The cornerstone of ObamaCare — the new insurance marketplaces at the heart of the debate over a government shutdown — opens for business on Tuesday.
The rollout of America’s new healthcare system is a pivotal moment for both President Obama and his Republican critics, and that’s a core reason why it has brought the federal government to a grinding halt.
Republicans have fought fiercely to delay, defund or partially repeal the healthcare reform law in exchange for funding the rest of the federal government — proposals Obama and Senate Democrats have flatly rejected.
Obama on Monday said, “The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. That funding is already in place. You can’t shut it down.”
No agreement on the spending bill had been reached as of The Hill’s press time, increasing the likelihood that the first day to sign up for ObamaCare will also be the first day of a government shutdown caused largely by the partisan divide over ObamaCare.
“Shutdown or no shutdown, we’re ready to go,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters Monday.
The new marketplaces, also known as exchanges, officially open at 8 a.m. in most states. After years of political back-and-forth about the law’s effect on costs, Tuesday will be consumers’ first chance to compare their options in their state, based on their specific circumstances — assuming the exchanges work as intended.
Obama and administration officials have warned repeatedly that some implementation snafus are inevitable as the exchanges launch.
Read more: thehill.com