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January 01, 2014

6 Million Get New Health Insurance in US

by VOA News

About 6 million people in the United States have new health insurance coverage, part of national health-care reforms taking full effect on New Year's Day.

The government said that after three months of balky enrollment, more than 2 million people were able to buy new private insurance policies by the end-of-December deadline. The insurance coverage is part of President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement, the controversial Affordable Care Act, popularly called Obamacare.

With the help of government subsidies, many of the people bought health insurance for the first time. Previously, many of the newly insured were unable to afford policies or were denied coverage by insurance companies who considered their medical conditions too costly to treat.

In addition, nearly 4 million people have enrolled for coverage under the government-sponsored Medicaid health care program for poorer Americans. Its expansion covers about half the country, with most of the cost picked up by the national government.

But most Republican governors opposed to Obama's health law have blocked Medicaid expansion in their states covering the remainder of the country. That will leave millions of mostly impoverished people without insurance.