Photo by the National Cancer Institute, public domain.
All Americans deserve equal access to affordable health care and insurance protection. Photo by the National Cancer Institute.
Robert Rivard

Are you among the 15% of Americans who live without health care coverage or any insurance benefits to protect you or your family members in the event of sickness or an accident?

If so, Tuesday is a big day with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, known for better or worse as Obamacare, the 2010 law passed by Congress and signed by Pres. Obama that is meant to fundamentally change the way health care services are made available and priced in this country.

Since the beginning, the president’s initiative has aimed at accomplishing two things: making health care coverage accessible to more Americans, and stopping the steep growth in health care costs in the country. Whether you support or oppose the law, those were and are the goals, and far more experts than not believe the law will significantly improve access to health care and, if fully implemented, eventually help reverse the fast-rising costs of health care and coverage.

Any claims that the new law threatens your existing coverage is misleading. The new law does not replace private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.

Photo by the National Cancer Institute, public domain.
All Americans, especially uninsured people of color, deserve equal access to affordable health care and insurance protection. Photo by the National Cancer Institute.

If you answered the first question at the start of this story or any of the next three questions affirmatively, you should read on and, once you have reached a decision of what action you intend to take, please send the Rivard Report a comment sharing your views on the new law.

Do you use hospital emergency care facilities or public clinics to access medical treatment and otherwise live without the benefit of preventative medicine, including dental care and vision care?

Do you or a family member suffer from a so-called pre-existing condition that private insurance companies have used as a pretext for denying you coverage?

Are you young, healthy and just making ends meet, and believe health care insurance is something you do not need and should not have to buy?

Tuesday is Day One for open enrollment for exchanges, health insurance marketplaces, that are meant to provide all uninsured Americans with fairly priced access to health care coverage, including those with prior conditions that previously made them ineligible for protection.

Angry Republican lawmakers who have made opposition to Obamacare the hallmark of their tenure in office in recent years are carrying through with a threat to shut down the federal government by refusing to pass a new budget unless the Obama administration capitulates and delays implementation of the new law for another year.

Most Republican lawmakers tacitly acknowledge they would work to either drastically change or kill the new law if given such an opportunity, but Pres. Obama reiterated Monday that he considers the government shutdown irresponsible and damaging to world and national markets and will not back down on hard-won health care reforms.

Economists warn that the looming shutdown could carry even more catastrophic consequences if House Republicans, led by Tea Party activists, fail to raise the nation’s debt ceiling in October, which could cause the U.S. to default on debts, suffer a downgrade to its credit, and negatively impact the post-Great Recession economic recovery.

Photo by Amanda Mills for the CDC, public domain.
Preventive vision and dental care will become available for the 15% of American who now live without insurance. Photo by Amanda Mills/Center for Disease Control.

What about you in San Antonio? How does the advent of the new law and the opening of the insurance exchanges change your life? Or, do you not know because, like many Americans, you simply do not understand the Affordable Care Act and how it affects you for better or worse? Click on the links we have provided in this story and see if you can get your questions answered, or send us your questions to and we will try to find the answers.

With all the disinformation out there, not understanding the new law’s complexities and how it might apply to you or your family is nothing to be ashamed of. The Rivard Report will work in the coming weeks and months to help readers better understand the new law.

For Rivard Report readers with family members who are more comfortable reading Spanish language text, here is something we haven’t tried before today:

Un Resumen de la Nueva Ley en Español

La Nueva Ley de Protección al Paciente y Asistencia Asequible (ACA por sus siglas en inglés), fue aprobada y firmado por el Presidente Obama en marzo del 2010. La ley que entre en vigor a partir de mañana, martes. Algunas partes de ACA entraran en vigencia en distintos períodos entre mañana, martes, y enero del 2014.

Si usted o su familia no tienen protección de seguros de salud, ahora tendra oportunidad a inscribirse en unos de los llamados “intercambios”, o mercados de seguros de salud.

Para leer más en espa?ol, hacer clic aquí. Empresarios hispanos pueden hacer clic aquí para informarse sobre la nueva ley y sus afectos en su negocio.

Follow Robert Rivard on Twitter @rivardreport or on Facebook.

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Robert Rivard

Robert Rivard is co-founder and columnist at the San Antonio Report.