Thursday, March 10, 2011
At a time when many Americans are confused about the health-care-overhaul law, a coalition of groups representing doctors, nurses, pharmacists and consumers has launched a website to answer questions about the Affordable Care Act.
“There’s a lot of confusion about what the law involves, there’s confusion about whether the law is actually in effect and a lot of confusion about the politics of it, what’s going on in Congress and what’s going on in the courts,” said Dr. Cecil Wilson, a Winter Park, Fla., doctor and president of the American Medical Association.
The new website — HealthCareandYou.org — doesn’t delve into the politics behind the law, but spells out what the law means to consumers, depending on the state they live in and their age. The website also provides a timeline, telling consumers when different parts of the law go into effect.
“The law is complicated, and the goal is to help the American people understand it,” Wilson said. “So this website was put together by a coalition of what we would describe as the nation’s most-trusted organizations that represent consumers, nurses, pharmacists and physicians.”
The coalition includes AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the Catholic Health Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association.
The debate over the nation’s health-care overhaul has been heated and recent court challenges of the law have confused many Americans about whether health-care changes are even occurring.
In a recent survey, 22 percent of Americans incorrectly believed that the health-care-overhaul law had been repealed — and another 26 percent said they weren’t sure. The survey, which was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that: nearly one in three Republicans thought the law had been repealed; one in four independents thought so too; and one in eight Democrats.
“Key provisions of the law have the potential to help millions of Americans with cancer — or at risk for cancer — to access lifesaving care, but first they need to understand what the law means for them,” said Christopher W. Hansen, president of American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.
“HealthCareandYou.org is an essential tool that will inform families struggling with cancer about new coverage options, patient protections and no-cost preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies,” Hansen said.
The site should help to answer a range of questions from consumers, said Laura Goodhue of Florida CHAIN, a health-care advocacy group. Goodhue said there’s a lot of confusion about the law, not just from individuals who might be affected, but even community organizations that help low-income consumers.
The new site, she said, has “compiled some great state-specific information on how the health law benefits not only families and business owners but our communities.”
In addition, the website provides testimonials from patients who tell how the law has helped them. “The testimonials are particularly important in helping people understand how the law impacts them,” Goodhue said.
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