Chamber looks at Affordable Care Act

Jul 20th, 2013

Intricacies of ‘Obamacare’ explained at luncheon

To raise awareness about the Affordable Care Act – commonly called “Obamacare” – the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce is hosting an Affordable Care Act Briefing Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, at Ramada Palms de Las Cruces, 201 E. University Ave.

The briefing luncheon will feature Dr. Martin Hickey, CEO of New Mexico Health Connections. New Mexico Health Connections is the state’s new nonprofit, consumer-oriented and operated health plan, focused on serving individuals and small businesses. New Mexico Health Connections is chartered by the Affordable Care Act to provide a nonprofit competitive health plan alternative in the New Mexico marketplace.

“The Affordable Care Act is already working,” Hickey said. “Rates being posted in New Mexico and other states demon­strate that open competition is resulting in lower rates than are currently avail­able. Massachusetts, the blueprint for the ‘Romney/Obamacare,’ has reduced rates by 12 percent over the past two years and is projected to reduce them another 5 percent next year. Not only will rates decrease, there will be a progressive, transparent improve­ment in quality of care as well.”

Jose “Abe” Howard-Gonzalez, from Kemp Smith Attorneys-at-Law, will also speak. Howard-Gonzalez is an associate in the firm’s labor and employment department, focusing his practice on all aspects of employment law, including defending discrimination and re­taliationclaims and wage and hour disputes. He represents employers in federal and state courts in Texas and New Mexico.

“The Affordable Care Act is an all-en­compassing law that affects nearly everyone, including business of all sizes. All employers need to know the main areas of the law, how it applies, and when it applies because, even though the law was passed in 2010, regu­lations will continue to come out for many years to come. Businesses need to be pre­pared to deal with the current rules and the future rules,” Howard-Gonzalez said.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The ACA is aimed at increasing the rate of health insurance cov­erage for Americans and reducing the over­all costs of health care. It provides a num­ber of mechanisms – including mandates, subsidies and tax credits – to employers and individuals to increase the coverage rate. Additional reforms aim to improve health care outcomes and streamline the delivery of health care.

The mission of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce is to provide valu­able services for our members, enhance and sustain the economy, promote the commu­nity and serve as the leading voice and pub­lic policy advocate for business in the greater Las Cruces region.

The Chamber is constantly looking foropportunities to help businesses, and health care has become a roadblock for many in this area. The Chamber’s discount prescription drug card program was recently launched as a member benefit to help businesses and, in particular, small and minority businesses,cope with the rising cost and uncertainty created by the PPACA.

For more information, contact Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Bill Allen at 524-1968.