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Obamacare Now Available

  • VOA News

Staff members from the Champaign Urbana Public Health District offices in Champaign, Ill., work with people trying to sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act, Oct. 1, 2013.
The U.S. has officially started offering health insurance to millions of people who currently do not have coverage.

Early Tuesday, the federal government opened a web site providing information on how people can purchase affordable health insurance from private companies through marketplaces run by the states, known as exchanges.

"It's hard to be really excited about it today. I mean obviously I'm excited on a personal level that I'm going to save a few dollars, but, I don't know. I would almost pay those dollars to get the government back running," said Deborah Lieslus after purchasing health insurance.

President Barack Obama said more than one million people attempting to log on initially overwhelmed the site.

The new insurance policies are part of Obama's signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, a wide-ranging set of reforms that are the country's most ambitious in nearly 50 years.

The law -- widely known in the U.S. as Obamacare -- is at the center of the current funding stalemate that forced a partial shutdown of federal agencies for the first time in 17 years.

Numerous Republican lawmakers are seeking to end funding for the reforms, or at least delay full implementation of the law, but Obama says the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.