked away from me, after he heard I had no insurance and would have to file for MediCal. I still remember him shaking his head, saying he was sorry as his hand held the doorknob to leave the exaaminting room.  This was the same exam where he told me he thought I might have ovarian cancer.  I called a social worker to get the state insurance, and was told “you have to be terminal to get care.” If I had not had friends in San Diego, because of my projects on access to health care with Fran Adler, I would be dead.  They helped me get county health coverage, until months later when the state MediCal was approved.  After I recovered, we did a nationally traveled exhibit and website: www.matriot.org

LEAD ARTIST/S: Branham Rendlen

www.branhamrendlen.com

PARTICIPANTS (INCLUDING ORGANIZATIONS): Kira Carrillo Corser, Jennifer Colby Ph.D., Ellen Martin and Carla Grace Baldassari SPECIAL THANKS TO FUNDERS/SPONSORS: Branham Rendlen

Exhibited: Corner Store Art Center, Washington DC, The Atlanta Beltline Project, Atlanta City Hall, First Night Monterey Artworks, California.