Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Trustee Paulina Gonzalez Brito addresses the crowd at Berkeley City College’s 50th anniversary celebration. The event featured a block party along with a groundbreaking ceremony for the college’s new Milvia Street building. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
‘We’re still rising’: BCC celebrates 50th anniversary
College throws block party and breaks ground on new building
Sam O'Neil, Associate Editor • May 6, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
PCCDs classified employees pose for a pic at the first-ever professional development day for classified professionals. PCCD Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson reflected on the event in her report to the Board of Trustees. (Source: PCCD)
Peralta’s leadership search, CCC public safety earmark, and “rumors” discussed at 4/9 meeting of PCCD Trustees
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
College of Alameda jazz professor Glen Pearson demonstrates his musical talent on his classroom piano. Hes one of the newest members of the Count Basie Orchestra, a historic 18-piece jazz ensemble that took home a Grammy this year.
The humble Grammy-winning pianist leading CoA’s music program
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • March 4, 2024

    Experts explain the Affordable Care Act

    In preparation for the final throes of the Affordable Care Act, which requires all Americans to have health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014, a health fair on the Laney College campus invited members of the community to have their questions about the future of healthcare answered.

    The act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare, requires insurance companies to offer comprehensive coverage to all citizens, including those with preexisting conditions.

    California has continuously pioneered America’s healthcare coverage assistance programs with Covered California (CC), a state agency providing “objective information” about every participating healthcare provider, according to the NAACP’s Gayle Akins, who coordinates the healthcare agency’s northern California region. Akins spoke at a forum discussing healthcare options at the health fair.

    From left: California State Assemblymember Rob Bonta, NAACP Region Coordinator Gayle Akins, Asian Health Services CEO Sherry Hirota, and Alameda Alliance for Health CEO Ingrid Lamirault serving on a panel discussion at a community health fair at Laney College on Sept. 28, 2013.

    California State Assemblymember Rob Bonta also spoke at the forum, as well as Ingrid Lamirault of Alameda Alliance for Health and Sherry Hirota, president of Asian Health Services, which provides ongoing healthcare services to Laney students in the Wellness Center.

    Director of Alameda County Health Care Services Agency Alex Briscoe, who was expected at the panel, did not show.

    Major participating Bay Area healthcare providers include Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield, Blue Cross, and Health Net.

    Alameda Alliance for Health and Chinese Community Health Plan are also participating, though some big names, like United Healthcare and Aetna, are not.

    For those who already have coverage elsewhere, CC makes no direct changes to coverage plans outside of their network. Plans within the program, however, charge monthly premiums on a sliding scale.

    Like other insurance companies, CC features a calculator on their website for Californians to compare prices with other agencies.

    “Even when you look at the Cadillac of care plans in this program, premium plans are 40 percent less than what I spend as an employer,” said Ramsell Corporation CEO Eric Flowers. Ramsell provides low-income healthcare and HIV screening services throughout Alameda County.

    CC is working to entice Californians into their camp. As of Sept. 28, $2708 per month was the current average monthly income for a family of four to be eligible for discounted rates. Come Oct. 1, that criteria dropped to $1,963, and is rumored to continue dropping as competition heats up between rival companies.

    Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, no free plans are currently being offered. Anywhere.

    For the groundswell of Californians with fluid or nonexistent income, like freelancers or the unemployed, options within the program get a bit more complicated. Job seekers who choose CC will be dropped as soon as their income bracket rises above the allotted amount.

    With approximately 57,000 Alameda County residents currently unemployed, even $20 in monthly premiums can feel like an extravagant commitment. As the holiday season fast approaches, wallets across the county can prepare themselves for a long, hungry winter.

    Anyone lagging on purchasing coverage after Jan. 1 runs the risk of being charged a $95 fee, which is tracked by the IRS and accrues almost exponentially over time.

    With 1.4 million Californians currently uninsured, getting everyone on a plan in less than three months will take Sisyphean efforts from government officials as well as healthcare providers.

    Information about Covered California is available in 13 languages online at, or by phone at 800–300–1506.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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