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HHS rolls out $150M to help Americans find coverage under 'Obamacare'

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The Obama administration announced Thursday a plan to help uninsured Americans find coverage under the new health care law by offering $150 million to community health centers.

Top health officials said these centers frequently serve people who stand to gain the most from the Affordable Care Act, which is seeking to insure millions more Americans through government subsidies and an expansion of the Medicaid program.

Its announcement is part of a broad push to promote Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement, as calendar pages fall away toward key dates to implement the law. Open enrollment in the law’s state-based insurance markets, or “exchanges,” is scheduled to begin Oct. 1 for coverage that takes effect in January. Certain states will also expand their Medicaid enrollment in 2014.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she will be traveling the country this summer to promote the law.

“This won’t be easy … But it’s an undertaking that has huge benefits for the American people,” she told reporters Thursday.

Her agency said the new funding will be money well spent, because community health centers work with about 21 million Americans at about 9,000 sites across the country.

“Health centers have extensive experience providing eligibility assistance to patients, are providing care in communities across the nation, and are well positioned to support enrollment efforts,” Mrs. Sebelius said.

HHS said trained personnel will be expected to provide unbiased assistance, helping the uninsured to understand their coverage options, determine their eligibility and enroll in new health insurance options.

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