Next week, Wyoming Department of Insurance Commissioner Tom Hirsig will be in Powell to discuss the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is officially known, and how it will impact the state, its residents and its businesses.
Today (Tuesday) is the first day U.S. citizens could sign up for health-care exchanges through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The title of Hirsig’s presentation, which he is delivering in four other communities across the state, is “Health Care Reform and What it Means to Individuals & Employers.”
The ACA presentation is set for 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the Powell Center for Training and Development on the Northwest College west campus, 1397 Fort Drum Drive.
In addition to the presentation at NWC, Hirsig will offer it in Worland from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, at the Worland Community Center Complex; in Lovell from 8-9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the Big Horn Federal Hospitality Room, in Jackson from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Teton County Library; and in Cody from 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at Park County Library’s Grizzly Hall.
Hirsig was named to the post in 2012 by Gov. Matt Mead after more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry. The rural Cheyenne native owned and operated an insurance firm that did business in Wyoming and Colorado before he took the state post.
Wyoming’s leaders have been hostile to the ACA, and have declined to set up a state exchange, forcing people who want to use the heath care law to shop on the federal site.
Shortly after he took office in 2011, Mead joined 31 other states in a national lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. The 2012 Legislature ordered all state agencies not to take any action on the ACA, as Republican politicians across the nation, and other opponents of the law hoped it would be overturned by the Supreme Court or, failing that, repealed or unfunded by Congress.
But the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in the summer of 2012, and despite GOP opposition in Congress, it remains the law of the land. That is why the commissioner is doing these presentations, according to the department’s website.
“Because the law impacts Wyoming citizens and employers, we believe it is our obligation to provide relevant factual information,” a posting on the site states. “The information is not intended to provide legal advice and it does not include all details found in the Act. Readers are encouraged to consult specific provisions of the Act and obtain advice from appropriate sources as referenced.”