Obama Administration Actively Working With Churches Before Obamacare Sign Up Ends

Rev. Otis Moss Jr of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church (John Gibbins / John Gibbins/UT San Diego)
Rev. Otis Moss Jr of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church (John Gibbins / John Gibbins/UT San Diego)

With less than 10 days before ACA sign up ends, the Obama administration has taken a literal leap of faith in getting churches to pitch in.

In less than 10 days, the bell tolls on the Affordable Healthcare Act enrollment period. Faith-based organizations have been essential to assisting the Obama administration in getting as many uninsured people covered as possible. Earlier this year, the US Health and Human Services stated that 6 out of 10 African Americans would be eligible for free or subsidized healthcare. The challenge: to get them to sign up.

In fact, the pressure is on and the White House has been working overtime, primarily through grassroots efforts, to get the word out and get as many uninsured people as possible to sign up for healthcare coverage as mandated by the 2010 law. Ideally, 6 million people needed to enroll in the first year with that number gradually increasing to 24 million over time, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

By March 31, all Americans are supposed to be insured per President Barack Obama’s landmark law, euphemistically called Obamacare. Late last year, some reports indicated that many were still unaware about several aspects of the law, that healthcare was mandatory and were perhaps swayed by rhetoric from those who oppose the law.

“You can’t deny the impact of the intensity of the vitriol in the debate around moving towards the ACA, all of the politics and strategies utilized…the inane debates in Congress, the 40 plus attempts to repeal… the confusing array of information that’s out there,” Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter said on a January call with reporters. “The general public has real lives and real problems and they don’t have time to sit around having esoteric debates about this.”

Back in January, an estimated 6.8 million African Americans lacked coverage. That is when the mayors from most cities were meeting in Washington and the White House used the gathering to call on some the mayors of urban cities with high minority populations like Mesa, Arizona’s Mayor Scott, Mayor Kevin Johnson and Sacramento, California and Baltimore’s Stephanie Rawlings-Blake who were also on that January call with Mayor Nutter. Each took turns to share what they were doing to get the word out about the law and each said they relied heavily on the faith community and coordinated programs with churches and mosques. It’s been all grassroots work with the churches on a national level as well.

Beginning last fall, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and its HHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, as well as the Office of Public Engagement, have been working with mayors in urban cities and the faith community to pump up enrollment numbers.

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SOURCE: Urban Faith
Jeneba Ghatt

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