Discovering the Truth about Health Reform

From Public News Service-PA (http://www.publicnewsservice.org):

Tom Joseph, Public News Service-PA

Article posted at http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/27418-1

(07/16/12) HARRISBURG, Pa. – Republican leaders in the House voted last week to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying it’s not good for the country. Experts say people in Pennsylvania and nationwide are still confused about whether the law will help or hurt them.

Craig Eichelman of AARP, which has 1.8 million members in Pennsylvania, directs people to an online tool called the Health Law Guide (http://healthlawguide.aarp.org/?cmp=RDRCT-HLTLWGD_AUG24_011). Answering a few questions lets people know their benefits and responsibilities. He says it’s just been updated, and users’ privacy is protected.

“There are six very simple and basic questions so that the report can be individually tailored for you – and that information doesn’t go anywhere.”

Some have said the Affordable Care Act will weaken Medicare, but AARP fact-checkers say it will strengthen Medicare and make prescription drugs more affordable. Eichelman says you can check for yourself.

“Let’s say you are getting ready to retire in 2014. You know, you can do another scenario, and you can make decisions for yourself or your family based on that information.”

While many websites do a good job explaining the Affordable Care Act, Eichelman says the health law guide explains it in more than one language.

“And it’s the only one that’s available in the country that is both in English and Spanish.”

Other, nonpartisan sources of information about the Affordable Care Act also are available. The Kaiser Family Foundation has an interactive tool called Health Reform Hits Main Street (http://healthreform.kff.org/The-Animation.aspx) and a quiz to test your knowledge of the law. FactCheck.org (http://www.factcheck.org/) also sorts out the truth from fiction. If you want to read the law for yourself, it’s also online, at HealthCare.gov (http://www.healthcare.gov/).

Opponents say the Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare benefits, although AARP and several other groups have clarified that it does not cut benefits or increase costs. Spending cuts would affect hospitals and some insurers, but not seniors.

Eichelman says you can try different scenarios with the Health Law Guide to see how the law would affect you and various members of your family. The guide is online at the link above.

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