Health care exchanges near; Iowa outreach planned

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Starting Tuesday, uninsured Iowa residents can start using the new online marketplaces created under President Barack Obama’s health care law to compare and buy health insurance plans.

After years of debate and preparation, the consumer launch day of the biggest new social welfare program in a generation has arrived. About 264,000 Iowa residents without insurance could benefit.

Just how many people will immediately participate is unclear. While Iowa is not a state where political opponents of the law are trying to impede implementation, state officials say there is still work to be done to explain the law to the public. Not all the education, assistance and marketing efforts will be fully ready in Iowa on day one.

Iowa City Sen. Joe Bolkcom calls it a “massive undertaking to educate Iowans.”

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