Madison County Triad will host another Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) meeting on Nov. 21 at 10:30 a.m. at Mounds Mall in the theater area. Our October meeting on the subject had over 115 people in attendance despite rainy, stormy weather. A lot of good questions got answered.
This month's meeting will be a little different because the presenters will be from St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital (formerly known as St. John's), Community Hospital Anderson and the Madison County Community Health Center. The presenters will be Georgiana Reynal, system director of public policy and government relations for St. Vincent Health; Terri Rinker, the revenue cycle director for Community Hospital Anderson and a federal certified application counselor; and from Madison County Community Health Center we will have Mike Casuscelli, director of outreach and enrollment, and Penny Jachim. Both are certified Indiana Navigators of the Affordable Care Act.
These representatives who we have invited to help explain the Affordable Care Act are very well-qualified and have a good understanding of how it is supposed to work. They will answer as many questions as time permits.
What we will be looking at is if any changes in the Affordable Care Act will affect the delivery of our health services that we normally receive. Will there be improvements or reductions? Will the costs go up or down? Will people who are now on Medicare, Medicaid, and/or employer insurance policies be affected at all? Will people have to wait longer to access their health needs? We will try to get answers to these and other questions.
Triad puts on these programs as a public service and we try to keep politics out of it. These are not debates over what is right or wrong but what the facts are at that particular time. John Williams of Senior Health Insurance Information Program and Terry West, an Indiana Certified Affordable Care Act Navigator, did very well in explaining the program.
Several times during his presentation Terry made some predictions about what could happen, but he made it very clear that these were just his opinions. He explained that Washington was still making changes and it would be hard to see how everything is working out this early in the program.
Indiana decided not to participate in the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act while all those states around us chose to go along with the federal plan. Indiana is one of the 14 states that will lose more than $8.5 billion that could go to help uninsured Hoosiers with disabilities and serious illnesses. Those of us in Indiana who pay federal taxes will not see those tax dollars coming back to Indiana to help over 400,000 elderly and disabled who need insurance. What will happen to them? How will Hoosiers be treated in comparison to people in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky?
Dennis Lanane is chairman of Madison County Triad. His column appears the first Sunday of each month. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.