As the new health insurance exchange begins October 1, The Kansas Health Institute reported much of the Affordable Care Act will bypass Kansas. However, some are working to educate Kansans about how the new law applies to them.
Kansas State University Extension, the Health Reform Resource Project, consumer advocates, officials at the Kansas Insurance Department, and insurance companies have have an instructional role, but two people are working on the project full-time: Roberta Riportella and Sheldon Weisgrau.
Roberta Riportella, a professor of community health at K-State, said there's so much misunderstanding from all the "political noise" that people can't focus on what they need to know. Over the next few weeks, she'll be working to train the trainers, trying to reach out to those who want to be informed.
Sheldon Weisgrau, director of the Health Reform Resource Project in Topeka, said his job is even harder because of the continual and often inaccurate political rhetoric unleashed by the law's opponents, including talk-radio commentators. Weisgrau went on to say much of what people believe about the law is wrong. "It's information fed through the political shouting over the last three years that aren't true. This seems crazy, but I get questions all the time like: 'Are we going to have tracking chips implanted in our arms?' The well has been poisoned and we're working from behind."