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August 1, 2013

Publisher's Notebook: Educate yourself about Obamacare

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Hopefully business owners and local residents without insurance have been following the series on the Affordable Care Act that’s been running in this newspaper. It’s full of information about a major piece of legislation that attempts to reform the health care system.

Expect more information from the newspaper and other sources ahead of the open enrollment that begins on October 1. On that date, individuals and small businesses can buy affordable and qualified health benefit plans in a new transparent and competitive insurance marketplace.

The state of Kentucky has begun an $11 million information campaign to tell residents how to enroll in the insurance plans. Advertisements in newspapers, radio, billboards and online will direct enrollees to an online exchange at Kynect.ky.gov.

Those seeking insurance should educate themselves on the ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare, because there inevitably is confusion with such a massive rollout. Many questions are left to be answered ahead of the March 31, 2014 deadline when everyone, with few exceptions, will be required to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

But don’t fret. The ACA is moving forward and 32 million people, including 640,000 Kentuckians, will soon have access to affordable, quality health insurance that don’t have it now.

Remember the uncertainty surrounding the rollout of the Medicare prescription drug plans? Seniors and their families were up in arms whether to choose Plan A or Plan B and how it was going to affect them. Misinformation created fear and confusion.

But eventually the plans took hold and now everyone agrees the prescription drug program has been good for Medicare and the people who use it.

Kentucky residents shouldn’t rely on their elected officials, especially Republicans, to give them unbiased information about Obamacare and to help steer them through the enrollment process.

Our Republican congressmen joined their colleagues in the House of Representatives recently to vote, for the 37th time, to repeal Obamacare. It was, and always has been, a symbolic vote because even the House leadership admits there is no chance of a repeal.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

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