Despite a government shutdown, President Barack Obama’s health care regulation went into effect Tuesday with the opening of HealthCare.gov.
HealthCare.gov is an online health care exchange that allows Americans to apply for federal coverage and, if accepted, compare different policies for the best benefits and costs for their needs.
Coverage can begin as early as Jan. 1, 2014, according to HealthCare.gov. The open window for enrollment ends March 31, 2014.
Also beginning in January, Americans without insurance will have to pay either a tax penalty of $95 annually per adult and $47.50 per child up to $285 or 1 percent of family income, whichever is higher, per month, according to the U.S. News and World Report. The fine increases to $325 per adult and $162.50 per child or 2 percent of family income in 2015 and $695 per adult and $347.50 per child or 2.5 percent of family income in 2016.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “Obamacare,” was signed into law March 23, 2010. Some changes it enacted included preventing insurance companies from turning people away because of preexisting medical conditions and extending care to children of policy owners until age 26.
The government shut down Tuesday because of Congress’ inability to come to an agreement about the nation’s budget, specifically the funding of Obamacare. National parks, monuments, zoos and other federally funded entities were closed, and many federal employees, including 97 percent of NASA, were furloughed, meaning given a temporary unpaid leave, according to The Washington Post.
Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown supports Obamacare and a “strong public option” for health care.
“Wholesale this law makes sense,” Brown said in an interview with Cleveland Jewish News Oct. 21. “I’m very supportive. I think it makes a difference in a lot of people’s lives.”
Sam Zuidema, an OSU third-year in American history and American politics and chairman of the OSU College Republicans, said he disagrees with large-scale government regulation of health care and believe Obamacare is “massive” and “unwarranted.”
“Of course the government should have some role in healthcare, but it should have a limited and constitutional role and one that encourages fair practices and increased competition,” Zuidema said.
OSU students will continue to have the option of buying health insurance through the university, said Gary Lewis, a university spokesman, in an email.
“As our country’s approach to health care evolves, we will continue to offer a student health insurance option that features excellent benefits, low out-of-pocket cost sharing and a comparatively low premium,” Lewis said. “We are also committed to encouraging our students to research their options so they can make the decisions that best fit their personal needs.”