Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Tuesday urged NAACP members to bring the same passionate fight to enrolling people in Obamacare that they brought to the struggle for civil rights.
"Start spreading the word," Sebelius said in a speech to the organization's national convention in Orlando. "Download tool kits and customize fliers to hang up at local businesses and restaurants and barbershops and beauty salons."
Sebelius has been working extra hard to raise awareness of the new law before insurance-exchange marketplaces open on Oct. 1 and begin enrolling consumers in healthcare insurance, many of them for the first time in their lives, Politico reports.
She also asked religious leaders to help spread the word about the healthcare-reform law and how to apply for coverage under its various programs.
"Few voices are more powerful than yours," she told delegates. "Those are the ones trusted in communities. Use those voices to educate and motivate."
Sebelius called on the NAACP to put as much effort into helping Obamacare work as it has over the years in the fight for civil rights.
"You showed it early in the fight against lynching and discrimination. You showed it by showing inalienable rights are secured in the courtroom and at the ballot box," she said. "You showed it by supporting a health law 100 years in the making."
Sebelius also urged the convention to disregard the calls in Washington for repeal of the law, passed in 2010, and in Republican-led states, where there still is opposition to creating healthcare exchanges and expanding Medicaid programs as called for under Obamacare.
The exchanges are to open Oct. 1 in every state, "despite what governors say," Sebelius declared. Americans are required to have health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014.
"The Supreme Court has issued its decision [upholding the law]; the people have spoken. President Obama was re-elected."
But, she warned, "the enemy is at the door and we know that they would like to dismantle these initiatives."
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