This morning, the White House announced that Milwaukee won the “Healthy Communities Challenge” for enrolling the most new residents in Marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which some call “Obamacare.”
President Barack Obama will visit Milwaukee in the next few weeks to congratulate the effort’s leaders in person.
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough shared the news via phone this morning with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett; Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele; Kathleen Falk, regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Hector Colon, director of Milwaukee County’s Department of Health and Human Services; Joy Tapper, executive director of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership; and other local stakeholders.
Milwaukee signed up 89,000 new Marketplace plans this year, which includes 38,000 new enrollees, McDonough said. That puts Milwaukee in the No. 1 spot in the challenge, which tallied which participating communities made the largest gains during the open enrollment period.
“We’re really proud of you,” McDonough said. “We really want to congratulate you, and I know the president looks forward to seeing you in the coming weeks. He wants to come see the people who pulled this off and did such a great job.”
The group cheered and celebrated the accomplishment in Barrett’s office this morning.
“We worked our keisters off here, if I can use a Midwestern term, and the Milwaukee Enrollment Network really was the team of workhorses and the navigators,” he said. “And we know that there’s a lot of political drama about the Affordable Care Act, but I think our consensus here is this is about two things: It’s about making sure that Americans have health care…and then second, and equally compelling, it’s much more efficient than having people go to the emergency room. Because if you’re sick and you don’t have a primary care provider, you’re going to the emergency room.”