VIDEO: New Yorkers Divided as Obamacare Gears Up For Launch

By Janet UpadhyeHeather Holland and Serena Solomon  on September 13, 2013 7:14am

New Yorkers Sound Off on Obamacare
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Dnainfo/Heather Holland, Serena Solomon, Janet Upadhye

NEW YORK CITY — Whether New Yorkers like it or not, Obamacare is coming.

Beginning on Oct. 1, a list of third-party healthcare providers available to New Yorkers will go live, allowing those in the city to view their medical care options for the first time under President Barack Obama’s plan to reform the country’s health care system.

While some New Yorkers were concerned about its impact on their current health insurance coverage, others were looking forward to the potential for lower rates and more access to care.

"I think that Obamacare [is] imperfect, but it is a step in the right direction," said Moses Gates, 37, a Crown Heights resident who works for an affordable housing nonprofit.

"One of the best things it does is it… gives people a lot more freedom to make choices in their lives because they don't have to worry about affordable health insurance."

Greg L., 54, said he thought the impact on small business will be particularly negative. Obamacare requires small business owners with more than 50 full-time employees to purchase health insurance for their workers or pay a penalty.

"I think it is going to be a complete disaster," he said. "I think it is going to cost jobs because I think small businesses are going to get more part time [employees] and opt out of trying to join this," he said.

A poll obtained by DNAinfo New York found that of 500 people asked about Obamacare, close to half of those surveyed said they'd never heard of the term "health care exchange" —  a marketplace for health care plans that individuals and small businesses will have to choose from.

The poll, conducted by Independent Women's Voice, found that just over half of those surveyed said they disapproved of Obamacare, but close to 40 percent said given the choice between delaying it or moving forward with it, they wanted to go ahead with the changes.

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — which has been given the nickname Obamacare  — passed three years ago and was narrowly upheld by the Supreme Court in the summer of 2012.

While key provisions of the law officially go into effect in January 2014, residents of participating states will be able to access their Health Benefits Exchange next month.

For Jamaal Thomas, 35, the complexity of the incoming overhaul has him uncertain of how Obamacare will serve him.

"Some people say insurance rates are going down. Some people say they are going up," he said. "It is really difficult to tell."

 

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