President Barack Obama challenged Long Beach and 19 other cities across the nation this week to increase the number of residents insured under the Affordable Care Act during the open enrollment period.
In an interview Friday, Mayor Robert Garcia accepted the challenge. The winning city will get a visit from the president.
Problem is, arriving at an exact number of uninsured residents in the city proper is hard to come by.
According to a press release sent by the White House, there are 480,000 people in Long Beach “and the surrounding region” who are uninsured and eligible under Covered California. When asked for clarification, White House officials referred calls to the state Health and Human Services Department, which referred calls to Covered California, which provided the number of enrollees in its program, but not the number of uninsured.
The most recent data of uninsured from the city’s Health and Human Services Department is from 2013. The city at that time reported 22.3 percent of the population did not have insurance, which amounted to almost 105,000 people.
As of June, an estimated 12,420 Long Beach residents have signed up and paid for coverage under Covered California, according to the state agency.
Regardless, city officials say they look forward to enrolling more residents and competing with other cities, which include Oakland, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Seattle.
Has anyone noticed that these cities are heavily liberal, and in decline? Atlanta fired their fire chief because he was teaching men to abstain from sexual sin. Now the cities are taking charge of providing health insurance to the uninsured.
Lisa Rubino, a spokeswoman for Long Beach-based Molina Healthcare, said the issue of coverage is often confusing for residents, with so many options and plans available. Many people don’t know what benefits they qualify for, how much insurance they can afford, or that they could have the majority of their coverage paid for through subsidies, she said.
Continuous outreach is needed to educate communities about health care coverage available to them, Rubino said. That means teaming with a variety of groups, including charitable organizations, faith-based communities and schools.
“It’s a multipronged approach, and it usually is a multivisit communication,” Rubino.
Obama urged such a push in his letter, sent this week to the Press-Telegram editorial board.
“So maybe you’re a local official, a pastor, or a sports hero who can spread the word,” Obama said. “Maybe you’ve got a cousin or an uncle who’s been uninsured for far too long. Or maybe you’re between jobs and don’t think that affordable coverage is an option for you. No matter who you are, everybody can get covered or help their neighbors do so.”
The White House said they are challenging communities “that collectively include a significant number of the remaining uninsured and represent particularly high opportunity for impact due to geography, infrastructure and ongoing enrollment efforts.”
Garcia acknowledged the political division in the country over the Affordable Care Act.
Those divisions have gotten deeper, and worse for Democrats and the President.
“I know there are people who have issues with that, and I get that,” he said. “But it’s here and it’s certainly in our benefit to make sure people are insured. Absolutely it’s a good thing, because having a healthy community makes for a stronger community.”
And there should be a healthy battle between the city and Oakland, the only other California town in the challenge.
“I’m sure I’ll at least have a side competition with the mayor of Oakland (Libby Schaaf), because she’s a good friend and we’re both very competitive,” he said.
The White House said with open enrollment underway, sign-ups by Dec. 15 mean people will have coverage by the new year. Open enrollment ends Jan. 31.
Residents may sign up at CoveredCA.com, or call 800-300-1506, a toll-free number for assistance.
Why is the President seeking desperate help from mayors in liberal cities? The President cannot save his signature program, which has turned into a miasma of government regulations and formulas hurting working families and businesses.
This Obamacare fraud is the worst thing to come out of Washington in modern times, a waste of wealth and resources which would have been better spent staying in the hands of individual Americans.
What is more astonishing and despressing, however, is that the Daily Breeze and associated Los Angeles News Group papers are promoting the President's agenda, without any regard or respect for the facts or the evidence.
The Affordable Care is affordable and uncaring. The President made his vanity and the regressive ideological agenda of his Stalinist mentors more important than the United States Constitution, his oath to serve his country, or the simple necessity to protect the citizens.
This desperation is beyond laughable, and a tribute to how far the President's stock and esteem have fallen.