It’s time to put progress ahead of politics

By Mayor Sly James, mayor of Kansas City, Mo.

People ask me what I love about being mayor of Kansas City. The answer is that I enjoy seeing the real impact of the decisions we make in City Hall. I have the opportunity to work with a strong group of people at the city – elected and staff – who want to do the right thing. If something isn’t working then we make a change. For us, what’s important is getting things done, not keeping score.

Unfortunately, we know that hasn’t always been the case in our state capitals or Washington, DC.

Politics can often get in the way of the right thing. That’s certainly the case with the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

Insuring the uninsured is the right thing to do from a moral standpoint. In my law practice, I’ve seen families destroyed by crushing financial costs. Many of our citizens are one health event away from bankruptcy or worse. But it’s also the right thing to do financially. The uninsured create a financial burden on our health care system that the rest of us pay for. Getting more of our citizens insured is both the right thing and the smart thing for Kansas City.

No one is saying that the Affordable Care Act is perfect, but it’s a critical step forward. We have time to improve it and I’m confident that, in time, it will make a significant, positive difference.

Right now, however, it’s time to work together and focus on the more immediate need: the March 31 deadline for open enrollment. If you are uninsured or know someone that is, there are many ways to get involved in the new health insurance marketplace.

By going to you can browse several options that offer support for navigating the process.

You need to know that all insurance plans in the marketplace cover doctor visits, hospitalizations, maternity care, emergency room care, and prescriptions. There’s also financial assistance available to help cover the cost of your premiums and some may qualify for low-cost or free plans. connects you to experts who will be available to answer questions – online, over the phone and in-person.

People also ask me what I like least about being mayor of a big city. That’s easy —the paralyzing effect of the old style politics that prioritizes personal grudges and pettiness at the expense of progress and service.

The health of our city is too important to hang on a political agenda. We need to be bigger than that. This is our opportunity to fundamentally improve the health of our citizens, young and old. We can do it by working together to take care of each other and continue to make Kansas City the best it can be.

This blog post originally appeared on Republished with permission.


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HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at



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