Obama to Tout Health Ins. Gains

Obama to Tout Health Ins. Gains

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will seek to highlight how his signature health insurance overhaul has helped millions of Americans gain coverage as he visits Milwaukee Thursday to congratulate local leaders for winning a national enrollment contest.

In all, more than 38,000 Milwaukee-area residents signed up for health coverage. That's out of about 51,000 uninsured people who were eligible to enroll. The city's sign-up ratio was the highest among the 20 cities competing in the president's "Healthy Communities Challenge." The winning city was promised a visit by the president, who is also using the trip to promote the Affordable Care Act.

For the first time, more than 9 in 10 Americans have health insurance. And the number of uninsured has dropped from about 44.8 million in 2013, the year before the health care law's big coverage expansion, to about 28.8 million, according to the latest estimates.

An improving economy has also helped boost coverage, analysts say.

Still, polling continues to show that slightly more Americans view the law unfavorably than favorably. And repealing the law has been a mantra of Republicans running for federal office as critics argue that the law's mandates have increased coverage costs unnecessarily.

Obama is using part of his final year to visit communities that he says have benefited from his presidency. Obama hailed the rebound of the auto industry during a recent trip to Detroit. Now, he's visiting Milwaukee ahead of the sixth anniversary of his signing the Affordable Care Act.

During the latest enrollment period, Milwaukee officials held sign-up events at libraries, delivered thousands of flyers and participated in phone banks to walk residents through the process. The White House said Obama will meet with local residents who have written him about the effect the law has hand on themselves and their families. He'll also speak at a local community center where outreach efforts occurred.

(KA)