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Decoding Obamacare: A Guide to New Healthcare Marketplaces Designed to Help 48 Million Uninsured

As Republicans try again to block implementation, the major part of the Affordable Care Act is about to take effect.
 
 
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The following content originally appeared on DemocracyNow!

As Republicans try again to block the implementation of Obamacare, the major part of the Affordable Care Act is about to take effect. Individuals seeking health insurance under Obamacare will be able to enroll online through new federal marketplaces beginning October 1. The marketplaces are primarily designed to serve the 48 million Americans without health insurance and those who buy insurance on their own. To help navigate the new system, we speak to Elisabeth Benjamin, Vice President of Health Initiatives of Community Service Society of New York. “When you go to the marketplace, you will be able to put in your information and it will give you a very small selection of plans. You will have choices, but the choices will be standardized. You will be able to do a real comparison — you will know exactly how for example Aetna compares with Empire or Blue Cross Blue shield,” Benjamin says. “So for the first time, purchasing health insurance will be on a level playing field, which is remarkable for consumers.”

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: As Republicans try again to block the implementation of Obamacare, the major part of the Affordable Care Act is about to take effect. Individuals seeking health insurance under Obamacare will be able to enroll online through a new federal marketplaces beginning Tuesday, October 1. The marketplaces are primarily designed to serve the 48 million Americans without health insurance and those who buy insurance on their own. Earlier this week, the White House unveiled new figures showing most health care premiums will cost less than previously the projected. The average mid-tier plan will cost $328 a month with most qualifying for government subsidies to lower that price. Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas held a quasi-filibuster against what has come to be known as Obamacare.

SEN. TED CRUZ: And anyone who is trying to make this a battle of personalities is trying to change the topic from the topic that should matter. Whether or not Obamacare is helping the American people. Mr. President, if you focus on the substance, the evidence overwhelming, this law is a train wreck.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On Thursday, President Obama mocked his Republican opponents and vowed to stop attempts to get the program bogged down in an ongoing budget stalemate.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Now, of course, the closer we have gotten to this date, the more irresponsible folks who are opposed to this law have become. Some of the same Republicans who warned three years ago that this law would be Armageddon. That is what they said, Armageddon. Now, they’re threatening steps that actually would badly hurt our entire economy, not because of the Affordable Care Act, but, because of what they’re threatening to do. Some have threatened a government shutdown if they can shut down this law. Others have actually threatened in economic shutdown by refusing to pay America’s bills if they can’t delay the law. That is not going to happen as long as I am president.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Under the new health care law, everyone must be enrolled in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty by next year. With the opening day for the health insurance — for the health exchanges less than a week away, many people still have questions about how the program will work.

AMY GOODMAN: Here in New York, people looking for health insurance will be able to turn to a network of agencies around the state to help them enrolled. One of the partner organizations is the Community Service Society of New York. To walk us through what will happen here and throughout the country, we’re joined by its Vice President of Health Initiatives, Elisabeth Benjamin. Welcome toDemocracy Now!, Elisabeth. You’re chosen as one of — you’ve been qualified as one of thousands of navigators throughout the country who are officially empowered to help people. So, what happens on Tuesday, October 1?