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President Obama Issues Health Challenge to Salt Lake City

A still shot from President Obama's weekly address where he announces his Healthy Communities Challenge. (Nov. 7, 2015)

During this open enrollment period for health insurance, the White House has issued a challenge to 20 communities across the country, including greater Salt Lake City.

For the first time in history, more than 90 percent of Americans have health insurance. Now the Obama administration is focusing its efforts on those who still haven’t signed up. It’s called the Healthy Communities Challenge, and President Obama has targeted cities with large numbers or high percentages of uninsured.

“If you live in one of the 20 cities participating in our Healthy Communities Challenge, I want to see how many of your neighbors you can get to sign up,” Obama says.  

In greater Salt Lake City, there are still 137,000 uninsured who are eligible for the marketplace. Mayor Ralph Becker and County Mayor Ben McAdams have pledged to help get more citizens enrolled. At the end of the enrollment period, the feds will announce which communities made the most progress.

“I’ll come visit the city who enrolls the highest percentage of folks who aren’t covered right now. That’s a promise.” Obama says. “After all, this country is at its best when we look out for each other, and together we can help more Americans get the security that they and their families deserve.”

As of June this year, more than 126,000 Utahns were covered through the federal health insurance exchange, and 66 percent of those enrolled received a tax credit. Those who don’t have insurance face a penalty, depending on income.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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