Health Care Access Clinic is celebrating its 25th year of service to the low-income, uninsured in Douglas County with an exclusive, free screening of the buzzworthy, award winning documentary, The Waiting Room. The screening will take place on Sunday, October 13th at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire, in downtown Lawrence. The event will begin at 6:30p.m. with an hors d’oeuvre reception. The screening will begin at 7:00p.m., followed by a facilitated panel of local experts on the state of healthcare for the uninsured in our county.
The Waiting Room is a character-driven documentary film that uses extraordinary access to go behind the doors of an American public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. The film -- using a blend of cinema verité and characters’ voiceover -- offers a raw, intimate, and even uplifting look at how patients, staff and caregivers each cope with disease, bureaucracy and hard choices. The film weaves together several stories from the hundreds being played out in the emergency waiting room. The Waiting Room lays bare the struggle and determination of both a community and an institution functioning with limited resources and no road map for navigating the health care landscape.
The Douglas County Dental Clinic will host its annual Free Dental Day Event in its new larger location at 2210 Yale Road. The event is scheduled for Friday, September 20, 2013. 15 Dentists will be participating this year and free services will be provided on a first come, first served basis. Screening and triage begins at 6:30am and treatment begins at 8:00am and will wrap up by 4:00pm.
This event is for low income, uninsured residents of Douglas County. Expect long wait times and please understand that services are limited per patient. Exams, fillings, extractions and cleanings will be provided on this day. Some patients will receive vouchers to return to the clinic or to the oral surgeon for services on another day.
The Lawrence Douglas County Health Department will also be on-site from 9am-11:30am providing free Flu Shots.
Health Care Access Clinic has been pleased to work alongside 10 peer non-profit organizations over the past 6 months to talk about how to do business more collaboratively. Instigated by United Way's new model of community impact and building on the already important outcomes results, these agency directors got a jump start on the process that must be in place a year from now under the UW Health Goal. LOTS of hours of meetings and many difficult conversations have already led to more trust and communication between agencies. Two joint grant applications to United Way were turn in for this funding cycle as a result of this work. The next 12 months will be laboring as well, developing shared objectives and stronger alliances, but the vision and vehicle has been established thanks to this new structure. Hats off to our peers for their investment in this important step forward for the betterment of the clients we serve: Visiting Nurses Association, Douglas County Dental Clinic, Douglas County AIDS Project, GaDuGi Safe Center, Trinity In-Home Care, Meals on Wheels, Independence Inc., Lawrence Community Shelter, CASA, and Headquarters.
Don't forget to stop by Health Care Access Clinic from 6:30-7:30p.m. tonight for FREE VEGETABLES and canned goods! K-State Extension's Connie Detweiler will be providing nutritional and refrigeration advice as well as cooking suggestions with the provided vegetables. Hope to see you there!
*We do not know ahead of time what vegetables will be provided. Today's canned goods: tuna and pink salmon.
Location: 330 Maine St. Lawrence, KS 66044. Phone: (785) 841-5760
By CALVIN WOODWARD and RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama promises nothing will change for people who like their health coverage except it'll become more affordable, but the facts don't back him up. Mitt Romney groundlessly calls the health care law a slayer of jobs certain to deepen the national debt.
Welcome to the health care debate 2.0. As the claims fly, buyer beware.
After the Supreme Court upheld the law last week, Obama stepped forward to tell Americans what good will come from it. Romney was quick to lay out the harm. But some of the evidence they gave to the court of public opinion was suspect.
A look at their claims and how they compare with the facts:
OBAMA: "If you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance. This law will only make it more secure and more affordable."
ROMNEY: "Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep."
THE FACTS: Nothing in the law ensures that people happy with their policies now can keep them. Employers will continue to have the right to modify coverage or even drop it, and some are expected to do so as more insurance alternatives become available to the population under the law. Nor is there any guarantee that coverage will become cheaper, despite the subsidies many people will get.
Americans may well end up feeling more secure about their ability to obtain and keep coverage once insurance companies can no longer deny, terminate or charge more for coverage for those in poor health. But particular health insurance plans will have no guarantee of ironclad security. Much can change, including the cost.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the number of workers getting employer-based coverage could drop by several million, as some workers choose new plans in the marketplace or as employers drop coverage altogether. Companies with more than 50 workers would have to pay a fine for terminating insurance, but in some cases that would be cost-effective for them.
Obama's soothing words for those who are content with their current coverage have been heard before, rendered with different degrees of accuracy. He's said nothing in the law requires people to change their plans, true enough. But the law does not guarantee the status quo for anyone, either.
So where does Romney come up with 20 million at risk of losing their current plans?
He does so by going with the worst-case scenario in the budget office's analysis. Researchers thought it most likely that employer coverage would decline by 3 to 5 million, but the range of possibilities was broad: It could go up by as much as 3 million or down by as much as 20 million.
ROMNEY: After saying the new law cuts Medicare by $500 billion and raises taxes by a like amount, adds: "And even with those cuts and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt, and pushes those obligations onto coming generations."
THE FACTS: In its most recent complete estimate, in March 2011, the Congressional Budget Office said the new health care law would actually reduce the federal budget deficit by $210 billion over the next 10 years. In the following decade, the law would continue to reduce deficits by about one-half of one percent of the nation's gross domestic product, the office said.
The congressional budget scorekeepers acknowledged their projections are "quite uncertain" because of the complexity of the issue and the assumptions involved, which include the assumption that all aspects of the law are implemented as written. But the CBO assessment offers no backup for Romney's claim that the law "adds trillions to our deficits."
OBAMA: "And by this August, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses and not enough on your health care."
THE FACTS: Rebates are coming, but not nearly that many Americans are likely to get those checks and for many of those who do, the amount will be decidedly modest.
The government acknowledges it does not know how many households will see rebates in August from a provision of the law that makes insurance companies give back excess money spent on overhead instead of health care delivery. Altogether, the rebates that go out will benefit nearly 13 million people. But most of the benefit will be indirect, going to employers because they cover most of the cost of insurance provided in the workplace.
Employers can plow all the rebate money, including the workers' share, back into the company's health plan, or pass along part of it.
The government says some 4 million people who are due rebates live in households that purchased coverage directly from an insurance company, not through an employer, and experts say those households are the most likely to get a rebate check directly.
The government says the rebates have an average value of $151 per household. But employers, who typically pay 70 to 80 percent of premiums, are likely to get most of that.
ROMNEY: "Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion."
THE FACTS: The tax increases fall heavily on upper-income people, health insurance companies, drug makers and medical device manufacturers.
People who fail to obtain health insurance as required by the law will face a tax penalty, although that's expected to hit relatively few because the vast majority of Americans have insurance and many who don't will end up getting it. Also, a 10 percent tax has been imposed on tanning bed use as part of the health care law. There are no other across-the-board tax increases in the law, although some tax benefits such as flexible savings accounts are scaled back. Of course, higher taxes on businesses can be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices.
Individuals making over $200,000 and couples making over $250,000 will pay 0.9 percent more in Medicare payroll tax and a 3.8 percent tax on investments. As well, a tax starts in 2018 on high-value insurance plans.
OBAMA: "Because of the Affordable Care Act, young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parents' health care plans, a provision that's already helped 6 million young Americans."
THE FACTS: Obama is overstating this benefit of his health law, and his own administration knows better. The Department of Health and Human Services, in a June 19 news release, said 3.1 million young adults would be uninsured were it not for the new law. Obama's number comes from a June 8 survey by the Commonwealth Fund, a health policy foundation. It said 6.6 million young adults joined or stayed on their parents' health plans who wouldn't have been able to absent the law. But that number includes some who switched to their parents' plans from other coverage, Commonwealth Fund officials told the Los Angeles Times.
ROMNEY: "Obamacare is a job-killer."
THE FACTS: The CBO estimated in 2010 that the law would reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by roughly half a percent.
But that's mostly because the law will give many people the opportunity to retire, stay at home with family or switch to part-time work, since they will be able to get health insurance more easily outside of their jobs. That voluntary retreat from the workforce, made possible by the law's benefits, is not the same as employers slashing jobs because of the law's costs, as Romney implies.
The law's penalties on employers who don't provide health insurance might cause some companies to hire fewer low-wage workers or to hire more part-timers instead of full-time employees, the budget office said. But the main consequence would still be from more people choosing not to work.
Apart from the budget office and other disinterested parties that study the law, each side in the debate uses research sponsored by interest groups, often slanted, to buttress its case. Romney cites a Chamber of Commerce online survey in which nearly three-quarters of respondents said the law would dampen their hiring.
The chamber is a strong opponent of the law, having run ads against it. Its poll was conducted unscientifically and is therefore not a valid measure of business opinion.
Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor and Jim Drinkard contributed to this report.
Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger spent an hour Saturday morning explaining how the federal health care reforms will affect Kansans.
Individual mandates, lifetime limits, Medicaid and online “exchanges” highlighted Praeger’s discussion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt. About 70 people attended the event, sponsored by the Douglas County Democratic Party.
Praeger answered questions about specific provisions and explained how Kansas has been working with the insurance industry to satisfy the law’s requirements.
Praeger acknowledged efforts in the state and on the federal level to repeal the reforms, but said “it’s important to keep moving forward on this. … If it changes, we’ll adjust.”
Following the talk, Praeger, a former Lawrence mayor, discussed some of the issues involved in implementing the new law.
Challenge of educating Kansans
“This is a very complicated law. It has a lot of pieces.”
Praeger’s suggestion to Kansans trying to dissect all the information: visit the Insurance Commission’s website at ksinsurance.org, which provides a breakdown of the law’s provisions. Also, attend events such as Saturday’s talk, where people have the opportunity to ask questions of public officials.
Who will be most affected by the law?
The 19-34 age group.
“I think there’s some real opportunities for affordable coverage that aren’t available right now.”
The individual mandate that would require the uninsured to buy health coverage.
“How do we encourage incentives for people to buy coverage? Because the whole goal here is to get as many people covered as possible.”
“It creates a lot more competition, a more competitive market because it standardizes the policies. … People can compare apples to apples when they’re looking at policies.”
Is the new law good for Kansans?
“I think in the long run, it’s a plus.”