UW faculty, staff and students are invited to attend a panel discussion on the “Affordable Care Act: How You Can Make a Difference,” from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 29, in Hogness Auditorium at the UW Health Sciences Center.
Hosted by the UW’s six health sciences schools, the program will examine the Affordable Care Act’s impact on individual and public health. It also will cover local outreach efforts geared to those eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage or insurance offered through the Washington Health Benefits Exchange.
“We are focusing our efforts on how individuals can help make a difference during this time of reform,” said Dr. Mark Oberle, UW associate dean for research in the School of Public Health and professor of health services, epidemiology and global health. “We are encouraging people to reach out to friends, family and patients to make sure they know that coverage is available.”
Dr. Howard Frumkin, dean of the School of Public Health, will provide a historical perspective of the Affordable Care Act and will discuss how the new mandate will affect the health of the public. Joining Frumkin are attorney Sallie Sanford, UW assistant professor of law and adjunct assistant professor of health services, and Dr. Patrick O’Carroll, U.S. assistant surgeon general and regional health administrator for Region X.
“Sanford will summarize the basics of the law and provide an overview on coverage that will be available,” said Oberle. “O’Carroll will discuss how the law will affect clinical practice and the opportunities he sees for disease prevention.”
Representatives from the Washington Health Insurance Marketplace and Public Health-Seattle & King County will talk about outreach efforts so far, as well as those expected in the future.
“Washington is one of only 14 states that created its own health insurance exchange,” said Inderpal Virk, a physician who is a UW student in the Masters of Public Health degree program. He is doing his practicum with Public Health-Seattle & King County. “To date, we have been one of the most successful. Although we are moving in the right direction, we need everyone to be part of the effort so that we do not skew enrollment to an older, sicker population.”
Of particular concern are young adults who, after age 26, are no longer eligible for their parents’ coverage. Reaching the ‘young invincibles’ has been a particular challenge for the Washington Health Benefits Exchange. “In order for the system to work, we need those healthy young individuals to be part of the pool,” said Virk. “As part of our panel discussion, we will have UW students on hand to talk about their special concerns as it relates to health-care coverage.”
“This is an exciting time in our country,” Virk said. “It will take all of us working together to create healthy individuals and a healthier community.”