Connecticut has about 344,000 residents who live without health insurance. The goal of the new law, also known as Obamacare, was to figure out a way to get them covered through private insurers at a reasonable cost.
At a ribbon-cutting Tuesday, Governor Dannel Malloy called the day historic. "This is a day we will remember in Connecticut," he said. "It's also a day, quite frankly, that will be remembered in a number of states for those states' failures to have embraced a solution for their citizens. So let me be very clear. You get a lot of proud moments when you're governor. This is one of the proudest. We are ready; we are open; we are actually signing people up."
Kevin Counihan runs Access Health CT, the agency in charge of the state's new health insurance marketplace. He knows there are detractors who fear things like employers cutting hours to skirt the law. He also knows there are glitches that can slow down the website. He simply calls for patience. "This is the first day of a three-year journey," he said. "Health reform is going to be criticized by its opponents tomorrow for not having signed up seven million people, and it will be called a failure. And the fact is that this is going to take time."
Residents who want to be covered in January have until mid-December to sign up.