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Sep 27, 2013 11:38 PM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Health care exchanges to open next week

Next Tuesday, Oct. 1, marks the opening of Colorado's health care marketplace called Connect for Health Colorado, the exchange that will offer those without insurance or who want a better deal than their employer might provide to purchase insurance under the Affordable Health Care Act aka Obamacare.

The debate over Obamacare has raged over the recent years, but Carolyn Cathey's support for the act has never wavered.

"I was diagnosed four-years ago with breast cancer," Cathey explained. "Cancer drugs are not cheap."

Not long after her diagnosis Cathey's partner lost her job, benefits continued for a while as mandated by law but eventually ran out. She said when the time came to get new insurance the process proved difficult, if not impossible.

"There was no insurance to be found, I went through every channel I could think of," she described. "They said you might as well stop calling now, you have a pre-existing condition and there is no coverage for you."

She believed her fate would've been certain if not for Obamacare requiring her to be accepted by the ten insurance providers vying for the business of Coloradans as part of the Connect for Health Colorado exchange.

"I would've died," Cathey said bluntly.

People like Cathey are obviously the big recipients of help from Obamacare, their pre-existing conditions will no longer block them from coverage. But the argument on how helpful the law with be to Americans continued over the past week.

"If you focus on the substance, the evidence overwhelming, this law is a train wreck," Sen. Ted Cruz (R - Texas) said on the Senate floor in Washington this week.

Sen. Cruz made a historic filibuster, speaking for hours, in opposition to the law. Critics maintain that the law raises costs for families and small business, indeed many people took to the News 5 Facebook page on Friday saying their premiums had gone up to an unaffordable level. Another critical issue is getting young and healthy people to sign up for insurance to help match the costs of those with health problems who will now be covered.

"Small businesses generate two-thirds of all new jobs in the economy and small businesses have been hammered under Obamacare unlike ever before," Sen. Cruz said.

Whether you're for or against Obamacare, the opening of health care exchanges across the country on Tuesday promises to be historic.

Connect for Health Colorado offers an online calculator to determine costs and tax credits for individuals and families on their website: http://www.connectforhealthco.com/

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