Steelers, Dan Rooney partner with Obama administration on Affordable Care Act

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The Pittsburgh Steelers and owner Dan Rooney are partnering with the Obama administration to promote the discounted health insurance policies that are now available by way of the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Rooney is the Obama administration's former ambassador to Ireland. He will be joined by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Community College of Allegheny County president Michael T. Murphy, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and retired Steelers players Thursday at Heinz Field.

A time for the event has not been set.

The meetup is being billed as an "Affordable Care Act education and enrollment event," providing interested Pennsylvanians the opportunity to learn more about the health insurance marketplace exchanges, where health policies can be purchased.

Under the Affordable Care Act, those without insurance may be eligible for tax subsidies, which will help them pay their insurance premiums. Those without policies are expected to obtain coverage by next spring or face a potential fine.

The partnership with the Steelers is part of HHS's ongoing campaign to team up with athletes, sports franchises and other celebrities to promote "Obamacare" and urge the uninsured -- particularly the young and healthy -- to sign up for coverage.

Oct. 1 was the first day that Pennsylvania consumers could log onto the federal website -- healthcare.gov -- to shop for policies, but the first week was plagued by delays and bugs caused by too much Internet traffic, according to HHS.

Meanwhile, House Republicans continue to press for the de-funding of the Affordable Care Act, and say they won't pass a "clean" spending bill without major concessions from President Barack Obama.

If that doesn't happen, the partial federal government shutdown, which also began Oct. 1, will continue.

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Bill Toland: btoland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2625.


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