News / USA

Clinics Provide US Health Care Enrollment Help

Greg Flakus
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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid