BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Maryland moves ahead in the Obamacare controversy with a $123 million federal grant for the state’s healthcare exchange.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains what this means for thousands of Maryland families.

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Healthcare help at hand.

“We’re all fully vested, committed to health reform,” Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said.

As a mom Nikia Queen knows her children rely on her health.

“It’s very important so I can be healthy for my kids as they get older and keep up with them,” Queen said.

But 747,000 Marylanders are uninsured and often go untreated.

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“For fear of being billed or not being able to afford what the treatment is,” one doctor explained.

On Thursday, Brown announced a $123 million federal grant for the new Maryland Health Connection.

“This is a new tool for Marylanders who, up to this point, have had difficulty finding affordable quality healthcare,” he said.

It’s a way to navigate the waters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010 by allowing Marylanders not covered by workplace policies to compare the rates and plans of private insurance companies.

“And get significant subsidies if your income is under $80,000 a year, say for a family of four,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the Maryland Secretary of Health, said.

The system will be fully operational in October 2013.

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Insurance coverage through the Maryland Health Connection would begin Jan. 1, 2012.