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President Obama: "Providing people with health care—that should be a no-brainer”

On Wednesday, President Obama spoke about the Affordable Care Act at Faneuil Hall in Boston. It was an important backdrop: On the same stage, seven years ago, then-Governor Mitt Romney signed into law a bipartisan, sweeping overhaul of the Massachusetts health care system. It was a bold reform, forged across the aisle, and it served as a blueprint for the Affordable Care Act.

Like Obamacare, Massachusetts health reform had its hiccups upon implementation. There were technical issues. There was a slow start to enrollment, with only 123 people signing up in the first month. But the kinks were eventually smoothed out, and by the end of the enrollment period, more than 36,000 people had signed up for affordable plans with good coverage. Today, there is nearly universal coverage in Massachusetts, and the vast majority of Bay Staters are happy with their insurance plans.

President Obama also addressed a new scare campaign from those trying to sabotage the law. This time, they're claiming that people whose insurance companies have canceled their current health plans are losing coverage. The President provided some crucial context to clarify things: Nobody is getting health care taken away from them.

As the President said, those who have insurance through employers, like the vast majority of Americans, get to keep those plans. Those who have insurance through the individual marketplace on plans they had when the Affordable Care Act was passed also get to keep those plans. That was what the President promised when he signed the bill into law, and that remains the case.

But it is also true that insurance companies who decide to downgrade or cancel existing plans and choose to replace them are now forced to do so with plans that meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act. That means no more plans that are health insurance in name only—plans that don't cover hospital visits, that cut people off when they got sick, and that don't provide adequate care.

Instead, those insurance companies must offer real, comprehensive health care plans at competitive prices. So while it may be confusing or frustrating to receive a notice from your insurance company that your current plan is no longer available, most of these people will be able to get plans with considerably better coverage at similar or even cheaper rates.

"One of the things health reform was designed to do was to help not only the uninsured but also the underinsured," said President Obama on Wednesday. "And there are a number of Americans, fewer than 5 percent of Americans, who've got cut-rate plans that don't offer real financial protection in the event of a serious illness or an accident."

Just like the Massachusetts health care overhaul, Obamacare hasn't had a perfect beginning. Major reforms like these require hard work to implement. But Massachusetts' health care plan was a success, in no small part because people on both sides of the aisle worked together to make it a success instead of trying to scare people into not getting covered.

Obamacare is also fixing a broken health care system, and it's time for all of us to work together to get people covered. Help get the word out—join Team Obamacare.

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