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SD delegation united on aspect of Obamacare

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — South Dakota’s representatives to Congress are divided along party lines when it comes to their opinion of the Affordable Care Act, but all of them agree it’s their duty to help citizens figure out the law and find health insurance.

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Republicans Kristi Noem and John Thune are fierce critics and Democrat Tim Johnson is a stout defender of the controversial health care reform law. Noem said at a telephone town hall meeting Thursday that she never supported the legislation, which was passed before she was in Congress.

“But I certainly take it very seriously that it’s my job to make sure we help as many people as we can weave through the process and protect them, as much as we can, from the detrimental effects of the law,” she said.

Johnson and Thune tell the Sioux Falls Argus Leader their offices are working with people who need help signing up for the program.

“Sen. Thune has a number of caseworkers in his state offices that are there to help address issues constituents experience with federal agencies,” Rachel Millard, Thune’s press secretary, said in a statement. “Constituents who are experiencing problems with should feel free to reach out to one of the senator’s state offices.”

Said Johnson in a statement: “Health reform is about helping people.”

All Americans are required to have health insurance next year or pay a fine, which is relatively small in 2014 but grows in future years. People without coverage from their employer or the government can visit to browse a marketplace of health plans.