MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansans will have an opportunity to make sense of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act at the third annual community forum on health care on August 2nd at the Manhattan Public Library Auditorium beginning at 7:00 pm. Janet Witt from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) will be the featured speaker at this year's event.
The Affordable Care Act envisioned an expansion of Medicare to insure the uninsured but the court decided the federal government couldn't force state to expand their Medicare program, even if 90% of the cost of expansion was going to be paid by the federal government. This has lead to a string of Republican governors saying they won't implement the ACA, including our own Governor Brownback.
Janet Witt serves as the Grassroots Manager for NCPSSM. Witt joined NCPSSM in 1999 after serving as the Director of State Government Affairs for the American Dietetic Association following a long career of administrative and clinical dietetics and long term care services for the elderly. Her extensive experience with the special health care needs of seniors and years of advocacy on behalf of health, economic and retirement security programs make her a compelling and informative speaker for all audiences.
NCPSSM was founded in 1982 and is a grassroots advocacy organization that is dedicated to protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits for all communities and generations. Using a variety of advocacy tools - petitions, phone calls and personal letters - NCPSSM has long made a crucial difference in the outcome of legislation in the U.S. Congress.
"We are in this fight to keep Medicare benefits from being stripped away from millions of seniors by Members of Congress who vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The ACA will save lives, it will provide coverage to millions who lack insurance and it already provides improved benefits for less cost to seniors in Medicare. America's health and economic security should take priority over election-year politics; however, this vote proves once again, politics trumps policy in the House. The Affordable Care Act is law, it's working, and it's long past time for Congress to start making economic growth a priority," said Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO.
The rhetoric used by the Republicans in their attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act often ignore the facts about the benefits it provides seniors. According to NCPSSM the following benefits would be lost if the Republicans had their way:
- The typical senior would lose $4,200 over the next decade in prescription drug savings provided in the ACA
- The Part D coverage gap known as the 'donut hole' would return
- Annual wellness visits for beneficiaries would no longer be covered by Medicare
- Seniors will now pay more for preventive services. Medicare would no longer fully cover screenings like mammograms, pap smears, bone mass measurements, depression screening, diabetes screening, HIV screening and obesity screenings
- Almost 3.3 million uninsured Americans ages 50-64 who would have been insured under Medicaid will remain uninsured
- The Medicare Trust Fund's solvency would be shortened by 8 years
Following the election of Obama in 2008 and the yearlong effort to reform health care in our country, the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice held the first community forum about the new law in 2010. The forum featured Judith Baker, Regional Director, Region 7 Office, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Suzanne Cleveland, Senior Policy Analyst of the Kansas Health Institute; and Dr. Tom Kluzak, pathologist from Wichita. Then in 2011 the forum took up the topic of access to health and dental care at the local level which panelists from Konza Prairie Dental, Flint Hills Community Clinic, Pawnee Mental Health and Mercy Regional Health Center.
This year's forum is co-sponsored by the North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging and the Manhattan Chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness.