Today is the first day of the new health care mandate and millions are expected to lineup, ready to add themselves to the ranks of the newly insured. This is the first day of a six month open enrollment period and online market insurance providers are struggling to keep up with demand. Federal officials are working hard to eliminate web site problems, but the response is not all that surprising.
"We have built a dynamic system and are prepared to make adjustments as needed and improve the consumer experience," said Joanne Peters, U.S. Health and Human Services spokeswoman.
Expectations call for 7 million new health insurance signups during the first year. After that, the Obama Administration expects to enroll about 15 to 20 million additional Americans in one of several expanded, government financed health care plans. That would add more than half of the presently uninsured Americans to health care rolls.
Ironically, the new Obamacare system debuted on the very day the U.S. government experienced its first shutdown in 17 years. The shutdown was largely due to disagreements over Obamacare and its funding, but the shutdown will have little, if any, impact on the process. The reason is because the insurance marketplaces operate using money that isn’t subject to the annual budget fights that take place in the nation’s capital.
Opponents of Obamacare and its Affordable Care Act have voiced strong opposition, but sometimes in more subtle ways. States with Republican governors have done little to promote insurance signups in their respective states, hoping that lack of promotion will discourage some from signing up. Others have been more vocal, like Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, who directly urged residents in his state to not sign up.
States with Democratic leadership have actively promoted the new system as a means to assist the poor, elderly, and others who have otherwise struggled to obtain health insurance. These state leaders, and other Obamacare supporters, urge citizens to logon to the web sites in their respective states or call for assistance. Obamacare is now the law, they emphasize, and everyone without health insurance coverage should take advantage of the Affordable Care Act, the most sweeping health care legislation in nearly 50 years.
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