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Health care exchanges officially open Tuesday

Health care exchanges officially open Tuesday

As part of the Affordable Care Act, the health exchanges will officially open Tuesday.

Under the health care overhaul, companies with 50 or more workers will now be required to provide their employees with some form of health insurance, or else pay a penalty. That provision, though, has been delayed until 2015.

In response, some employers say they will cut their employees hours to under 30 hours a week so they don’t have to provide them with coverage.

Don Beachler, professor of politics and public policy at Ithaca College, says he considers that provision to be the weakest part of the law.

“Companies that use easily replaceable labor might do that,” Beachler said. “That could happen in the retail and food service industries.”

The law has come under intense criticism from some Congressional Republicans, leading Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to urge fellow lawmakers to defund it in a 21-hour speech on the Senate floor.

Beachler says for all the intense debate surrounding the law, it affects a small portion of the population.

“It’s a very modest program for all the debate that’s going on about it,” Beachler said. “It’s not single-payer, it’s not government takeover…It is sort of an indicator of our times that it would have this much heated rhetoric about it.”

All the marketplaces can be accessed online through NYstateofhealth.ny.gov

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