Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Gay Castro man meets with Obama on how ACA helped him

A gay San Francisco man was one of 10 people who were recently invited to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama to talk about the Affordable Care Act and how it has helped them.

Derrick C. (DC) Benn, 47, who lives in the Castro, told the Bay Area Reporter in an email that he was the only black gay man from California who was part of the experience.

All of the participants had written emails to the president expressing their support for the ACA. The White House put the video on YouTube in an effort to promote the fact that Sunday, February 15 is the deadline to sign up for health insurance for this year. Benn signed up for health insurance last year, and renewed this year, he said.

“All I did was write a brief email to the White House and by February 6 I received a call from the White House that I was invited to tell President Obama how ACA has improved my life,” Benn told the B.A.R.. The White House paid for his trip, he said.

In the three-minute video, Benn, who is a math, chemistry, and physics tutor for a private company, said that “everyone in my family is so proud of me,” for writing to the president.

“It will improve your life if you give it a chance,” Benn says in the video, referring to the ACA.

Among the others in the group were a cancer survivor and a doctor who told Obama that she got “riled up” after Congress tried for the umpteenth time to repeal the ACA. She didn’t think the president would actually read her email.

Benn said in his email to the B.A.R. that he encourages people to write to their representatives, senators, and the president “if you want to praise or criticize a policy that is of concern to you.”

While he was at the White House Benn also got to pet Bo, one of the first family’s dogs.

To sign up for the ACA, people in California can go to

Here’s the video:

— Cynthia Laird, February 13, 2015 @ 1:45 pm PST
Filed under: News,Politics

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