Yesterday I delivered a presentation discussing the new health care reform law to a group of about 35 seniors at the Jewish Community Center in Pittsburgh. As you can imagine, the most prevalent question among the group was, “what does the legislation mean for me?” or “how does the law change Medicare?” Since I knew this would be the case that is what the majority of the discussion concentrated on.
What I learned from the group was that many of the questions folks had are fairly easy to answer if you’ve been able to take some real time to look over the legislation and read the summaries that many interested groups and organizations have prepared. However, the majority of the population hasn’t had that chance, and they haven’t had the opportunity to really ask questions to someone that is in a position to try and answer.
I’m by no means a “health policy expert” and I wasn’t able to answer every single question fully, but some of what people were asking was as simple as “am I going to be able to keep my Medicare if I have an income.” Someone else said, “I heard the bill will only help the lowest income levels and there’s nothing in there for other people.” These are ideas that proponents of health care reform, such as the President, have gone over time and time again. With that said, until these individual seniors actually had the chance to ask the question themselves many of them were understandably still confused. Many came up to myself and the other speakers afterwards and expressed their appreciation for actually taking some time to go over everything with them.
Perhaps unfortunately, not everyone with questions is able (or in some cases willing) to sit through an hour long meeting and learn about what the future holds now that health care reform has passed. What we now hope is that people will start talking about it with each other and pass along what they’ve learned to one another. In the meantime, here are two documents that I found helpful and may begin to answer some of the questions you or a loved might have about the new law and Medicare.