The city of Tampa should celebrate its work to increase participation in the Affordable Care Act. Under the leadership of Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the city's effort represents an admirable attempt to connect people in need with federal resources.
For the third consecutive year, Tampa opened its recreation centers to ACA navigators to provide places for the uninsured to easily obtain help with insurance applications. The city also distributed fans to churches, libraries and community centers that featured enrollment information, ran newspaper ads and sent out robocalls with an appeal from Buckhorn. According to the White House, Tampa recorded 113,821 new enrollees from a pool of 231,000 uninsured residents, besting its signups from the previous year by 37,000. Nationwide, nearly 13 million people enrolled in the ACA this year.
Tampa's efforts were not enough to win the White House's Healthy Communities Challenge, which promised a visit from President Barack Obama to the city that signed up the highest percentage of its uninsured residents. Milwaukee won. But Tampa, which placed 11th out of 20 cities, has no reason to be ashamed. There are no losers in a contest where the uninsured emerge with access to health care.