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WHAT WE THINK: Health-care reform needs your attention

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Accept the responsibility of seeking information about health-care reform from sources that you can trust.

The Affordable Care Act – love it, hate it or don’t know much about it – will become part of our world and our lives next month.

The adoption of national health-care reform, an effort to provide medical insurance to Americans who can’t afford it or don’t have access to it and to ensure that coverage is not denied to others because of age or pre-existing conditions, is not embraced by everyone, we understand.

For business, personal, financial and political reasons, this law so many of us requested never has been fully embraced by everyone. We understand that rhetoric often replaces reason when it comes to such matters.

And, we agree, there are a lot of unknowns and fearsome statements about this law and what it may mean.

But the bottom line is this: Barring a last-second change in Washington, the first phases of this reform will be upon us in October.

To us that appears daunting because we’re not sure everyone understands the law, what it means and how it might apply to us.

That seemed to be the case last week, when the Shelby County Retired Teachers Association invited Shelby County native Kerri Richardson, a spokesperson for Gov. Steve Beshear, to town to discuss how the state’s expansion of Medicaid and its new health-care exchange will work.

Whether you oppose these aspects of the rollout or not, this dialogue is a beneficial concept. Ms. Richardson, although politically aligned, certainly is in position to understand the concept of how this plan will work in Kentucky.

That Stratton Center was crammed with people of many walks of life – not simply retired teachers – speaks to the hunger for information, and you are about to be overwhelmed with more of it. By all accounts, the discussion was full and the interaction lively.

Each of us has a unique relationship to the Affordable Care Act, and we each need to understand that relationship, such as whether we will receive insurance coverage for the first time, can get better coverage than we currently purchase privately, can receive treatment previously denied or will feel the changes brought forward by insurance companies and employers.

We encourage you to seek out information and try to understand these changes. Don’t be passive. Read, listen and discuss your concerns about this. Ensure that you have the right information and the right sources of information.

Too often, political bombast tends to drown out the most meaningful words. We encourage you to seek trusted sources and not partisan sources to find your information. Ask your physician, your employer or a family member who may have a better understanding to help you find answers to your questions.

Each of us in the media has a responsibility to deliver to you the best unfiltered information we can find, to talk to those who are implementing this new system and to ensure that the process you will face is explained clearly and understandably.

And we encourage you to pursue that information with an open mind, to see how this might benefit you and not assume that it will harm you. Let’s see how it works.

We don’t know if the Affordable Care Act ultimately will accomplish all that it has promised to deliver, which in foundation is much-needed medical coverage to more of our friends, neighbors and coworkers – and job growth in the medical field.

We do know that this process is about to get under way, and, like many things that frighten us, it’s better to absorb every bit of knowledge that we can and not to run from it.