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Confusion, relief mark start of new health reforms

Howard Kraft looks over healthcare information in his Lincolnton, N.C. home Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. All things good, bad and unpredictable converge Jan. 1 for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul as the law’s major benefits take effect, along with an unpopular insurance mandate and a real risk of more nerve-wracking disruptions to coverage. For some, the changes bring big improvements, including Kraft. A painful spinal problem left him unable to work as a hotel bellman. But he’s got coverage because federal law now forbids insurers from turning away people with health problems. “I am not one of these people getting a policy because I’m being made to,” Kraft said. “I need one to stay alive.” (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The new year brought relief for Americans who previously had no health insurance or were stuck in poor plans, but it also led to confusion after the troubled rollout of the federal health care reforms sent a crush of late applications to overloaded government agencies.

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