Countdown in the Central Valley…

Yesterday, over 100 people rallied in Bakersfield in front of Congressman Jim Costa’s office, urging him to support health reform, as he did once before.

As reported in the Fresno Bee, Representatives Dennis Cardoza and Costa, both Democrats from California’s Central Valley, have not committed to support health reform. They supported the previous House bill last year, and many consumer, constituency, and community groups hope they will again.

Speakers included Dolores Huerta (pictured), professor and radio talk show host Mark Martinez, Dr. Holly Spohn-Gross, Reverend Byrd Tetzlaff, and Katherine Ernst, who described her own experiences with a broken health care system.

More pictures from the events are available at Facebook page photo album. Here’s one account from the local media.

But that’s just the beginning of the strong show of support for health reform in the Central Valley. Today, Wednesday, March 17th, the Health Care for America Now! coalition will start running TV ads in the Central Valley, making a final case for health reform. The ads spotlight Anthem Blue Cross of California’s recent rate hikes – up to 39% on individual policy holders and 75% on small business owners.

The ad is part of a large national buy starting Tuesday and Wednesday in 17 districts nationwide. The $1.7 million ad buy runs Tuesday or Wednesday through Friday and is scheduled to coincide with the expectation of a vote on health care legislation by week’s end. Ads start running in 11 districts on Tuesday. Those are as follows: Jason Altmire (PA-04), John Boccieri (OH-16), Jim Costa (CA-20), Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24), Harry Mitchell (AZ-05), Scott Murphy (NY-20), Brad Ellsworth (IN-08), Earl Pomeroy (ND), Bill Foster (IL-14), Steve Driehaus (OH-01), and Alan Mollohan (WV-01).

Below is the ad and the transcript. See all the ads and scripts online at


* “It’s happening everywhere.”
* “Health insurance companies jacking up premiums. Crushing small businesses and working families across America.”
* “Right here in California, we’ve seen our rates go up by 10, 20, even 39 %, in just the past few weeks.”
* “Remember, if the insurance companies win, we lose.”
* “Tell Congressman Jim Costa. To keep standing up for us, not the insurance companies.”
* “Pass health insurance reform now. “

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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