Local Forum Answers Questions About the New Health Care Law
Norfolk, VA –Virginia Organizing, along with Empower Hampton Roads and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy held a large, educational forum tonight on the new health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Joanne Grossi, Regional Director of Health and Human Services was the keynote speaker and explained what the new health care law will mean for Hampton Roads families, Medicare recipients, individuals with pre-existing conditions, small business owners, young people and more. Joanne Grossi (MIPP) was appointed by the Obama Administration as the Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Region III, which includes the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. She is the key representative in this region in working with federal, state, local and tribal officials on a wide range of health and social services issues.
Over 100 residents filled the Episcopal Church of the Ascension to ask questions and learn about how the new health care law will benefit them.
“There is so much misinformation about the what the health care law will do. We held this forum tonight so that the community will get real information about the bill and not distortions,” said Winston Whitehurst of Virginia Organizing. “I have a neighbor who has to give up his job to help his ailing parents, therefore he lost his insurance. He then became ill himself and could not get any health insurance due to pre-existing conditions. Now with the health care law he will be eligible for the high-risk pool and will no longer be denied due to pre-existing conditions. It is so important that people understand how the new health care law will help them.”
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law in April, yet many provisions will go into effect between now and 2014. The forum took place a week ahead of the large September 23 milestone where several key health care bill provisions go into effect go into effect that will benefit seniors, small businesses, families with children and the nation as a whole.
On Thursday, September 23 young adults will be allowed to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26 and insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Next Thursday, insurance companies will no longer be able to take away coverage from those get sick while under their insurance. Insurance companies can no longer set lifetime limits on your coverage and will also no longer be able to set annual coverage limits for group or individual plans. “The health care bill will make a difference in the lives of many people young and old. Prior to the new health care law many people were denied access to affordable health care,” said Tim McCarthy of Virginia Organizing. “We have worked long and hard for health care reform and we want to see the law fully explained so that people may take full advantage.”
“As a nurse, I have been discouraged to see the emergency room as the main source of health care for many uninsured people. Many people wait until they are very sick and end up with very expensive care in the emergency room. The hospitals then pass along those costs to those with insurance making all of our rates higher. The new health care law will give the uninsured access to preventative care so that they have a doctor they can go to instead of being forced to rely on the emergency room. This makes perfect sense and will help everyone,” said RN, Nancy Kraft of Virginia Beach.