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Saturday I went to Philadelphia to get the word out about the approaching deadline for people to enroll in the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces. The push is on to make sure that everyone who is eligible for health insurance under the new health law has the information and help they need to enroll by March 31.

I visited with people attending a four-hour event at Congreso de Latinos Unidos where representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services were on hand to answer questions and assist people in the enrollment process.

I told the community residents a little bit about my family’s health care story and about how necessary it is to have health coverage, regardless of what age you are.

My daughter Graciela was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 19. Now healthy, she still has a lifetime of tests and need for medical care ahead of her. The Affordable Care Act ensures that she won’t ever be denied coverage for that care. My older brother Bob is a laborer. He works whenever he can get a job, so he wasn’t able to get health insurance. With the Affordable Care Act, he has been able to sign up for a plan through healthcare.gov and he no longer has to worry about the possibility of getting sick. My younger brother Dan is a contractor. He had health insurance but it was prohibitively expensive – he spent most of his paycheck just on the cost. With the exchanges he was able to get a plan that is much more affordable and still provides excellent coverage.

My family’s story is not that unusual. It’s the same story that families all across America could tell. And it’s why the Affordable Care Act is so important.

The President wants to make sure that the word is getting out to the Hispanic community, which has a higher insurance rates that most. Nearly 25 percent of Hispanics are uninsured.

That’s a statistic that must change. And because of the Affordable Care Act it will.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, Americans can get quality healthcare for an affordable cost. They can be sure that they will have coverage to treat the accidents and unexpected illnesses that may come their way. And they can know that they can’t be denied coverage because they’ve been sick.

My trip to Philadelphia today is the first of several I will be making between now and March 31, the deadline to enroll. We all need to spread the word: Enroll Now!


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