Town hall discusses health issues

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Robert Semro, policy analyst with the Bell Policy Center, spoke about the changes and key details of the Affordable Care Act during a town hall meeting Saturday, hosted by Lakewood legislators.

“This is a topic that has certainly been in the news and in the forefront of people’s minds,” Sen. Andy Kerr said. “There are still a lot of questions about what health-care reform means.”

Semro focused on how the ACA will affect seniors and businesses, and spent the majority of the time getting into a lot of detail in each of the two subjects.

“How the law affects you really depends on who you are,” he said. “I’m here to tell you what the provisions of the law are — it’s not a political discussion. I’m not trying to sell you on it or tell you it’s a bad thing.”

Semro said that there are 667,277 Coloradoans on Medicare in 2012, and the ACA postpones Medicare insolvency for eight years.

He also spoke about how the act aims to close the Medicare “Part D coverage gap” which has to do with costs of prescriptions.

He also spoke about the Elder Justice Act, which is part of the ACA, and will provide support to help the state prosecute cases of elder abuse.

As far as the new laws and businesses are concerned, Semro discussed how businesses that already have health care plans can “grandfather” them in under the ACA to avoid any penalties.

One of the key aspects of the law facing businesses is how full-time employees are calculated and some of the penalties that businesses can face for not providing health-care options.

Resident Cynthia Vitale attended the meeting because she said she wanted more understanding on what the ACA is.

“I’m not on Medicare yet, but I wanted to learn about the contrast between Medicare and Medicare Advantage,” she said. “I thought the meeting was very informative, and enjoyed (Semro’s) presentation — I thought it was a nice way to take on such a heavy topic.”

The entire meeting can be streamed for free online at www.jbgtv.com.

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