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Logue: Details of Obamacare still murky
Much remains unknown about the federal Affordable Care Act that begins Jan. 1, people packed into a town hall forum Friday in Yuba City heard.
"We're talking the federal government here," said Assemblyman Dan Logue. "Everybody's going to have health coverage. But is everybody going to get health care?"
"The people in California really have no idea what we're headed," he said.
Logue, R-Loma Rica, and the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce hosted the informational hearing held in the Yuba City City Council chambers and attracting an overflow crowd to discuss the measure Congress passed in 2011.
David Panush, director of government relations for the California Health Benefit Exchange that will provide health care plans, was among the four-member panel of speakers.
"No one has done what we're about to do," Panush said. "We're not going to get it right the first time."
He said the exchange gets calls daily asking when California residents can buy coverage under the new federal care act. Panush said he has tell people to wait until January.
Ken DeVore, legislative director of the National Federation of Independent Business, California, said the 1,000 pages of original care act legislation nearly tripled with amendments and regulations for the measure cover 13,000 pages.
"It's going to be very tough on business — particularly small business," DeVore said of the new federal law.
He noted the challenges understanding the fluid federal measure.
"The rules — who does what — keep changing all the time," DeVore said. "I liken it to baiting a hook with an active worm."
Dr. Richard Thorp of Butte County, president elect of the California Medical Association and a member of the panel, said the federal law is a health insurance reform measure — not a reform of health care.
The federal law will add more than 5 million people in the state to health insurance coverage when the workforce of physicians is aging and more doctors are needed, he said.
"You don't have to do the math too hard to figure out that they're some problems," Thorp said.
He called the new federal law probably the biggest change in the way health care is delivered since Medicare began in the 1960s.
Dr. Herbert Gladen, a surgeon in Colusa, spoke from the audience and said 22 percent of doctors in California were trained in another country.
"We're looting the world" for doctors, Gladen said.