The era of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” began Oct. 1. That’s when Americans without health insurance, some 48 million, can began to sign up for coverage in most of the country. This contentious new law mandates that everyone get health coverage or face a penalty. The general idea is that people will be able to access health care regularly, preventing or treating serious diseases before they become a health crisis that sends them to emergency rooms, where care is very expensive. Over time, health care costs, which has been soaring for many years, will be reduced. The ACA, as this law is known, will expand coverage to millions by broadening eligibility requirements of public-backed Medicaid and Medi-Cal programs for the poor, elderly and disabled.The new law also calls for the creation of new, private insurance plans that can be bought in an insurance exchange set up by each state. In this state, this exchange is called “Cover California.”In an individual cannot afford a health insurance, the federal government will subsidize the premiums in an effort to make coverage affordable.Several states controlled by Republicans continue to reject the new law, refusing to expand publicly funded health insurance. In those states, the federal government has created the health insurance exchanges.Republicans in Congress have consistently voted to strip funding for the ACA. However, these new healthcare options are a good idea and we need to give them an opportunity to succeed. The law does not negatively affect private insurance customers —- conservative or liberal —- in any way whatsoever. They will continue to get the coverage they are used to getting, much of it subsidized by their employers.Basically, the Republicans’ threat to shut down the government if the funding for the ACA is not cut boils down to simply a hissy fit for not getting their way.To succeed, new law needs young people to participate. They are generally healthier and their payments will help subsidize older people who tend to use a lot of healthcare resources. Everyone, particularly young people, can play a role in this historic act by signing up for coverage.