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Topic of the day: The upcoming implementation of the Affordable Care Act

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24 2013 10:32 p.m. MDT

In this Thursday, July 18, 2013, photo, President Barack Obama stands with families who benefited from the health care law provision that provides consumers with a refund if their insurance company doesn’t spend the majority of premium dollars on medical care, as he speaks about health care reform and the Affordable Care Act in the East Room at the White House in Washington. In his speech, Obama said rebates averaging $100 are coming from insurance companies to 8.5 million Americans. In fact, most of the money is going straight to employers who provide health insurance, not to their workers, who benefit indirectly. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Charles Dharapak, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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On Oct. 1, the health care exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act will go into effect. It is meant to help consumers better shop for health care options when purchasing coverage.

As with most parts of the Affordable Care Act, it has been subject to intense political debate and maneuvering on Capitol Hill, with the House GOP recently threatening to shut down the government if funding was provided for the act.

People have differing opinions on the upcoming exchanges, such as the USA Today editorial board and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Avik Roy, who take differing stances in USA Today’s “Opposing View” series.

“Expect trouble. The health exchanges where people will sign up are brand new, and like anything this big, glitches are inevitable. Exchanges intended to be friendly online stores will be less seamless than Expedia or Amazon, at least at first,” the USA Today editorial board said. It warns people to expect troubles at first, as they would with almost any system, but that if past experience is any indicator, things will work out in the end for the exchanges. “When the inevitable problems begin turning up next week, it might be worth remembering the fury that greeted Medicare's prescription drug program when it introduced exchanges in 2006. Last year, a poll showed that 90% of seniors like the program. It is politically unassailable,” it said.

Roy, on the other hand, is much less optimistic about the exchanges and the mandate that goes along with it, believing that it will be far more expensive for people to justify the benefits. “In most states, the cost of individually purchased health insurance will increase significantly, as much as 160%. A handful of states will see average rates go down. But that's generally because those states, like New York, had long ago imposed ObamaCare-like mandates that made insurance unaffordable for the young and healthy. Nationally, so far, we've found that ObamaCare will increase premiums in the individual market by an average of 24%,” he said.

What are your thoughts and opinions on the upcoming implementation of the most noticeable aspects of the Affordable Care Act?

Freeman Stevenson is a Snow College grad and a writer for the Deseretnews.com Opinion section. Email him at fstevenson@deseretdigital.com

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