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Harkin hails opening day of gov’t run health care exchanges

(Radio Iowa) – Democratic Senator Tom Harkin — one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act — calls Tuesday’s opening of the state-level health insurance exchanges a success. Critics point to computer glitches in yesterday’s debut, including traffic overload that prevented many from even logging in to the system.

“Some of my Republican friends were saying, ‘See, we told you it wasn’t ready. The websites aren’t working right.’ Now, if very few people had signed up, they’d have said, ‘See, we told you. No one’s going to sign up for it.’ They’re trying to have it both ways,” Harkin says. “I mean, people, 2.8 million Americans in the first day going on www.healthcare.gov to get this information and, again, to sign up.”

Harkin calls Tuesday’s opening of the state exchanges “a remarkable day in the history of our country.”

“We are now going to have affordable health care insurance for every American that can’t be taken away if you get sick. They can’t deny it to a family because somebody had a pre-existing condition,” Harkin says. “…We’ll have a whole new suite of preventative care measures and wellness programs to keep people healthy and to prevent illness in the first place.”

Harkin, as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, was a leader in drafting the parts of the law aimed at disease prevention. Harkin made his comments during a speech on the Senate floor late Tuesday afternoon.