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Brown: Health insurance deadline nears

Tom Jackson • Mar 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Thousands of Ohioans are still in the red zone.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, wants to get them into the end zone.

Pardon the football analogy, but it’s useful because Brown brought aboard a famous football star to remind Ohioans Monday is the last day to buy health insurance from an online health care exchange, via the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.”

Eddie George, 40, who won the Heisman Trophy as a running back at Ohio State, briefly participated in a telephone conference Brown held for reporters.

George said he encourages everyone who hasn’t signed up for health care to do so now.

“Health and wellness is something that’s very dear to me on a lot of levels” he said. “I really encourage people to take advantage of it”

Enrollment in the plan is being done online at healthcare.gov.

Ohioans who need help can find it at localhelp. healthcare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596.

Brown said 160,000 Ohioans have obtained health care coverage since December as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but he said plenty of other Ohioans still qualify but haven’t signed up. Many of the people who can sign up also are eligible for federal subsidies.

The Obama administration announced Tuesday the deadline for signing up for health insurance will be extended past March 31 for people who have tried to sign up but failed because of problems with the website. It’s only the latest of a series of waivers announced by the White House that have changed deadlines written into the Affordable Care Act.

Brown, asked how he feels about the waivers, replied, “I have a mixed opinion of all that, but it doesn’t really matter”

Brown said he’s unconcerned that a Republican president might be elected in 2016 and issue waivers that are hostile to the Affordable Care Act.

“No Republican president is going to take away benefits from by then tens of millions of Americans,” Brown said. In three or four years, he predicted, “It’s going to be widely accepted”

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