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Obama Touts Health Care Exchanges In Maryland

President Barack Obama spoke about the new health insurance exchanges Thursday at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Md.
Matt Bush
President Barack Obama spoke about the new health insurance exchanges Thursday at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Md.

With just five days to go before the key part of the defining law of his presidency goes online, President Obama made a short trip to Maryland to urge people to use the health care exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act.

Twenty-somethings are the target audience of those health care exchanges, where people will be able to negotiate coverage plans online. The president spoke Thursday morning to a crowd packed with that target audience at Novak Field House on the campus of Prince George's Community College in Largo, Md.

"Here in Maryland, the average 25-year-old making $25,000 a year could end up getting covered for as little as $80 a month," Obama said.

Like all the others in the U.S., Maryland's Health Benefit Exchange launches in just five days: Oct. 1. Maryland's exchange is being run by the state, unlike neighboring Virginia, where the federal government will run it.

Like the president, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley expects some growing pains with the exchanges at first.

"We chose to be an early implementer. That doesn't mean it's going to be perfect. There's no product roll out, new program, or initiative that doesn't have its glitches. We'll have our share of glitches," O'Malley said. "But overall, I feel very good about the work that has been done to date. Once we launch and people have the opportunity to go online, we'll continue to address the problems as they emerge."

The exchange that goes online Tuesday is just for individuals. The marketplace for small businesses doesn't launch until January.

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