Karen Bleier/AFP

(The Root) — The federal government may be shut down, but the Affordable Care Act's health care exchanges are open for business so that Americans can start to enroll in the plan of their choice.

The Root asked its social media followers what Obamacare means to them, and so far your support is resounding. Here's a sample of what we've heard: 

Melanie Funchess:

There are 3 parts of the ACA that will be help me and my family specifically the first is being able to cover my children until age 26. I have an 18 year old son who still lives at home and finishing high school and needs coverage. The second is the annual maximum so that we don't go broke if someone gets very sick. When my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer we almost lost everything due to the cost of treatment of the disease and we had insurance. 3rd is the elimination of the pre-existing condition clause. My husband is now getting better and able to go back to work and he would not be able to be covered because the cancer would be considered a preexisting condition.

Timothy Hughes:

My grandmother died in 1997 from breast cancer because she was unable to qualify for affordable health insurance due to a "pre-existing condition". If the ACA had been around then my grandmother might've had a fighting chance.

The ACA isn't perfect. It isn't universal health care or even a viable pubic option. But insurance expansion & the discontinuation of the pre-existing condition exclusion are steps in the right direction. And if the ACA can help make sure some people get the fighting chance my grandmother never got, then I'm all for it. #ObamacareMatters

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Lawrence Stepney Jr.:

I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2011. I was working at the time and felt once I was healed of this malady, life would go on. However , the prognosis was grim. My illness would not allow me to work now that I was on oxygen therapy 24/7. I has to go on disability. I was limited by light-headedness, and shortness of breath. Lung issues lead to heart issues and once my job healthcare ran out, Medicaid was my option. Some of my medications were not covered under Medicaid. Certain tests and office visits were not covered either. On fact, I rarely talked with my representative from the Department of Human Services. Having home to the office, they gave me no special treatment even though I was on oxygen. I brought two tanks, enough for five hours, yet had to leave in order to stay oxygenated. It seemed the system wanted me to die. In and out of the hospital, tests, heart monitors, cat scans. I'm tired. The bills keep coming in: $2000., $4000.,$875. for hospital services… I'm broke, and sick. At least I won't get that funny look when I say I'm on Medicaid.

Selena D. Robinson:

Well we live in GA, which has decided not to expand Medicaid, and our annual income is too low to get a subsidy, so we're still up a creek.

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Tim V. Johnson:

I had a huge health crisis in 2005-2006. The total costs were somewhere in the range of $60,000. I actually had insurance through my employers at the time. When I was finally able to return to work 'part-time,' I was told that my insurance had been cancelled 'retroactively.' All of those bills then fell TO ME.

Now eight years later, I am finally getting back to full health. I am continually under threat of collection agents. I routinely have to deal with the threat of having my bank account seized. More than one creditor has threatened to have my wages garnished…

I now have a fairly good job. I have been able to recover a bit financially, in a day-to-day sense…but my finances and my credit are in ruins. I have not been able to pay on my student loans, and I think they are now in default. While my current job does give me a small amount to buy my own private insurance, it doesn't even begin to approach the cost of an individual policy…

I hope that the Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama will help people like me. From the reports and numbers I have seen so far, it appears that Obamacare is making insurance rates cheaper. Other reports also indicate that more children and elderly are able to get insurance coverage.

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Moni Harrion:

Here's my healthcare story. I was born with hole in my heart which was ventricular septal defect (VSD) and need surgery to fix the hole. Luckily for me my father worked for the Postal Service and had my family covered under his insurance. So at 8yo I had my surgery. BUT because of this defect it was a curse for me getting healthcare later in life. I was dropped from my father's insurance at 18. From then on I had problems getting insurance unless I was working for a company that offered it. No insurance agency would cover me because they saw my defect as a high risk (like a race car driver) and somehow thought I was gonna die very soon. How wrong they were!!! After having many jobs or being unemployed without insurance, I managed to outlived my so-called doomed state having to pay out-of-pocket for needed healthcare or going to free clinics. Now at 47, I have a job with great insurance coverage. With Obamacare (aka Affordable Care Act), I wouldn't have to worry if I ever get healthcare again if I get laidoff or go freelance or have have my own business! Im finally free from that doomed chain of fate! Thank you, Obama. You saved my life!

Deborah McEwin:

We have insurance. This year, we've received benefits not available before ACA. One of the perks has been free eye exams. Preventive care is also available at no extra cost. The insurance company has been proactive in encouraging us to take advantage of the care available. Obamacare, has been a great thing for us!

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Breanna Edwards is a newswriter at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.