PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On the first day uninsured Americans could sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, a crowd turned out at the Hill House to learn more.

“Today is an historic day,” declared Erin Ninehouser of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network. “It is a day that the door opens for over 1 million Pennsylvanians.”

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Julie Goodenough of Crafton was denied insurance repeatedly because of a pre-existing condition.

“I’m self-employed and nobody would sell me an insurance policy. So I can get insurance now and that means I won’t be scared of losing my home, or my savings, or my business,” she said.

By going to www.healthcare.gov, you can compare different private insurance plans — which depending on family income — will be subsidized to reduce insurance premiums.

This marketplace exchange is really for anyone who does not have health insurance — for those who work for a company that doesn’t offer it, or maybe those who work part-time, or folks who are out of work all together.

In short, the poor have Medicaid. This program under Obamacare is for everyone else.

If you’re insured, including seniors on Medicare, nothing changes today.

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For Faith Harfield who works but could not afford her employer’s insurance plan, this is big.

“This is now affordable insurance and I am very elated,” Harfield told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

Asked if she had gone on the website yet, she responded, “Yes, I actually went on the website yesterday and it’s very easy to navigate.”

Uninsured citizens have until March 31 to enroll, but those who sign up by Dec. 15 will get insurance coverage beginning Jan. 1.

While Republicans say they have good reasons to repeal the program, the soon-to-be-insured disagree.

“I haven’t heard any proposals from their side other than they want to shut it down,” noted Goodenough.

“I dare you Republicans to look in our face and tell us we don’t deserve health insurance,” added Harfield.

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