A panel of healthcare experts gathered at Washington Tabernacle today to field questions from members of the community on how the Affordable Care Act would impact their lives.
Topics ranged from small businesses to Medicaid expansion in Missouri, and a large part of the discussion focused on a ballot initiative regarding health insurance exchanges in Missouri.
(Go here for in-depth coverage on Medicaid expansion and the working poor.)
Last month a Cole County judge ruled in favor of changing the original language of the measure, which will determine if the Governor’s office can establish an exchange without legislative approval.
(Go here for more coverage on the health insurance exchange ballot initiative.)
University of Missouri St. Louis Political Science Professor Terry Jones helped clarify the politics surrounding the ballot initiative.
“Given the fact that it’s a Democratic Governor in all likelihood in 2013 and a Republican Dominated legislature in 2013, it’s also about whether a Democratic governor can unilaterally make it happen or whether Republicans can delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Missouri,” Jones Said.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has yet to take a position on health insurance exchanges, saying that he wanted to wait until after the election to weigh his options.
Missouri Foundation for Health President and CEO Robert Hughes answered questions on how a health insurance exchange would impact small businesses.
“If they have fewer than 100 employees they’ll be able to purchase health insurance through the state exchange,” Hughes said. “And if they have fewer than 50 employees they will not be penalized for not offering health insurance.”
Pastor Rodney Francis said hosting meetings like this is a key part of fulfilling the traditional role of his church.
“The African American church has always been a center of information exchange and dialog,” Francis said. “We take it seriously at Washington Tabernacle about really trying to inform each other and the community about issues that matter.”
Click here for more information on the Affordable Care Act from the US Department of Health and Human Services.