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Despite ACA Debate, Advocates Say to Enroll by Deadline

Doctors rush a patient to care. Enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act ends at midnight today. (JillK61)
Doctors rush a patient to care. Enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act ends at midnight today. (JillK61)
January 31, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – You have until midnight today to sign up for California's version of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Health-care advocates raised concerns last week when the new administration reportedly stopped advertising the open-enrollment period.

After some pushback, the enrollment was reinstated, says the executive director of Health Access California, Anthony Wright.

"These health-care programs are now being run by President Trump and by the Republican majority," he said. "They own it, if it's working or if it's not working, if rates go up because not enough people signed up, and so I think that they recognized that, which is why they turned the marketing and advertising back on."

Covered California and Medi-Cal (Medicaid) have cut the number of uninsured in the state by more than half. Even critics of the ACA say policymakers should not cancel any programs without proposing an alternative.

The ACA expanded access to coverage by providing financial help to buy coverage on the individual market through Covered California, as well as expanding the state's Medi-Cal program, says Wright's group. Despite all the talk of its repeal, he says the average person without insurance shouldn't wait to see what's going to happen in Congress, and still enroll today.

"The important thing for people to remember is that nothing has changed with regard to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and everything is guaranteed for 2017 if they sign up by open enrollment which is January 31st," he explained.

Thanks to this legislation, five million Californians have coverage. Covered California currently enrolls more than 1.4 million of that number. California was the first state in the country to create its own marketplace to compare health-care options, Covered California, under then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Logan Pollard, Public News Service - CA