City and health care officials from the Akron and Canton areas held a press conference to discuss and encourage Northeast Ohio residents to sign up for health coverage before open enrollment closes March 31.
County Executive Russ Pry, City of Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, and City of Canton Mayor William J. Healy II, were in attendance, along with representatives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Summit County Public Health officials, regarding the federal health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act.
"Now is the time with seven days left," said Kathleen Falk, Region V Director, from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Falk says 1.3 million people in Ohio are uninsured.
Four out of 10 of the uninsured are between the ages of 19 to 35.
William Bunton, Pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Akron, never had any serious health issues in his life until the day his vision went black.
"Within a 24 hour period I started having functions shut down," said Bunton.
Bunton suffered a stroke in December, but he didn't have health insurance.
With a tight budget at his church, Bunton slashed health care because he thought he didn't need it.
Bunton enrolled for coverage while lying in a hospital bed.
"Every American needs to take advantage of it," said Bunton.
Just three months after the stroke that could've ended his life, Pastor Bunton is already back preaching at this church. Doctors can't believe his recovery.
Bunton understands while the cost makes people reluctant to sign up, he says staying alive is what matters.
"You don't get warnings, when your health is gone your life is over," says Bunton.
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