GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - More than 65,000 people in Kent County are uninsured, the highest number in West Michigan, and statistics from the state of Michigan show many of those people are working.
Those who have jobs, say many small employers don't provide health care, and they just can't afford it.
"If I have to choose between my kids eating and insurance," Amy Payne told 24 Hour News 8, "we're probably going to feed the kids."
Linda Brauer and her husband are unemployed for the first time in years. "Much to my surprise, we fell through cracks that I never realize existed."
She said once she found out the only insurance she would be eligible for was both too expensive and had a $10,000 deductible. She knew it, unfortunately, wasn't for her and her husband.
The single biggest group of uninsured Michiganders are young people. According to the state of Michigan, nearly 25% of 18-24 year-olds in the state don't have health coverage.
NUMBER OF UNINSURED: More than 1 million Michigan residents are uninsured, about 13.8% of the population.
WHERE THE STATE STANDS: The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has been working to set up an online health insurance marketplace, but has had limited success because House Republicans have refused to let it use $9.8 million in federal planning money. Because of looming federal deadlines to have the health insurance exchange in place, state officials have been planning for a state-run exchange while also talking to federal officials about partnering with a federal exchange where the state handles just some responsibilities, such as customer service.
The overwhelming majority of uninsured people who spoke with 24 Hour News 8 on Thursday celebrated the decision by the US Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act.
Brauer called it a "phenomenal, seminal moment in history where we are finally going to make sure that we don't turn our back on our fellow citizens."
But others, like Bob Galbraigh, still think it's a bad idea -- he isn't totally uninsured, but only has what he calls "catastrophic insurance." That means the small business owner has a $10,000 deductible.
"So for the day-to-day colds and sicknesses, no. We purchase that separately, out-of-pocket."
Even if the Health Care Law is better for him financially, he still disagrees with the plan on principle.
"I think it's wrong. I think it's inappropriate for the government to force an individual to purchase anything, and then if I don't, penalize me for that. So I think it's (beyond) the scope of what reasonable government should be."
West Michigan counties with the number of uninsured people and the percentage uninsured in each county:
Allegan -- 11,912 (17%)
Barry -- 5381 (15%)
Berrien -- 19,043 (20%)
Branch -- 5621 (21%)
Calhoun -- 14,906 (18%)
Cass -- 5667 (18%)
Ionia -- 7406 (19%)
Kalamazoo -- 24,785 (16%)
Kent -- 66,953 (18%)
Mecosta -- 4993 (19%)
Montcalm -- 7684 (20%)
Muskegon -- 19,178 (18%)
Newaygo -- 5280 (20%)
Oceana -- 3741 (23%)
Ottawa -- 23,179 (15%)
St Joseph -- 7476 (20%)
Van Buren. -- 9837 (21%)
(AP) -- Hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents already have benefited from the law passed in 2009, according to the federal government. Some examples:
-- More than 23,000 Michigan seniors and people with disabilities have saved $17.6 million this calendar year on prescription drugs because of the law, an average of $757 per person. The money goes to help residents with medical costs after they hit the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap, the so-called "doughnut hole."
-- More than a half-million Michigan seniors have received a free preventive health care service so far this year.
-- Around 1.8 million residents now receive preventative services with no co-pay.
-- Around 57,000 more young adults in Michigan under the age of 26 are on their parents' health insurance plans.
-- Around 7,000 small businesses get federal tax credits for offering health insurance to their employees.
-- An estimated 500,000 more Michigan residents will qualify for Medicaid coverage, largely children and low-income residents, state officials say. The federal government will pick up most of the additional cost.
-- Six Michigan health centers have been awarded $3.7 million from the federal government to help expand access to care for 59,431 additional patients.
-- Around 114,000 Michigan residents will get $13.9 million in rebates from insurance companies this summer because of a rule that requires insurance companies give rebates if they don't spend at least 80 percent of consumers' premiums on medical care and quality improvement. The rebates will average $214 for 65,000 Michigan families.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
Nelson Mandela, who became one of the world's most beloved statesmen when he emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa, has died.
Kalamazoo authorities are investigating a three suspicious fires on the city's north side in the last month.
The newly renovated Kendall Building in downtown Grand Rapids in ready to open.