President Obama challenging uninsured to get on healthcare

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Obama administration is challenging 20 cities, including Kansas City,  that have some of the highest uninsured health care rates across the nation.

President Barack Obama said he will visit the city that signs up the most people for health insurance this enrollment season.

"I want to see the President!!" said one excited UMKC student, who still relies on her parents insurance until she reaches the age of 26.

Each of the twenty cities President Obama has challenged are led by either Democrat or Independent mayors.

This third sign up season for Obamacare is expected to be the toughest yet. Federal officials expect less than 1 million new customers to enroll onto the ACA's rolls.

"Maybe they're holding out hoping they don't have to do it for some reason," said Jim Torres, marketplace program manager at the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Clinic.

Mid-America Regional Council, (MARC) a metro group that studies the habits of those with insurance coverage,  said the remaining uninsured are harder to reach and teach.

"We're down to the hardest to the hard to reach, hard to serve and convince it's a good time to apply and enroll," Torres said.

MARC said the metro's uninsured are made up mostly of the poor and part time workers, many of whom are minorities with no high school diploma and those between the ages of 18-25.

Younger generations like UMKC Junior Rita Lopez, believe after they get off of their parents insurance at the age of 26, they will not be in any hurry to sign up.

Either because they can't afford it or don't believe they should be penalized for something they rarely or never use.

"I don't remember the last time I went to the doctor at all actually," Lopez said.

But the penalty for remaining uninsured is rising every year. Those who remained uninsured through 2015, will face a fine of $395 at tax time.

"If I don't have the money to pay for insurance, I definitely won't have the money to pay the fine," said college student Chandalynn Denson.

Here are the 20 cities involved:

•Atlanta, GA
•Milwaukee, WI
•Charlotte, NC
•Nashville, TN
•Chicago, IL
•New Orleans, LA
•Dallas, TX
•Oakland, CA
•Denver, CO
•Philadelphia, PA
•Detroit, MI
•Phoenix, AZ
•Great Falls, MT
•Richmond, VA
•Kansas City, MO
•Salt Lake City, UT
•Las Vegas, NV
•Seattle, WA
•Long Beach, CA
•Tampa, FL

--------

Amy Hawley can be reached at amy.hawley@kshb.com.

Follow her on Twitter

Connect on Facebook

Print this article Back to Top