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Libraries enlisted to deliver Obamacare information

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Education,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Obamacare,Health Care

The White House is turning to the network of public libraries to deliver Obamacare information and advice to the nation.

As it begins promoting the program that will require all Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine starting next year, the administration is dealing with the biggest hurdle in its effort: Where Americans go to get information on the new program.

Enter public libraries, already the go-to site for many Americans looking for tax forms every April. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which is in charge of Obamacare, has teamed with the Institute of Museum and Library Services to get librarians ready to help citizens learn about the new system.

According to the Centers, "the initiative will provide public libraries with information about the health care law and connect librarians with CMS navigators and certified application counselors to help their patrons understand the options for enrollment in the health insurance through the marketplace."

Under Obamacare, "navigators" will help Americans sign up for the health insurance program beginning October 1. The hope is that the nation's 123,000 libraries will help connect Americans with the navigators.

"People will likely turn to libraries to learn about the Marketplace, and we want to make sure that library staff has access to the tools and the information to respond to people who want to sign up and enroll for coverage on October 1," said Medicare's Marilyn Tavenner.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.