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Health and Medicine

HHS Secretary Sebelius is touring Ohio to discuss health exchanges
The daughter of Ohio Gov. Gilligan calls the healt-care overhaul an historic opportunity

Andy Chow
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius says people are only now understanding the huge potential of Obamacare to change their lives.
Courtesy of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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In The Region:
President Barack Obama’s top health-care official is touring the country to talk to people about enrollment in the new health marketplace. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow had a chance to sit down with the Health and Human Services secretary and also heard the stories of those looking forward to the new health plans.
Sebelius touring Ohio to discuss health exchange

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Gloria McCauly is a cancer survivor from Columbus. On Thursday, she had the opportunity to share her story with national and local officials during a panel discussion about the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

“I know the importance of screening and mammograms. But if I had waited for my insurance to pay for a mammogram,I’d be dead now.”

McCauly says her expensive health care plan, known as catastrophic coverage, took care of chemo treatment and surgery but dropped other things like screenings and visits to the oncologist. She says her situation will change for the better once coverage under the federal exchange kicks in.

“I am very much looking forward to being able to access decent health coverage at a price that I can afford because right now I’m paying about $400 a month for a policy that could be a door stop.”

McCauly and others around the country have had just about two weeks to start signing up for the new coverage. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined McCauly in Columbus to talk about ObamaCare and provide a status report on enrollment.

Ohio roots
The secretary is an Ohio native and daughter of former Gov. John Gilligan. She admits that enrollment in the health-care exchange got off to a rocky start with the website crashing in the early stages. Sebelius says those problems are fixed. She also adds that the high amount of traffic to the website should send a message to national leaders about the state of health care.

“I certainly think it represents pent-up demand. A lot of Americans have been waiting for decades for affordable health coverage. We have lots of people who don’t have any coverage at all. ... About 1.4 million Ohioans have no insurance coverage at all.”

Some private firms and analysts have issued their own estimates on how many people have signed up so far, which for the most part show low numbers. But those stats aren’t official. Sebelius says low numbers shouldn’t be a cause for concern and urges people to take some time before locking into a plan.

“No one is missing health coverage by not signing up on October. In fact, it’s a good idea to get information, sit down with your family, make sure you know what the options are and then make a good decision.”

There's still time
The first deadline to remember is Dec. 15th. Individuals must be enrolled by this date in order to start receiving coverage by Jan. 1. After that, Americans still have time to take advantage of open enrollment through this coming March.

The Health and Human Services secretary says the federal government shutdown took focus away from enrollment and hopes more people will take a closer look at the health care plans now that the shutdown is over.

“I'm hoping we can get attention back, saying ‘this is an historic opportunity.' ... We hope people understand that for the first time, many folks have the opportunity to have affordable health coverage for themselves and their families.”

Sebelius commends the work of Gov. John Kasich for his push for Medicaid expansion. She adds that her department will begin releasing its own monthly reports on enrollment numbers at the end of October.
Listener Comments:

Yes, Lois I agree, however who would replace her? More than likely another progressive.
People think all in the government are corrupt money stealers and/or worse. This is not true, many just don't know there are numerous good reps, because many don't know what their reps are doing.
opencongress org is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to know how to vote with knowledge of a subject, rather than for a special interest. Voting for special interests is what spoils the integrity of our vote.
Thank You

Posted by: she's a progressive on October 21, 2013 10:10AM
She needs to be fired!

Posted by: Lois (Lakeview) on October 17, 2013 8:10AM
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