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Health Secretary Visits Philadelphia, Ready To Enroll Uninsured Under Affordable Care Act

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (credit: Pat Loeb)

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — President Barack Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary visited Philadelphia on Wednesday to urge uninsured area residents to begin exploring their coverage options under the Affordable Care Act.

Enrollment in the Affordable Care insurance markets doesn’t begin until October, but Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says there’s a lot of work to be done by then.

“Beginning to educate people about what is going to happen later in the year who are going to need particular help and assistance with language issues, because they haven’t ever been in the health insurance market,” she says, “so they need some additional questions, they need some help figuring out what works.”

Sebelius says some 90 percent of Pennsylvania’s 1.2 million uninsured will receive federal help getting coverage. She says 75,000 of them would be eligible for Medicaid, fully paid by the federal government, if Governor Tom Corbett will agree.

So far, Corbett has refused to expand Medicaid, but Sebelius thinks he may change his mind.

There is a significant cost to doing nothing,” Sebelius says.

Enrollment closes next March.