Lots of questions and criticism, not much love for Affordable Care Act at state forum

05/08/2012 11:11 AM

A public forum focused on the effects of the Affordable Care Act on Monday at times shifted from being a discussion about the intent and potential effects of requiring Americans to have health insurance to being a tea party rally against the measure.

Many of the comments and questions posed to a panel of state regulators, health and insurance officials, focused on the effect of the individual mandate that requires Americans to have health insurance, as well as insurance exchange pools that cast a wide net to include more paying insurers. The forum was held at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s auditorium in Frankfort.

John Kemper, a Lexington developer and former Republican candidate for state auditor who has been active in the tea party movement, asked how a health insurance exchange would be more efficient than the private market.

William J. Nold, director of the department of health and life insurance for the Kentucky Department of Insurance, fielded the question saying that the goal of the exchange is to bring in young people, many of whom don’t carry health insurance, to spread the risk.

“What you (currently) end up with is an insurance pool that contains older people and naturally maybe less healthy people. So the rates are based on those pools. When you get other people involved into the system, especially younger people, it’s designed to drive down costs,” Nold said.

Carol Miller, a small business owner from Wilmore, suggested a church-based health insurance pool.

Harriette Seiler, who was born in Canada and now lives in Louisville, said she opposes the mandate for everyone to carry health insurance but says she favors a universal health care approach.

Another woman, who identified herself only as former teacher whose daughter suffers from cancer, had an intense exchange with new Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Haynes and Carrie Banahan, executive director of the office of health policy.

One 23-year-old from Louisville said he doesn’t “want to subsidize everyone’s grandmothers’ insurance.”

- Video by Greg Pursifull

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