There was a capacity crowd at a town hall meeting to discuss a possible health exchange Tuesday evening in Evansville. Health Policy Adviser to the Governor Elizabeth Hoy said that Gov. Mead thinks the 2010 Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, however, the way it works, the feds will set up a system if the states don't, and the governor wants a Wyoming solution.

Our plan prevents a fed plan:

"However he did make the statement that we have to have a Wyoming solution for health care reform and believes very strongly that this is not an issue that we can ignore, it's an issue that we need to work on and move the ball forward. And one way to do that is understand the problems that people are facing, and look at what our alternatives might be to address them."

State Sen. Bill Landen echoed the governor's sentiments, saying that Wyoming has two big elephants that the Legislature is reluctant to deal with, I-80 and health care. And Sen. Landen said we don't want the feds to do this; we want to do it for ourselves.

Alycia Holmes of Public Consulting Group gave a presentation about what health benefit exchanges are, but also admitted that she included friendly looking graphics because it is a complicated subject. Ms. Holmes suggested thinking of a benefit exchange as a website where costs and benefits are shared.

There were also professionals from the area, such as Steve Loftin, Chairman of the Wyoming Business Coalition on Health, to discuss the headaches business owners have in figuring out insurance for employees.

Insurance labyrinth:

"EXPERT: ... coverage level, and afford a three star rating. I think you're mixing, mixing apples and oranges. LOFTIN: See how damn complicated this is? (laughter) And I'm the chairman. (laughter)"

Mr. Loftin is with 71 Construction. He said only 30 of their 85 employees have health insurance.

Obfuscatory cost-benefit:

"Well, anyway, (laughter) there will be a place to go and find out all these different parts of it, and I think that would be very important for me as a businessman to not have to spend weeks, I mean literally a week, to prepare for getting my health insurance quotes."

County Commissioners Bill McDowell, Terry Wingerter and Ed Opella were also in attendance, as well other officials and business leaders. Almost a dozen citizens made comments, including Attorney Ann Rochelle, Terry Bay, Dr. Jim Hoag, Stacy Hernandez and Insurance Agent Gail Knight, who characterized much of the health insurance problem as agents not truly advocating for their clients.


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