· A day before the Health Insurance Marketplaces open for business, a new poll from The Morning Consult shows that a strong majority of uninsured Americans plan to sign up for insurance, and the public strongly rejects Republican tactics to sabotage the health care law at all costs:
Ø 83 percent of uninsured Americans say they’ll sign up for insurance during the enrollment period.
Ø 67 percent support the Affordable Care Act and making it work. Only 33 percent want to defund delay or repeal.
· New polling from The Commonwealth Fund finds that more than three-quarters of American adults are aware of the need to get health insurance coverage for themselves or their families.
Ø Once people are made aware of the marketplaces, 61 percent of those who are potentially eligible—because they were either uninsured at the time of the survey or had purchased an individual insurance plan—said they are very or somewhat likely to shop for coverage in the marketplaces.
Ø Across the country, 68 percent of adults are somewhat or strongly in favor of making Medicaid available to more residents in their state.
· New CNN poll highlights that a majority of Americans believe it is more important for Congress to avoid a shutdown than to make major changes to the health care law.
Ø 68 percent say a shutdown for a few days would be a bad thing for the country, with that number rising to nearly eight in 10 for a shutdown lasting a few weeks.
Ø Six in 10 questioned in the CNN survey say that it is more important for Congress to avoid a shutdown than to make major changes to the new health care law, with only a third saying it is more important for lawmakers to prevent major provisions in the new health care law from taking effect by cutting the funds needed to implement them.
· Today HHS announced that over 900 organizations and businesses have volunteered to help Americans without affordable health insurance enroll for coverage through the new Health Insurance marketplace, which opens for business tomorrow.
MEDIA JOIN IN EFFORT TO EXPLAIN OBAMACARE TO CONSUMERS:
The following outlets have recently run articles breaking down what the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplaces will mean for consumers and how they can enroll.
USA Today: “Exchanges Open Tuesday: Here’s What To Do.” “Exchanges open Tuesday: Here’s what to do … If you’re one of the more than 45 million people who lack health insurance, you can begin the enrollment process Oct. 1, but you certainly don’t have to. The deadline to purchase (or face a penalty at tax time in 2015) is March 31, 2014. Every state has people called navigators who received grants to help guide consumers through the process in an unbiased way…A key benefit to the new online exchanges is the ability to easily compare different plans — as you might during online car shopping — without a pushy salesperson hovering.”[USA Today, 9/30/13]
Wall Street Journal: “What Does The New Health Law Mean For Me?” “What does the new health care law mean for me? Everything you need to know about how the law affects you: The rollout of the Affordable Care Act—also known as ‘Obamacare’—is approaching, and starting in October people will be able to sign up for new insurance policies that begin Jan. 1, when the law’s major provisions are set to go into effect.” [Wall Street Journal, 9/29/13]
New York Times: “A Guide To The New Exchanges For Health Insurance.” “…after much anticipation, the curtain will finally rise on the exchanges next week, providing millions of consumers with an online marketplace to compare health insurance plans and then buy the coverage on the spot… Here’s some information to get you started.” [New York Times, 9/27/13]
L.A. Times: “Examining Your Health Insurance Options Under Obamacare.” “Examining your health insurance options under Obamacare… Starting Oct. 1, millions of Californians can start signing up for health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act. In addition to new coverage options, the healthcare law changes the rules of the insurance game for many consumers. It also requires most Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions.”[L.A. Times, 9/27/13]
ABC News: “What The Affordable Care Act Means For You.” “What the Affordable Care Act means for you … If you’re already insured, you’ll find new benefits and protections. If you are not insured or if you purchase insurance on your own, a new state-based system will help you get coverage that fits your needs, perhaps at a rate more affordable than you could find before.”[ABC News, 9/27/13]
Associated Press: “After State Health Insurance Markets Open Oct. 1, Consumers Can Apply Online, Via A Call Center, In Person Or By Mail.” “After state health insurance markets open Oct. 1, consumers can apply online, via a call center, in person or by mail…The main steps are: — Identify yourself and your family members. — Provide current information on income, jobs and any available health insurance options. — Learn how much financial assistance you’re entitled to. — Shop for a health plan and enroll.”[Associated Press, 9/11/13]
Cleveland Plain Dealer: “What you need to know about buying insurance on the new Obamacare exchanges” “The idea is to simplify the shopping process and lower the price for individuals and small businesses by providing bulk purchasing discounts to those who previously had trouble buying insurance on their own. In addition to customers who currently lack insurance, people who already have insurance through the individual market will be able to buy coverage through the exchange.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/30/13]
Grand Forks Herald: “What you need to know as health insurance marketplaces open” “A new era in health care dawns Tuesday when enrollment starts for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The enrollment period for coverage in 2014 runs through March 31 for health insurance purchased through new online marketplaces, allowing consumers to compare coverage options and prices.” [Grand Forks Herald, 9/30/13]
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:
9/29/13: Washington Post: “…In Bardstown [KY], Which Proclaims Itself The World’s Bourbon Capital, There Are Signs The Law’s Advocates Are Making Headway. Most Of Those Interviewed [Express] Interest In Kynect, Saying They’ll Check To See If They Qualify For Medicaid Or For Federal Subsidies.” “…in Bardstown, which proclaims itself the world’s bourbon capital, there are signs the law’s advocates are making headway. Most of those interviewed [express] interest in Kynect, saying they’ll check to see if they qualify for Medicaid or for federal subsidies. Sharon Omstead, 46, who works at a factory labeling bourbon bottles and who calls Obama ‘the devil’ for his economic policies, was surprised to learn that she’ll qualify for Medicaid and have to pay little or nothing for health coverage under the law. ‘I’d heard a lot of bad things about the law and how it will make prices for health insurance go up, and how everyone will have to buy insurance even if they can’t afford it,’ she said. Pam Lux, 59, of Edgewood complained about insurers turning her away because of her diabetes and assumed that that would happen again until a Kynect worker informed her that such exclusions are prohibited under the law starting next year. ‘I’m glad to hear that,’ she said.”[Washington Post, 9/29/13]
9/29/13: Silver City Sun-News: “New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez Opposed President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Saying Government Should Not Order People Of Means To Buy Health Insurance. But Martinez, A Career Prosecutor Until Her Election As Governor In 2010, Decided For One Reason Not To Fight Obamacare…‘The Election Is Over And The Supreme Court Has Ruled. My Job Is Not To Play Party Politics, But To Implement This Law In A Way That Best Serves New Mexico,’ She Said To The State Legislature…” “Martinez, a Republican, said her position solidified after the U.S. Supreme Court decided last year to let stand the federal law to provide health insurance for every citizen. In early 2013, Martinez said New Mexico would expand Medicaid to cover as many as 170,000 low-income residents. ‘The election is over and the Supreme Court has ruled. My job is not to play party politics, but to implement this law in a way that best serves New Mexico,’ she said to the state Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats.”[Silver City Sun-News, 9/29/13]
9/30/13: San Jose Mercury News: “On Thursday Afternoon, [Ylan] Nicole And Her Colleagues At The Concord Call Center Shared With This Newspaper How They Are Prepared For An Influx Of 4,000 Calls A Day Starting Tuesday, The Day Enrollment In ‘Obamacare’ Begins…[T]he Center Has Been Fielding Questions From The Public After An Aug. 26 ‘Soft Opening.’ What Started As 500 Calls A Day Has Grown To 1,500, Handled By The 135 Service Agents And 20 Supervisors.” “Ylan Nicole is a popular customer at her nail salon. After patrons found out she had been hired as a call agent assigned to help Californians get health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, her manis and pedis turned into informal seminars on how to sign up and what to expect to pay for premiums. On Thursday afternoon, Nicole and her colleagues at the Concord call center shared with this newspaper how they are prepared for an influx of 4,000 calls a day starting Tuesday, the day enrollment in ‘Obamacare’ begins…[T]he center has been fielding questions from the public after an Aug. 26 ‘soft opening.’ What started as 500 calls a day has grown to 1,500, handled by the 135 service agents and 20 supervisors. While the Concord and Rancho Cordova call centers are staffed and operational, the Fresno center is expected to receive its first call Nov. 18.”[San Jose Mercury News, 9/30/13]
9/30/13: L.A. Times (Editorial): “For The First Time, Low- And Moderate-Income Americans Who Don’t Have Health Benefits At Work Will Be Able To Sign Up For Comprehensive Coverage At A Discount, Thanks To Taxpayer Subsidies That Offset Much Of The Costs…Rather Than Getting Caught Up In The Overheated Rhetoric, Consumers Should Explore Covered California’s Offerings And Measure The Costs And Benefits Of The Law For Themselves.” “For the first time, low- and moderate-income Americans who don’t have health benefits at work will be able to sign up for comprehensive coverage at a discount, thanks to taxpayer subsidies that offset much of the costs…Rather than getting caught up in the overheated rhetoric, consumers should explore Covered California’s offerings and measure the costs and benefits of the law for themselves.”[L.A .Times, 9/30/13]
9/30/13: L.A. Times: “As They Try To Get Americans To Take The Plan Out For A Spin, White House Strategists Are Targeting Women And The Sources They Trust. Top Administration Officials Have Been Talking To Women’s Magazines, Including Woman’s Day, Cosmo Latina, Marie Claire And Ebony, Several Of Which Are Running Stories In Their October Print Issues. The Planned Parenthood Federation Of America Has Started The Website Obamacare Works To Take Questions About How The Program Operates.” “The current Cosmopolitan magazine explains the Affordable Care Act with the ‘Top Eight Ways Young Women Benefit from Obamacare.’ Glamour lays out the ‘Five Things You Need to Know’ about the marketplaces kicking into gear Tuesday. The current Cosmopolitan magazine explains the Affordable Care Act with the ‘Top Eight Ways Young Women Benefit from Obamacare.’ Glamour lays out the ‘Five Things You Need to Know’ about the marketplaces kicking into gear Tuesday… As they try to get Americans to take the plan out for a spin, White House strategists are targeting women and the sources they trust.” [L.A. Times, 9/30/13]
9/30/13: The Star-Ledger: “Jennifer Hudson, The Grammy-Award Winning Singer And Critically-Acclaimed Actress, Is Trying To Promote The Benefits Of The Affordable Care Act. Her Target Audience — Those Under 35. Her Method — A Pretty Funny Parody Of The ABC Show Scandal On FunnyorDie.Com.” “The spoof has Hudson playing a ‘fixer’ or, as she prefers to call it, a ‘covert scandal manager.’ Except instead of encountering salacious, sex-ridden intrigue, she finds clients who just need help keeping their adult children on their insurance plan, receiving free preventive care and other benefits provided by ‘Obamacare.’” [The Star-Ledger, 9/30/13]
9/29/13: Columbus Dispatch Op-Ed (Sec. Sebelius): “For More Than 1.3 Million Of Our Fellow Citizens Here In Ohio, The Opportunity To Obtain New, High-Quality Coverage Will Be Only A Click, Call, Or Conversation Away When The Six-Month Open Enrollment Period For The New Health Insurance Marketplace Begins Tuesday.” “This January, millions of Americans will ring in the New Year with the security and peace of mind that has eluded them for decades: They will finally have quality health insurance. For more than 1.3 million of our fellow citizens here in Ohio, the opportunity to obtain new, high-quality coverage will be only a click, call, or conversation away when the six-month open enrollment period for the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins Tuesday.”[Columbus Dispatch, 9/29/13]
9/29/13: Associated Press: “Promoters Of The New Federal Health Care Law Have Spent Months Crisscrossing Border Communities In South Texas, Speaking To Church Congregations And Making Presentations In Community Centers Where Some Of The Nation’s Largest Pockets Of Uninsured Can Be Found.” “The Valley’s well-established network of community health workers will be a key element in guiding people through the process. Many have already undergone training to work as health care navigators or certified application counselors — the program’s front-line guides for the new system — and know where to find those most likely to benefit. In the coming months they will carry information into those neighborhoods, explain the system to those already seeking care in community health centers and try to have a presence at a range of community gatherings.”[Associated Press, 9/29/13]
9/29/13: Associated Press: “With Less Than 24 Hours Until The Launch Of One Of The Key Components Of The New Federal Health Law, Hundreds Of Health Counselors And Volunteers Are Fanning Out Across [Florida], Knocking On Doors, Working Phone Banks And Manning Tables At Concerts And Sporting Events To Tell People How To Sign Up For Health Insurance Under The Affordable Care Act.” “Susan Greene and Debra Leflore canvassed apartment complexes in West Palm Beach on Saturday for the nonprofit group Enroll America ahead of the scheduled launch of online health insurance marketplaces on Tuesday. It’s not an easy job. It’s humid, some people are rude and the language barrier in the largely Haitian neighborhood often makes it difficult to have an in-depth conversation, yet they persist.”[Associated Press, 9/29/13]
9/29/13: Des Moines Register (Editorial): “Though Obamacare Is Complicated, The Most Important Aspect Of The Law Is Simple: Americans Will Finally Be Able To Buy Insurance Regardless Of Their Health History Or Employment Status. Premiums For Coverage In New Insurance Exchanges Will Be Based On Age, Smoking And Where An Applicant Lives. An Iowan Cannot Be Denied Coverage, Charged More Because He Has Diabetes Or Excluded From Certain Benefits Because He Incurred A Back Injury 20 Years Earlier. That Is Life-Changing For Millions Of Americans.” An Iowan cannot be denied coverage, charged more because he has diabetes or excluded from certain benefits because he incurred a back injury 20 years earlier. That is life-changing for millions of Americans. They can start their own businesses, continue working on the family farm, stay home with a young child or retire early — and have access to affordable health insurance in Iowa’s exchange.”[Des Moines Register, 9/29/13]
9/28/13: Lexington Herald Leader: “After Years Of Chatter And Debate, Some 640,000 Uninsured Kentuckians On Tuesday Will Have Their First Full Look At What The Affordable Care Act — Or As It’s Commonly Called, Obamacare — Means To Them.” “State officials anticipate that 308,000 of those will newly be able to sign up to be covered by Medicaid under an expansion of that program. For the other 332,000, the state’s program, called Kynect, will lay out on its website, Kynect.ky.gov, and in its literature the specifics: the rates they will pay, the insurance carriers working in specific regions, the doctors and health care providers who are available to them, and the subsidies and tax breaks available for individuals.”[Lexington Herald Leader, 9/28/13]
9/29/13: Atul Gawande, The New Yorker: “Conservatives Keep Hoping That They Can Drive The System To Collapse. That Won’t Happen. Enough People, States, And Health-Care Interests Are Committed To Making It Work, Just As The Massachusetts Version Has For The Past Seven Years. And People Now Have A Straightforward Way To Resist The Forces Of Obstruction: Sign Up For Coverage, If They Don’t Have It, And Help Others Do So As Well.” “…state by state, a new norm is coming into being: if you’re a freelancer, or between jobs, or want to start your own business but have a family member with a serious health issue, or if you become injured or ill, you are entitled to basic protection. Conservatives keep hoping that they can drive the system to collapse. That won’t happen. Enough people, states, and health-care interests are committed to making it work, just as the Massachusetts version has for the past seven years. And people now have a straightforward way to resist the forces of obstruction: sign up for coverage, if they don’t have it, and help others do so as well.” [The New Yorker, pub. 9/29/13]
9/27/13: The News-Leader: “Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Said Thursday That Missourians Should Not Boycott The New Health Care Exchanges Just Because They Don’t Like Obamacare … ‘The Exchanges Are There, People Need Insurance,’ He Said.” “Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Thursday that Missourians should not boycott the new health care exchanges just because they don’t like Obamacare. Blunt’s comments put him at odds with Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who is discouraging Missourians from signing up for insurance through the new online marketplaces created under the health reform law… Blunt said the exchanges would be ‘nowhere near ready’ to open on Tuesday. But he said uninsured Missourians still should figure out how to get coverage. ‘The exchanges are there, people need insurance,’ he said. Blunt said the law was already taking a toll, sparking increases in premiums and prompting employers to drop coverage. But ‘don’t go uninsured just because Obama’s health care policy’ has cost you your previous coverage, he said.”[The News-Leader, 9/27/13]
9/27/13: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “As Tuesday’s Start Date For The Federal Health Care Law Approaches, Gov. Scott Walker’s Administration Say It’s Ready For The Hundreds Of Thousands Of Wisconsinites Who Will Have New Options For Shopping For Health Coverage.” “As Tuesday’s start date for the federal health care law approaches, Gov. Scott Walker’s administration say it’s ready for the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who will have new options for shopping for health coverage. In one key part of that process, the state’s deputy health services secretary said Friday he is now confident that federal officials will approve covering low-income childless adults through the state’s BadgerCare Plus program. ‘We’re feeling very optimistic that we’ll get that (federal approval) and we’ll move forward with the childless adults,’ Kevin Moore said in a briefing with reporters Friday.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/27/13]
9/26/13: La Opinion: “Refuting ‘Obamacare’ Myths” / “Desmintiendo Los Mitos Del ‘Obamacare.’” “Por diversas razones ideológicas, políticas y de intereses económicos, la reforma del sistema de salud ha enfrentado retos en varios frentes, en los que se ha atacado al nuevo sistema de planes de salud con mitos, nociones falsas y, en algunos casos, mentiras intencionales. A dos días del inicio del nuevo proceso, quiero aclarar cuáles son los mitos y cuáles las realidades de Obamacare.”[La Opinion, 9/26/13]
Assistant White House Press Secretary