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U.S. Rep. Ron Kind talks Affordable Care Act

September 5, 2013
In The News

by Nathan Vine

Stevens Point Journal

People want information on the Affordable Care Act — from details about their options, to what they will have to do as part of the program — rather than political viewpoints for or against it, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind says.

Kind, D-La Crosse, was at the Dreyfus University Center Theatre at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Wednesday as part of a series of informational sessions he is holding this week throughout the 3rd Congressional District about the law.

People can begin to enroll Oct. 1 for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Kind said while the law isn’t perfect, it’s a move in the right direction toward providing affordable health care.

“The past system has failed too many Americans, from small businesses to individuals alike, with health care that was unaffordable, leading to more uninsured, and businesses less able to compete globally due to rising health care costs,” Kind said. “You also have the cost of the uninsured being shifted onto other people or swallowed by health care providers. It just didn’t work.”

Kind also heavily criticized projections released Tuesday by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, which predicted insurance premiums would rise, sometimes sharply, for individual health policies.

Kind claimed that Gov. Scott Walker’s administration had been misleading about the projections, saying they don’t take factors such as tax credits and how many plans would be competing into account.

“I thought that it was extremely irresponsible,” Kind said. “If their intent is to undermine the exchanges and to scare people, well then I think they accomplished that.”

In addition to Kind, representatives from numerous federal departments gave brief presentations about the Affordable Care Act.

Amy Hennessy, technical director at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said 90 percent of people currently without insurance will qualify for discounted or free health care under the law.

Eric Ness, Wisconsin District director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, said business owners are required to inform their employees whether they will be providing insurance by the Oct. 1 enrollment start date. He said people who purchaseinsurance through their work would be able to continue to do that as long as the company decides to continue offering coverage.

Ann Makres with the Internal Revenue Service told people about tax credits available to help people afford coverage purchasedthrough newly created health insurance marketplaces, and she urged people to report any family or income changes immediately in order to avoid being overcharged.