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Nearly 3 million people who needed insurance are already aboard

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

About 30 million, or 10 percent, of all Americans have no health insurance; or, to put it a different way, 90 percent of us are covered by private or public insurance. Therefore, it should not be surprising that so many people are dubious or outright against the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. It's designed to help the 10 percent, those who can't get health insurance while providing subsidies for those who can't afford it. It's a laudable goal that all patriotic Americans should support. Unfortunately, the "What's in it for me?" crowd is always there to undermine social progress.

Consequently, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has been planned along the lines of a political campaign. Concentrated demographic targets have been identified and are being contacted by on-the-ground organizations. Workers are concerned primarily only with those eligible for the program. The emphasis is on the states and urban areas with the highest percentage of citizens without health insurance.

Remarkably, it's the same strategy that had been used by the federal government to get people to sign up for Social Security insurance, during the Great Depression. Back then, just as today, many conservative states and governors tried their best to keep people from signing up for the program. In Georgia, in the 1930s, Governor Eugene Talmadge refused to help his people get Social Security. He was also against the implementation of the nation's first minimum wage law ($.25 an hour) that was signed by President Roosevelt. This came at the time when Georgia had become the poorest state, with a median yearly income of less than $500, or $250 a year, for black workers.

Federal counselors blanketed the state and provided information and applications for Georgia's elderly. It took a few years, but eventually all seniors (white and black) who were eligible for Social Security were able to sign up. It's amazing how today's conservative politicians are just as spiteful and heartless as those from the Depression in refusing to help people who need government assistance.

Los Angeles County is ground zero for the Obamacare campaign with more than 2.2 million uninsured U.S. citizens. This area alone is home to nearly 5 percent of the entire country's uninsured population. Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, has 1,800 certified navigators who are authorized to help with enrollment. In addition, there are dedicated people, including SEIU union workers, to knock on doors, make phone calls, send mailings and set up health fairs and events to publicize enrollment.

The White House is also using its influence to generate media interest in areas that need the program the most. In recent weeks, top administration officials have visited Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Phoenix, northern New Jersey, Tampa, Orlando, Detroit and San Antonio to publicize the program, which includes Medicaid Expansion.

I believe that our Republican friends are finding that the disappointing introduction of the Obamacare website has made little difference. Nearly 3 million people who need the program have already signed up and another 4 million are expected by March. Nonetheless, it's amazing that we have elected politicians who refuse to help implement the program and benefit the very people they represent.

Nick Vazzana