Reporting Jon Delano
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — America’s Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in town on Tuesday with a message to 1.2 million Pennsylvanians without health insurance.
“Starting Oct. 1, we will have new health insurance marketplaces open for enrollment, not only here in Pennsylvania but in every state of the country,” said Sebelius. “Coverage starts in January 2014.”
Sebelius told medical staff, union leaders, and others at Allegheny General Hospital that — if you have health insurance already — nothing really changes.
But if you need health insurance, Obamacare allows you to sign up for an affordable health plan.
Sebelius worries, “Just because these people will have access to new benefits doesn’t mean they’ll know about it.”
So she’s traveling the country to urge the uninsured to sign up.
When KDKA political editor Jon Delano sat down with Sebelius, he asked her about the cost which has been lower than expected in many states.
“Competition really does breed cost reduction, and I think that’s very good news,” she said.
While the choice of plans and rates here in Pennsylvania are not yet available, you can pre-register online.
One still unresolved matter — expanding Medicaid to cover an additional 700,000 Pennsylvanians, something Gov. Tom Corbett has so far blocked.
Delano: “Have you had a direct conversation with Gov. Corbett?”
Sebelius: “I have.”
Sebelius: “I think it was very positive, and I’m open to having more.”
Sebelius was asked if she had a message for U.S. Reps. Tim Murphy, Mike Kelly, and Keith Rothfus, who have voted to repeal Obamacare.
“This is the law,” she says. “It has benefits people are entitled to know about, to make good choices for themselves and their families. It is also the program that those members of Congress and their families will have for their health insurance.”
Sebelius says she’s hopeful Corbett will permit expanded Medicaid and local Republican congressmen will help all constituents get information and access to the health insurance plans the law now provides.
If you want to pre-register or check out options for the uninsured, visit http://www.healthcare.gov.