Pennsylvania’s most powerful mayors are working together to get their constituents enrolled in healthcare.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto hosted a conference call with reporters Wednesday to encourage Pennsylvanians to enroll under the Affordable Care Act before the Feb. 15 open enrollment deadline. They were joined by senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett.
According to Jarrett, nearly 440,000 Pennsylvanians have selected a plan or re-enrolled in healthcare, including 230,000 in the Philadelphia area and more than 73,000 in the Pittsburgh area. In addition, she noted that 81 percent of these individuals received tax credits that cut their monthly premiums by $230.
Those that don’t enroll by Sunday, however, will face a personal fine of $325.
“In many cases, the cost of insurance is actually comparable to the fines,” said Nutter, who was calling in with Jarrett from Washington, D.C. He questioned why individuals would want to remain uninsured.
Peduto focused his message towards parents in the Pittsburgh area, urging them to enroll for the sake of their children.
“Pittsburgh has sort of a unique situation,” he said. “We made a commitment last year that 100 percent of our children will have access.” Peduto called this a “lofty” but “manageable goal.”
Both mayors identified outreach efforts their administrations have sponsored or participated in to help get individuals enrolled.
Peduto stressed Pittsburgh’s “Healthy Together” campaign, launched in September, and noted the more than 50 activities and 29 enrollment events hosted since then. Due to the efforts, nearly 2,7000 individuals just within the city borders have enrolled, Peduto said.
Nutter highlighted Philadelphia’s work with Enroll America. The mayor recalled an instance last year where he helped a man enroll at a table set up on the corner of 12th and Market Streets.
That action was “one of the best things I’ve ever done in public service,” he said.
Both cities will hold open enrollment events prior to the Feb. 15 deadline. In Philadelphia, the Methodist Hospital will be helping individuals enroll every day from Wednesday through Sunday.
In Pittsburgh, there will be an open enrollment period at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Individuals can also sign up by visiting healthcare.gov or calling 1-800-318-2596, Jarrett said.
Anyone surprised the mayors of cities the likes of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh would advocate one more venue for redistribution of wealth?