My name is Jennifer Tracy, and I am the Executive Director of the San Diego Hunger Coalition (SDHC). SDHC was founded in 2007 with the mission to reduce hunger and food insecurity in San Diego. Between 2007 and 2011, the number of households relying on the help of CalFresh (formerly known as food stamps) to put food on their tables has grown by 185% in our county. This rapid rise of hunger is unacceptable, and we believe that we have an obligation to protect the food safety net for all San Diegans.
Our organization is committed to addressing growing needs, but we are also hampered by the challenge of staying afloat as a small nonprofit organization. I was shocked to learn that according to the California Employer Health Benefits survey, from 2002-2013, premiums for family coverage in California have increased by 185%, the same rate that food insecurity has grown in our county. That’s a shameful fact. At SDHC, since 2007 our own health care costs have grown by 58%, the single largest increase among all our operating costs.
Our clients tell us about the impossible choices that their families have to make every month between food or rent, food or healthcare. Without a state-led intervention, the runaway cost of health premiums, will only continue to make our community hungrier and sicker.
That’s why the San Diego Hunger Coalition supports the Justify Rates initiative to rein in out-of-control premium hikes. I am tired of being at the mercy of giant health insurers as their profits grow and children go hungry.