A lot of residents in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo are estimated to be living without medical insurance coverage.  The most recent Census Bureau data show as many as 9.5% of Calhoun County residents aged 64 and under don’t have health insurance. That’s nearly 13 thousand people. The rate for Kalamazoo County is estimated at around 6.1%. That’s about 15,000 aged 64 and under residents without medical insurance.

The numbers seem high considering all the attention that was placed on the benefits of “Obamacare” and upheaval of the US medical care system that the system created. But they are actually low considering the census data does not include the impact of job losses and losing medical coverage by thousands of state residents since the COVID-19 virus outbreak began.

Many residents in the area qualify for low or even no-cost health coverage based on income. And a special added period of enrollment options is open now through May 15.  Many are applauding the decision of newly elected President Joe Biden to use executive authority to establish the new enrollment period by reopening the federal marketplace that offers health plans through the Affordable Care Act.

There are two basic ways to get started. One is online at healthcare.gov. The other is to call 1-800-318-2596.

Michigan’s two US Senators along with Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer are all saying President Biden did the right thing to reopen enrollment outside the normally scheduled period. Governor Whitmer points to the number of people who have been off the job due to COVID-19 virus business closings and restrictions and lost their company healthcare plans.

“No Michigander should have to worry about access to quality, affordable health care, especially during a pandemic. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan saw an estimated 46% increase in the number of uninsured adults, and there are still thousands of people who need coverage. President Joe Biden’s executive order to reopen the health insurance marketplace will go a long way in expanding health coverage to Michiganders, and I couldn’t be more grateful for his leadership during this difficult time.”

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Many of the speakers had a lifetime commitment to human rights, but one tried to silence an activist lobbying for voting rights, before later signing off on major civil rights legislation. Several fought for freedom for more than one oppressed group.

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