Nonprofit group travels state to educate public on 'Obamacare'Working to unravel Obamacare Call it the Affordable Care Act or by its recognizable alias "Obamacare" - the national health care law can confuse.
By: By Patrick B. Anderson, La Crosse Tribune, Wis., Superior Telegram
Working to unravel Obamacare Call it the Affordable Care Act or by its recognizable alias "Obamacare" - the national health care law can confuse. The law is often misunderstood by the public, and subject to exaggerations and fibs from politicians, says a group dedicated to informing Wisconsin residents about how the ACA will change health care. Seniors, small business owners, medical professionals -- no one group is free of misconceptions and perplexity.
"We find that some physicians are very well informed," said Doug Hill state director of Know Your Care. "Some are not."
The nonprofit hosteda community forum Wednesday at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's Cartwright Center to answer questions and educate area residents about the law's esoteric contents.
Susan Corbisier's husband will qualify for Medicare in a couple of months, and she wanted to learn more about how the law affects seniors. The forum helped her understand what changes are in store for him -- and for her, Corbisier said. She praised the event as a possible crash course for the baffled.
"I think a presentation like this can break it down for them," she said.
The event was one of about 80 informational sessions Know Your Care and its partners have held around the state. Common misunderstandings are based in fear -- worry over a government takeover -- but the law only builds on the existing health care system, Hill said.
"It's really not government-run health care," Hill said.
The law is being rolled out in two phases. Under the existing changes:
-Some small businesses are eligible for tax credits of up to 35 percent if
they offer health insurance.
-Children can no longer be denied insurance for pre-existing conditions.
-Young adults until age 26 can stay on their parent's insurance.
-At least 80 percent of insurance premiums must go to medical care.
-Double digit premium increases need public review.
-Medicare recipients get more discounts on prescription pills.
-Private insurance firms are required to offer preventative care such as cancer screenings, immunizations and mammograms, free of a deductible or co-pay.
The biggest changes won't take effect until January 2014, including the highly politicized "individual mandate," which requires most Americans to have health insurance.
"People are under the impression that they're going to be forced into this," Hill said.
But the requirement to own health insurance is just the tip of the iceberg. Other changes, to be rolled out in 2014:
-Adults, like children, can no longer be denied insurance.
-Biased insurance practices will be outlawed, including systems that force
women to pay higher rates than men.
-If state lawmakers agree, BadgerCare can be expanded to nearly all low-
income residents in Wisconsin. The federal government would foot the bill
until 2016. States would eventually be asked to pay for 90 percent of the
-Insurance exchanges will be established, offering affordable coverage options
to individuals and small businesses.
(c)2012 the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, Wis.)
Visit the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, Wis.) at www.lacrossetribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services