Registering for Obamacare

Registering for Obamacare

The law basically requires all Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine, and insurance companies to accept everyone.

Ten million people are expected to register through the federal website at healthcare.gov, state exchange and insurance company websites, or similar websites.

People who already signed up do not need to do anything else, but it makes sense to take a look and see if their current plan changed and if there are better options.

Those who cannot afford their health insurance premiums can sign up for Medicaid, a government plan (in California, MediCal), or request a subsidy from the government.

It is up to state governments to implement and run Obamacare (which Congress approved in 2010), unless they have refused to do so for political reasons. In that case, this is the federal government’s responsibility.

That is the background of the lawsuit that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide in 2015. The top court could dismantle Obamacare before next July.

Obamacare is the main issue for Republicans in their struggle to unify their ranks and regain the White House. The House of Representatives has voted against the law more than 50 times. Every time, the Senate refused to play the game.

This confrontation will intensify because the Republicans achieved the majority in both chambers in this election; only a presidential veto will be able to stop the repeal of Obamacare.

With all its flaws, this system provides health care to many who lack resources and a voice, among them to millions of Latinos, even if it does not benefit millions of undocumented immigrants.

The unstable environment that surrounds Obamacare—with a potential shutdown of government offices and impeachment of the president next year—should not distract from the benefits of the system or discourage the newly insured.

For the program to be successful, it is essential that everyone registers. It is very important for people not to wait until they get sick. Federal subsidies to pay for health insurance premiums put within the reach of Americans medical coverage that will help them stay healthy.