John Barrette

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September 8, 2012
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Like it or not, health care act here to stay says Medicare course instructor

A Western Nevada College educator with an extensive career observing health care and government says Obamacare is unlikely to disappear.

Mary Wilson, who began teaching a Medicare class at WNC this month, said what she calls the health care affordability act suffers in part from dismal communications efforts by President Obama and aides.

"I'm (just) the messenger," said the longtime educator in the health care field. "I'm pretty sure it's here to stay."

Her criticism of Obama and his supporters regarding his administration's controversial legislative victory is that they have done "an abysmal job of explaining it."

She intends to explain it and Medicare in her six-week course at WNC. The first session began Wednesday, and will again after the continuing education course is reprised starting on Oct. 24. The first five classes focus on Medicare; the final week each time on Medicare and Obamacare.

Wilson, who taught in post-secondary or adult education roles and led corporate training on health care matters in California and Vermont, intends to make her Medicare course clear, simple and understandable.

Her goals are to impart knowledge of Medicare and how it works, explain the program's four parts and how they fit with Medigap insurance, clarify various Medicare procedural matters, and impart an understanding of changes in Medicare due to Obamacare.

She doesn't favor that latter term, but neither does she use the formal and ponderous government name of the new law: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

She and others sometimes shorten the last three words of the formal name to signify the law by using the letters ACA.

"With the ACA," she said, "people were confused."

For example, she said, people don't know what is in the law or how it will impact them. Consequently, she said, separating facts from myths is important.

She said facts include that children can get immediate insurance coverage, adults in 2014; that some young adults don't know they can get coverage on parental plans through age 25; that an insurance exchange in a state is competition, not aid, despite premium subsidies.

"It fosters competition among the insurance companies," she said of the exchanges, "but you have to research it. You don't have to participate in this (exchange insurance) plan."

One big myth, Wilson said, is entrepreneurs think: "My business is going to close because it's too costly."

She understands why many oppose the law on principle. "I hear from a lot of people: 'I don't want the government telling me what to do.'"

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Sep 8, 2012 03:57AM Published Sep 8, 2012 03:57AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.