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Sebelius touts health insurance effort during Kansas City visit

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Former Kansas governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was back in Kansas City for the first time since the bumpy rollout of President Barack Obama's healthcare website.

Sebelius spoke Monday at the Full Employment Council Central Kansas City office, 1740 The Paseo, spreading the word about affordable healthcare.

It is not as difficult as some may think, Sebelius stressed along with Mayor Sly James.

Sebelius said so far, 9 million Americans have signed up to receive healthcare through the Affordable Care Act.  In Kansas City, 250,000 people are still without health insurance.

But the troubles with the online sign-up, Sebelius says, are in the past. She is urging the uninsured to try again.

"Healthcare.gov is working smoothly, and we saw a surge in enrollment this November when the site got fully functional, and people if they had a bad experience, they should come back," Sebelius said.

She took only a few questions and did not speak about all of the rollout issues or the calls for her resignation.

An entrepreneur who was stricken with cancer and had been uninsured for four years also spoke Monday morning.

Lynn Gardner Hinkle, of Kansas City, says she went on to the Health Insurance Marketplace website last week and is now insured. She was uninsured for four years and had battled skin cancer.

"I consider Obamacare a lifesaver. I was considered uninsurable. But now, as of Saturday, I am insured for less than $200 a month," she said. "I am so happy I want to shout it from the roof top. If you are not insured, go to the website. Even if you are intimidated. I was."

The deadline to enroll for this year is March 31.

Enrollment coordinators are available at the Full Employment Council to help people sign-up for healthcare. For more information, you can call 1-800-318-2596 or go to localhelp.healthcare.gov.

KCTV5's DeAnn Smith contributed to this report.

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