Traweek Column: A healthy dose of reality

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

Health care has meant big business in the United States, considering profit in illness has steered the health insurance industry

for decades.

But political motives coupled with the

mounting national debt have put the original intent of reform,

affordability and accessibility

to health care, on the back burner.

Now, access to health care has been opened to thousands who were once shunned because of pre-existing conditions. And to help

with the confusion the change has brought, Southwest Louisiana will play a vital role for the whole state.

When the health insurance marketplace enrollment opened in October, the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

was awarded a $1.1 million federal grant to fund “navigators” to help educate the uninsured across Louisiana.

The award was part of $67 million in grants, which were given to 105 groups nationwide. Four Louisiana organizations split

$1.8 million in grants — with the Southwest Louisiana AHEC getting the largest amount to lead the efforts.

And with nearly 400,000 uninsured and under-insured Louisianians, the goal of the navigators will be to raise awareness and

provide education, said director Brian Burton.

“As they are entering the marketplace for the first time and trying to figure out their options, our navigators will be a

resource for them to answer questions and to help them pick the insurance plan that best works for them,” Burton has said.

“Our goal is to get out there and help people make the most informed decision that they can make with information that is

not based on rumors, fear or propaganda.”

Burton said the exchange will give those eligible “better control” and “more choices,” without having to worry about any “hidden


Glitches on the website have plagued its launch for weeks. But on Sunday, the Associated Press reported that 476,000 health insurance applications were filed through the federal and state exchanges.

Nonetheless, millions of Americans continue to be against Obamacare for various reasons, while others adamantly support it.

Ever since D.C. changed its name to

ATM, the national deficit has skyrocketed to infinity and beyond with or

without health

reform. When Lady Liberty laid down her torch, picked up a plunger

and unclogged an economic backup with a bailout for an

industry with a tummy-ache, capitalism as we knew it, was flushed

down a big ‘ole industrial-sized toilet. Regardless, whether

or not you think Obamacare smells a little too much like

socialism, wake up and take a big whiff. Because after years of swirling

debate and biased interpretations of the facts, one thing is

clear: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is law.

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Lance Traweek serves as business reporter at American Press. Contact him at 494-4082 or