U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, issued the following statement today on the official opening of the online insurance marketplaces as part of the nation's historic health reform law, the Affordable Care Act. Americans without health insurance and those who are self-insured but think their premiums are too high are now able to shop for coverage in their community over the next six months via www.healthcare.gov or their state-run marketplace, such as www.coveredca.com in California. Enrollees will have until December 15 to sign up for coverage that begins on January 1, 2014.
"Today has been a long time in the making. Starting today, under the Affordable Care Act, every American has access to quality and affordable health insurance regardless of their station in life. After a century of debating it, and fighting for it, we can finally say that health insurance is now available for all Americans. With this new law, we are finally taking decisions about coverage and care away from insurance companies and putting those critical decisions into the hands of families. This is a huge and very tangible victory for America's working families, for our children, and for seniors.
"Despite Republicans' shutting down the federal government, the online marketplaces are open and able to help Americans get covered, starting today. And people are already enrolling. Keep in mind that the only reason the government has been shut down is because Republicans in Congress do not want you to be able to shop for private health insurance. Think about that. They are so opposed to Americans getting affordable health insurance that they have shut down the federal government for the first time in 17 years. So one of the best ways we can tell Republicans we oppose shutting down the government over this issue is to encourage as many people without insurance to go online today, compare the plans available to them and enroll in a health plan.
"Republicans in Congress need to get over it. The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. It is a good law that is already helping people. And it is here to stay."