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Editorial: Attend meeting to discuss health care ideas

Everyone can agree that the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, is far from perfect. But as the Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress seem poised to make significant changes to the health care law, if not repeal it outright, many people, including some Carroll County residents could be negatively affected.

For example, revoking consumer protections included in the ACA like a ban on capping the lifetime amount insurers will pay, a ban on denying coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and a rule that allows children to stay on their parents' insurance longer, could have tremendous impacts on our most critically ill residents and adult children who may be struggling to find work with employer-paid benefits.

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These, and other concerns, are expected to be among the topics discussed Thursday, March 2, at a town hall meeting from 6-8 p.m. at St. Paul's United Church of Christ Fellowship Hall on Bond Street in Westminster. If you find yourself with questions about the Affordable Care Act and how changes may affect you or your family, and want to have productive conversations about how to move forward, we highly encourage your attendance.

Carroll Community Action Network, or Carroll CAN, is a relatively young activist group that is organizing the meeting. While the group of 1,000 strong admittedly has more progressive political leanings, it has invited all of Carroll County's elected representatives — mostly Republicans — to attend the meeting.

While some will be unable to attend because the Maryland General Assembly and U.S. Congress are in session, we are hopeful that most will be able to at least send a representative to talk to Carroll residents, and that perhaps some of our county commissioners will also attend to hear from their constituents.

A panel discussion that includes local health officials, a former Maryland Health Connection navigator and a former Carroll doctor who is a member of the Maryland Health Care is a Human Right campaign and has been a staunch critic of Obamacare should make for lively and informative discussion on the topic.

Ed Singer, the director of the Carroll County Health Department and one of the panelists, said it best when he told us that a real discussion about whether there is a better solution to providing health care is in everybody's interest.

Unfortunately, much of that conversation has been stifled by political rhetoric on the left and the right, and an unwillingness to budge on either side.

Perhaps we're being a bit sanguine, but we're hopeful that Thursday's discussion will be enlightening to local officials or their representatives who choose to attend and can help us work toward a better way to providing health care for everyone.



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