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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. At the White House this afternoon, President Obama enlisted a new ally in his campaign to promote health insurance: moms. Starting this fall, Americans who don't have insurance or who've been buying costly individual policies will be able to shop for coverage through new government exchanges. The White House plans an aggressive campaign to encourage people to sign up. Today's event was the first stage in that effort, as NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Just in time for Mother's Day, President Obama tried to highlight the ways the health care law is already benefitting moms and families who have insurance: requiring free coverage for preventive services such as mammograms and guaranteeing coverage for children with pre-existing medical conditions. The most ambitious portions of the law still have to be implemented, though. Starting in October, people with costly individual insurance or no insurance at all will be able to enroll in one of 50 new statewide exchanges created by the law.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: And you can then comparison shop an array of private health insurance plans. You can look at them side by side just like you'd go online and compare cars. And because you'll now be part of a new pool of millions of other Americans - part of this exchange - insurance companies will actually want to compete for your business.
HORSLEY: The government will offer subsidies to those who need help paying for private insurance. People who don't get insurance will have to pay a penalty. The administration hopes to enroll seven million people during the first year the exchanges are up and running - but not just any people. If only the oldest and sickest of the uninsured enroll, the cost of coverage would be too high. So, the White House needs to balance that out by enrolling millions of young, healthy people as well. Of course, those are the people who are least likely to feel a need for health insurance. That's where the moms come in.
OBAMA: Any parent knows that there's nothing we won't do to take care of our kids. And it's nice to have somebody getting your back.
HORSLEY: The White House is counting on mothers to nudge their young adult children to sign up for health insurance. The administration's not expecting any big shift in public attitudes towards the health care law, which remains controversial three years after passage. But White House officials say it will be harder for opponents to repeal the measure once more people are enjoying its tangible benefits. Scott Horsley, NPR News, the White House.
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