News / USA

    Clinics Provide US Health Care Enrollment Help

    The debate over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, continues. But the White House says improvements to the website have dramatically boosted enrollment. In some places, trained counselors are helping people navigate the website and they also help enrollees understand how such insurance works.

    Most Americans get their health insurance through their employers. But, despite being employed, Marcela Gonzalez does not have health insurance. She is seeking help at a Houston clinic operated by a non-profit organization.

    The Affordable Care Act's website has been plagued with problems since its launch in October. So Gonzalez was unable to enroll in a program the first time she tried.

    "The system was very slow, and we had another appointment, and I came back and we worked on it, but the system had the same problem again," she said.

    But persistence eventually paid off.

    "On the third appointment, we finished with everything. I was in the system and enrolled," said Gonzalez.

    Irma Pettway, who helped Gonzalez with her application, said enrollees also need help understanding insurance jargon like co-pay, out-of-pocket expense and deductible. "As we go through the whole application process, we are continually educating them about every step of the way."

    That's necessary because many poor people served by the clinics have never had health insurance, according to the non-profit organization's marketing director, Marisa Ponti.

    "Harris County, which is in the city of Houston, is the most uninsured county in the whole United States. So for us, any program that will increase access to health care is welcome," she said.

    Opposition Republicans say the program is causing insurance companies to drop thousands of people from their current plans, however, and ultimately will prove too expensive.

    House Speaker John Boehner says it should be scrapped. "The president's health care law continues to wreak havoc on American families, small businesses and our economy, and it is not just a website. This bill is fundamentally flawed."

    Ponti says Obamacare, for all its flaws, should be given a chance. "It takes time for people to assimilate all this information, and I think the problems will be tweaked [fixed] as we go along and we all are learning. So we just need to be patient."

    The health care law could face an even bigger challenge if too few young, healthy people enroll, though, offsetting the cost of insuring the poor and chronically ill.

    A poll released by the Harvard Institute for Politics shows that 57 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 disapprove of the law.

    Obama, however, remains confident that younger people will come around and enroll in large numbers before the deadline at the end of March next year.

    You May Like

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: SilenceDoGood
    December 07, 2013 12:28 PM
    A look at the cost structure of the ACA, for those who are interested. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Good luck.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7Y-5rjsaJY&list=TLz23cR0tZZkbEhgY3yYkmUhYwd6-NM7gg

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    December 06, 2013 3:51 AM
    Yes, I agree it takes time for anybody to assimilate any system.
    I am interested in how many Americans would be covered by Obama care after all.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora