Conference Call with President Barack Obama

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Felicia D. Safir, ArtsTech Student Support Services Coordinator, was selected to participate in a secured reserved conference call with President Barack Obama and the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

Mrs. Safir has been recognized as a long time community advocate for education, health and social services, community and neighborhood development, and homeless family and children services in Kansas City, State of Missouri, and Nationally.

President Barack Obama on Thursday, October 27, 2016 – through the special telephone conference, thanked several thousand community volunteers and advocates (who were selected because of their community based work with at-risk families and children) for their dedicated work to help families and individuals in need of social service assistance and medical services.  President Obama urged the volunteers and advocates, who participated in the special White House conference call, to pull out the stops to boost the number of people signing up for Affordable Care Act health insurance plans.  Obama warned it will be challenging to overcome the skepticism about the plans given an onslaught of headlines about surging premium prices, but he said the stakes are high.  President Barack Obama told the conference-call audience of progressive volunteers on Monday evening that ‘more than 100 million Americans’ – in a nation of less than 314 million – have successfully signed up for health insurance via the Affordable Care Act.

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Mrs. Safir stated that multiple families and youth in the Kansas City area have benefited from medical services through the Affordable Care Act.  Mrs. Safir, “Even though my personal medical insurance rates have escalated, that is not a concern of mine when I know multiple young and elder people with chronic illnesses that could not afford insurance, people with no medical insurance through their jobs, college students who had no insurance, and retirees not eligible for Medicaid but in need of medical insurance – have benefited from the Affordable Care Act.  Yes, it is our responsibility to support and assist our brothers and sisters.”

‘I just wanted to take a few minutes to speak to everybody because you guys are the ones who are in the trenches, day-in, day-out,’ Obama said.”“I think we’re at a critical time where we have to show that this program works for people, if they just see what their options are,” he told the volunteers, who work in their communities to encourage and assist enrollment.

Americans who do not receive health insurance through their employer or through Medicare or Medicaid programs shop online for subsidized insurance plans starting Nov. 1 until the end of January.  Obama said more young and healthy people need to sign up for plans. That would offset insurers’ costs of covering members with serious illnesses.

Approximately 13% of public school children in the Kansas City, Mo area are homeless.  Students living on their own without adult support are approximately 8% of homeless youth between the ages of 13 – 18.  All homeless students have services and rights under the Federal McKinney Vento Homeless Education and Assistance Act. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new education law, was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015.  The new education law focuses on the clear goal of fully preparing all students for success in college and careers. ESSA includes special provisions for homeless youth extending into college age, pre-school, and foster care.  Mrs. Safir works diligently assisting families and unaccompanied homeless youth in obtaining education and health services.  This includes assisting over 300 homeless youth enroll in college, with 85% college graduation rate.