Sam Bauman: Forum to offer health care update for seniors

Plans are moving ahead for the public meeting about the Affordable Health Care Act in Carson City, according to Donna Curtis, who is spearheading the forum to be staged by Women Rising Against Partisanship.

I had the wrong date in last week's column. It's Aug. 28, and it's at the Plaza Conference Center in Carson City. No-host bar and food service begin at 5:30 p.m., speakers at 6 p.m.

Earlier, I said that I hoped the forum would include representatives from the Republicans as well as the League of Women Voters. Curtis said last week that when contacted, the GOP women were "too busy" to take part. Sorry to hear that.

But this is a ideal way for seniors to find out about the new health care law.

"We are certain to have unbiased factual presentation of some of the larger issues in the ACA," said Curtis. "The director of Region 9 of the Federal Health and Human Services Department; the representative of the Silver State Exchange (which will develop the insurance exchanges) as well as other program representatives will be at the Forum to explain what is and what is not in the ACA."

This sounds like a fine way to find out just what is and isn't in the ACA legislation, and it's worth noting that the State of Nevada has appropriated funds to establish the Silver State Exchange.

One major question one can hope will be discussed is the Rep. Paul Ryan budget, which switches Medicare from a fee-for-service system to a voucher program where future Medicare insured would, instead of the current fee-for-service and co-pay, receive a voucher for $6,000 (figure not firm but in that area) to pay for medical insurance. This would mean an additional outlay of several thousand dollars to purchase insurance; the $6,000 won't do it (A nice gift to the insurance industry, critics claim.)

Here some of the subjects Curtis says the panelists will discuss:

• Does the ACA use $715 billion from the Medicare Fund? Will there be reduction in Medicare benefits? Does the law use any Social Security dollars? Will the savings from cuts to insurance and drug companies be passed along to the consumers?

• Will patient care improve under the new law? If so, in what specific ways?

• How does the law impact insurance costs for individuals and for business owners? What are business owners required to provide? Can individuals keep their current plans and their doctors?

• What is the expected impact on the number of doctors and nurses in Nevada and how does the law provide for this change?

• In what ways would adopting Medicaid Expansion change health care for Nevadans? What are the costs?

So Aug. 28 is the time to learn more about the ACA. I'll be there and while I'll avoid the no-host bar, I will indulge in the food.

Write it now!

Many seniors vow to write an autobiography for their children and relatives. So much is lost over the years and few of us write notes about family history. In the past that was often handled in the family Bible, but nowadays not everybody has a family Bible. (And what about us Buddhist-leaning folk who don't have a family Bible?)

In times past this history thing could be a real chore, writing it all out. But now in the age of computers, it's a lot easier. If you don't know how to use a computer, the Carson Senior Center has a program teaching basic computer skills, and there are a lot of computers there for seniors to use. Just hop on the JAC bus (free) to the Center, sign up (free) and start writing.

Incidentally, don't stick to just the date-and-time stuff. A lot of things happen to us over time, funny little incidents that may have a family folklore to them. Like the time you broke a window with your BB gun ... or how much ice cream you ate after having your tonsils removed (do they do that anymore?) ... or when you carved the Thanksgiving turkey and wound up carving a hand. Funny events car brighten up the plain old facts. You can even make a book out of those memories with self-publishing as easy as it is.

• Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.


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