The federal government may be shut down, but one of the key provisions of health care reform is going into effect as scheduled. The Health Insurance Marketplace, which will bring health care to millions of previously uninsured Americans, is now live. Individuals can begin applying for coverage under the exchanges, with benefits beginning as soon as January 1st. Under the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, individuals are required to carry health insurance, and the exchanges help make that possible. Republicans in the House of Representatives have tried to link the passage of the 2014 budget to a delay in the requirement to purchase health insurance, leading to the standoff that resulted in tonight's shutdown.

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