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Forum aims to make sense of ‘ObamaCare’

May 29, 2013
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Staff writer , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Residents of the Tri-State Area will have a chance to better understand what "ObamaCare" is all about when the GFWC/OFWC Woman's Club of Steubenville stages an open forum at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

The event to discuss the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be held in lecture halls 2100 and 2102 at Eastern Gateway Community College.

"The forum is free to all who have an interest in learning what is in the bill, what it includes and how it will affect each of us going forward," said Donna Keagler, moderator and event committee member, along with club president Kathy Mills, Marge Bedortha, Judy Brancazio, Eileen Krupinski and Shirley Valuska.

Article Photos

PLANNING FORUM — The GFWC/OFWC Woman’s Club of Steubenville hopes to generate questions from Tri-State Area resident when it holds an open forum for the public to learn about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “ObamaCare,” beginning at 1:30 p.m. Monday in Eastern Gateway Community Center’s lecture halls 2100 and 2102. Making plans for the informational, free, nonpartisan event are club members and committee leaders, front, from left, Eleanor Weiss, moderator Donna Keagler, club President Kathy Mills and Marge Bedortha; and back, Judy Brancazio and Eileen Krupinski. Shirley Valuska also serves on the committee. - Janice Kiaski

With representatives from federal, state and local governments presenting the issues, accountants, business owners/employers, pharmaceuticals, insurance and religious leaders will form a panel for discussion and questions.

At a wrap-up planning meeting recently, event details were ironed out to include opening remarks by Mills, then Keagler explaining the structure of the informational-only forum, which is nonpartisan and not a debate.

It will involve a 40-minute Power Point presentation by Sarah Poulin, a field representative from the office of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, specializing in health, Social Security and Medicare.

Members of the panel will be introduced and each given a minute to summarize their area of expertise.

In addition to Poulin, panel participants will include:

Jackie Stewart, district director, Johnson's office.

J.J. Bernabei, owner, Tri-State Pharmacy.

Steve Bolger, owner/administrator, Bolger Country Club Manor, Catherine Care Center.

Tom Graham, Jefferson County commissioner and county insurance administrator, Jefferson County Courthouse.

Bill Hannen, retired, international sales executive, Weirton Steel.

Mike Hernon, vice president of advancement, Franciscan University of Steubenville.

David LaRue, elder care attorney.

Al Macre, accountant.

Kathy Maguschak, representing McBane Insurance.

Shane Thompson, independent business owner.

Jeanne Wilson, Senior Appalachian regional representative office of Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Ann Quillen, director of the Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Center.

Questions written on index cards by audience members will be collected and directed to the appropriate panelist.

A musical selection by Tom Graham will open and close the forum.

Keagler said the club wants to run the forum efficiently and in a timely fashion. "We don't want to run this thing into the ground," she said. "It is only informational, it's not a debate. We will not entertain any kind of political rhetoric. This is a nonpartisan presentation. It's totally understood that the bill is the bill, and we're just trying to understand it," Keagler said.

"It might be of interest to know that we are told that the bill and the addendums just keep going on, and currently if you were to pile everything on top of each other, the entire issue is over 6 feet tall, so trying to understand this from the very beginning it was very convoluted," Keagler said.

To become acquainted with the bill, committee members each took sections of it to read, quickly discovering the Herculean task that it was.

"We thought we were intelligent until we started reading this," remarked Bedortha, the club's corresponding secretary. "When this was first getting off the ground, we each took home approximately 100-page sections of the bill. Everybody on the committee read his part, and we came back to discuss our findings and no one was able to comprehend what they had read, and basically we think we're somewhat intelligent individuals but we couldn't comprehend it because of the legalese," Bedortha said.

Event planners agree it's fitting for the woman's club to take the lead in organizing such an event and raising consciousness about such as a wide-ranging issue as woman's clubs historically have been in the forefront of social issues - from establishing libraries and playing a part in the passage of women's right to vote to raising funds for worthy causes and playing a part in passing the Violence Against Women Act and the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act.

"I think it's important for the community as a whole, and really more than just the community, it's the Tri-State Area that we're trying to reach," said Kathy Mills, the club's president. "We'd like to get information - important information - for people to make decisions on their health care," she said.

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