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Get educated about health care changes
On Oct. 27 members of the Hilltop community held a health care town hall meeting at the Hilltop Wellness and Family Center.
Listening to a presentation made by the Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage (OCHC), residents learned what they should expect for their community in terms of changes being made to national health care.
“We’re about to be affected,” Rev. Julia Bingman said, “by some health issues here in this neighborhood, and in Columbus, and in the state of Ohio in general.”
According to Bingman, the OCHC is a coalition of consumers and individuals who are dedicated to the idea of fair and affordable health coverage for every Ohioan – no matter what class or background they come from. The expansion of Medicare is an example of something the group supports.
“We know health care is a huge concern for Ohioans,” Bingman said, adding medical bills contribute towards one of the largest reasons for debt in the country. “It’s especially a wide problem for the folks on the Westside. Even with all our wonderful hospitals we know that people can’t afford the care that they need, and even when they get it, then they can’t pay their bills.”
However, according to Bingman, with new health care laws being passed this year, there is a lot of money that will soon be made available to the community; money designed to fulfill specific needs of unique communities. With the health care bill passed last March, some people have already begun to see changes kick-in as early as this past September.
With 2014 being the tail end of policy changes – omitting a few exceptions – Bingman said people will begin to see things go into effect over the next three to four years. Many of these changes, Bingman said, are focused to bridge the gap between communities of ethnic, poor, and rural areas where citizens fall between the cracks.
Bingman admitted that explaining the law can be dry and political, but is absolutely necessary if a community hopes to fully appreciate and take advantage of the opportunities made to them. Also, community interaction is essential to bringing the right type of changes to the attention of powers that be.
“It doesn’t matter unless we know how it’s going to affect us,” Bingman said.
Bingman added one such thing that is not talked about much are the Community Transformation Grants, which allot money to every state and is administered through the Center for Disease Control, given to organizations moving to improve the quality of care and services to lower income communities.
“It’s based on what the community says they need,” Bingman added. “We have the opportunity to influence that.”
Bingman emphasized that, while many changes are about to happen - and she hopes for the better of individuals like the extension of insurance coverage for young people until their 26th birthday, free preventive care for high risk groups, or better dental care – the community must realize this is the time to continue discourse on what health care issues are the most important and need to be addressed.
Bingman encouraged everyone to share their own personal stories, take action, or become educated about ongoing health care changes through their web site www.ohioconsumersforhealth.org
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