A New Day for Missouri: On the road in Kansas City

Posted February 3, 2014

What a great event we had today here in Kansas City.  Secretary Sebelius was in town, along with Mayor Sly James and representatives from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and regional nonprofits. 

They were joined at the Full Employment Council offices in Kansas City by Lynn Gardner Hinkle, an entrepreneur and mother of four sons, who dropped her health insurance four years ago because of the expense of $600 monthly premiums with a $3,800 deductible. When she developed melanoma she was forced to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for her care.

But Lynn enrolled in a silver plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace that costs less than $200 a month with a $600 deductible. And because of new Affordable Care Act protections, she could not be turned down because of her pre-existing condition of cancer.

“I consider Obamacare a lifesaver,” Lynn said.

We came to Missouri to talk about the new options for getting covered with affordable quality health insurance through the Marketplace. Open enrollment continues through March 31.

Secretary Sebelius spoke about how these local efforts embody the spirit of President’s Obama’s call to make 2014 a Year of Action.

Sixteen percent of Missourians – nearly 800,000 people-- are uninsured and eligible for coverage through the Marketplace, while 13.5 percent of Kansans, or 327,000 people, are uninsured and eligible for coverage. In the Kansas City area, including both states, 225,000 people are uninsured and eligible.

Secretary Sebelius reminded the audience that Missouri taxpayers are losing roughly $5 million a day and Kansas taxpayers are losing roughly $1.4 million a day, while their states turn down federal dollars to expand Medicaid.

About 125,000 people in the Kansas City area could be covered if the two states expanded Medicaid. And under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of the expansion population for the first three years and no less than 90 percent of the cost after that.