Chamber to examine Affordable Care Act during luncheon

Published on Monday, 29 July 2013 22:48 - Written by BY CASEY MURPHY cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

The Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a luncheon Aug. 12 to inform businesses and individuals about upcoming changes with the Affordable Care Act.

“We just want to provide facts as we know them right now,” Claude Henry said, adding that politics will not be a part of the informative event.

“Confused About the Affordable Care Act? Why You Still Need to Prepare Now!” is set for 11:30 a.m. at The University of Texas at Tyler Ornelas Activity Center, 3402 Old Omen Road.

Henry, who serves as vice chairman of the Tyler Chamber’s Medical Committee and will serve as chairman next year, said there are so many significant changes coming with the implementation of the health care law they wanted to hold a luncheon to inform employers and individuals about them.

He said individuals should be preparing for changes in their health insurance and potential tax penalties that will go into effect Jan. 1, and even though the employer mandate has recently been extended to 2015, businesses also should be preparing.

Prior to the extension, when the committee began planning the luncheon, Henry said they felt it was extremely important to inform employers of the upcoming changes. He said there is a lot of movement with the bill and additional changes could take place.

Anne Dunkelberg, associate director for the Center for Public Policy Priorities and a “budget and health care expert,” will be the guest speaker at the event.

Henry said they chose Ms. Dunkelberg because she is well-versed on the topic. She has spoken at a lot of different venues regarding the Affordable Care Act and provides an informative, balanced presentation, he said.

Ms. Dunkelberg joined the Center for Public Policy Priorities in 1994. She is one of the state’s leading experts in policy and budget issues relating to health care access, according to the center’s website, forabettertexas.org. In 2007, she was named Consumer Advocate of the Year by Families USA in Washington, D.C. She served as program director for Acute Care in the Texas Medicaid Director’s Office and spent six years with the Texas Research League, where she authored numerous reports on Texas health and human services issues and tracked state health and human services budget issues. She earned dual degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, a bachelor of arts and a master of public affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities was founded in 1985 by a Congregation of Benedictine Sisters in Boerne to improve health care access for the poor. Over the years, the center slowly grew in size and in scope. By the time it became an independent research organization in 1999, its focus had expanded to ensure not just health care, but good nutrition, jobs and education and protection for Texas children, the website states. The center focuses “solely on evaluating public policy as it affects low- and moderate-income Texans, and all of us. We neither support nor oppose any political party or candidate for office,” according to forabettertexas.org.

Tyler Chamber Chief Operating Officer Henry Bell said Monday 350 tickets will be sold to the event and 110 tickets had been sold so far.

Henry said he believes 200 to 225 people would be a good turnout.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by Aug. 9 athttp://acai13.eventbrite.com/ .