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Sen. Boxer promotes health care reform during visit to Los Angeles

Barbara BoxerCrime, Law and JusticeJustice SystemHealth Care Reform (2009)U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesAffordable Care Act (Obamacare)

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) attacked Republicans on Thursday for their repeated attempts to repeal Obamacare, saying threats to shut down the government or limit the debt ceiling are irresponsible and ineffective.

“The big problem we have are Republicans,” she said, speaking at a health center in North Hollywood. “They are the obstacle.”

Despite the continued discussions about repeal, Boxer said the states and federal government are moving forward with the Affordable Care Act and plan to begin enrolling people in new coverage options in October.

Now, she said, the challenge is getting the word out about those options. That’s partly what brought Boxer to Thursday’s event at the Valley Community Clinic. She and other politicians have been holding town hall meetings, press events and round-table discussions to raise awareness about the law.

And California, she said, is critical for the success of the law, in large part because there are 7 million uninsured residents, she said. “California is key,” she said. “As California goes, I think so goes the Affordable Health Care Act.”

Success, she said, will be measured by the number of people who get covered and how satisfied they are.

Health centers throughout the nation recently received grants to conduct outreach. Bonnie Preston, an outreach and policy specialist with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the centers are uniquely positioned to reach patients who may be eligible for government subsidized care.

Valley Community Clinic plans to send workers out to sporting events, shopping centers and health fairs to tell people about the law and explain how to enroll, said president and chief executive Paula Wilson.

Boxer also highlighted several reforms already in place, including a restriction on insurance companies canceling coverage for people who get sick and the inclusion of young adults on their parents’ plans.

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