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Clubs and meetings (Nov. 23, 2014) -11/23/2014, 3:11 PM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 23, 2014) -11/23/2014, 3:11 PM

Local Knights of Columbus announce essay winners -11/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Grocery collection for ECMA on Saturday -11/21/2014, 8:56 AM

Feast on these holiday savings this season -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

Birthdays (Nov. 20, 2014) -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

HPMH partners with counties for outreach -11/19/2014, 3:49 PM

Kansas Next Step announces honors -11/19/2014, 2:09 PM

Senior volunteers honored for years of service to communities -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

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'Big Hero 6' is slightly under-inflated -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

KHP gives tips for safe Thanksgiving travel -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Latest donations move FHSU closer to goal -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

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Great American Smokeout is Thursday -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

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Moran receives Legislator of Year Award from home care association -11/17/2014, 11:26 AM

Hammond named to fraternity commission -11/17/2014, 9:45 AM

No stepfamily is immune to holiday stress -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Community Bulletin Board (Nov. 17, 2014) -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Get the most from grazing crop residue -11/16/2014, 5:35 PM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 16, 2014) -11/16/2014, 12:52 PM

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God and Ebola -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

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10 tips for stress-free Thanksgiving cooking, planning -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

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Time for film's encore, German cooking at library -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 9, 2014) -11/9/2014, 4:30 PM

Westview hosting youth lock-in -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

A prayer that stands the test of time still holds true today -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

Extension program gives tech tips for parents -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Birthdays -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Foreigners must report land holdings -11/5/2014, 3:39 PM

Jana's Campaign fundraiser nets $33,000 -11/5/2014, 10:29 AM

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Email issues resolved -11/4/2014, 11:43 AM

Gloria's birthday present, followed by barbecue pizza -11/4/2014, 8:41 AM

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Taking care in providing proper animal health -11/2/2014, 8:31 AM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 2, 2014) -11/2/2014, 11:10 AM

After 5 gathering Nov. 10 in Hays -10/31/2014, 7:50 AM

Time for trick or treating -10/31/2014, 7:49 AM

Gella's to show Turning Points film encore -10/30/2014, 1:53 PM

State's Cold Weather Rule takes effect Saturday -10/29/2014, 9:33 AM

'John Wick' is efficient excitement for flick -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Serving up homemade cinnamon rolls -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Hansen Foundation awards grant to HaysMed Foundation -10/27/2014, 10:20 AM

HaysMed's cardiovascular-stroke team earns award -10/27/2014, 10:11 AM

Signs of suicide in teens should be dealt with quickly -10/27/2014, 8:58 AM

c_ -10/26/2014, 5:57 PM

Rosary rally takes place in Liebenthal -10/24/2014, 8:37 AM

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Living by the law of love in today's society -10/24/2014, 8:37 AM

Dominican Sisters host annual mission benefit bazaar -10/24/2014, 8:37 AM

'The Ogallala Road' author to speak at FHSU -10/23/2014, 9:40 AM

Industry support leads to welding awards for NCK Tech -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

Birthday -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

Natoma group elects new officers -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

Tricks to making jams and jellies for holiday giving -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

'Fury' is visceral and slightly shapeless -10/22/2014, 10:20 AM

Singing, making cheese and doing laundry all part of chores -10/21/2014, 8:51 AM

Parenting adolescents no easy chore for parents -10/20/2014, 9:47 AM

Breaking down using distillers grains on the ranch -10/19/2014, 1:12 PM

Business Briefcase (Oct. 19, 2014) -10/19/2014, 1:12 PM

Clubs and meetings (Oct. 19, 2014) -10/19/2014, 2:24 PM

2014 Kansas Speaks Survey finds wide dissatisfaction with politics -10/17/2014, 3:54 PM

Stamper memorial scholarship awarded at KSU -10/17/2014, 2:24 PM

Adding Christ's love to everyday situations wards off harm -10/17/2014, 9:14 AM

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Finding out you're technologically challenged -10/15/2014, 8:51 AM

Phillipsburg couple part of new Beach museum exhibit -10/15/2014, 4:25 PM

Medicare open enrollment begins Wednesday -10/14/2014, 3:21 PM

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'The Judge' bends and breaks -10/14/2014, 8:16 AM

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Mother-daughter relationships can be difficult -10/13/2014, 9:04 AM

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History, known management available in SunSup -10/12/2014, 11:33 AM

Clubs and meetings (Oct. 12, 2014) -10/12/2014, 11:33 AM

Let go of unhappiness -10/10/2014, 8:12 AM

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'Gone Girl' jump starts end-of-the-year cinema -10/7/2014, 10:04 AM

Amish PTA and fried rice -10/7/2014, 8:16 AM

Palco native Romine to retire from KSHSAA -10/6/2014, 2:30 PM

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Clubs and meetings (Oct. 5, 2014) -10/5/2014, 2:51 PM

Business Briefcase (Oct. 5, 2014) -10/5/2014, 2:51 PM

BVD testing could pay off big for farmers and ranchers -10/5/2014, 2:42 PM

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Hays After 5 meeting Oct. 13 -10/3/2014, 8:49 AM

Ellis County FSA with limited staff this week -10/2/2014, 1:56 PM

Holiday instant scratch tickets now on sale -10/2/2014, 9:44 AM

Former Obama press secretary launches Sebelius Lecture Series -10/1/2014, 2:18 PM

Photographs of rural life in China on exhibit in FHSU's Memorial Union -10/1/2014, 10:32 AM

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SPOTLIGHT
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Extension launches health care education program

Published on -7/11/2013, 9:42 AM

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Sweeping changes in America's health care system begin to take effect in October, which means Roberta Riportella expects to be very, very busy the next several months.

Riportella, the new Kansas Health Foundation professor of community health at Kansas State University, is heading up Extension efforts to help Kansans learn more about how the Affordable Care Act -- often called "Obamacare" -- will affect them once the law goes into effect Jan. 1.

"I very much want people to know that I'm not saying 'Obamacare' is the best or the worst plan for health care reform; it just 'is,' " Riportella said. "It's the law of the land, and I am here to make sure that people understand what they need to know about it."

In addition, she will train K-State Research and Extension agents and staff throughout Kansas so they can help.

"I think when people start to hear what really is in the Affordable Care Act, they may begin to feel more comfortable with it," she said.

In Kansas, it stands to most directly affect more than 365,000 people who are currently without health insurance, many of whom now will be required to purchase insurance from private providers authorized through a "marketplace exchange."

Kansans will begin making those choices when open enrollment begins Oct. 1.

The marketplace exchange system is intended to make insurance more affordable for those without health coverage. Consumers will have a choice of private plans, and qualifying individuals and families are eligible for tax credits.

Riportella added the Affordable Care Act makes it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition like asthma or diabetes (on Jan. 1, this applies to adults, too), put a lifetime limit on how much care they will pay for if you get sick, or cancel your coverage when you get sick by finding a mistake on your paperwork.

Thus far, three companies -- Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas, Coventry and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas City -- are approved to provide ACA coverage for Kansans. Those same companies provide insurance at many larger Kansas companies, and many of the benefits they offer in those plans now will be available to all citizens.

In educating more people about the law, Riportella is being careful not to position herself or K-State Research and Extension as being in favor of or opposed to Obamacare.

"What I'm an advocate for is good, quality, affordable health care," she said. "I or others may have chosen to design the changes differently, but the ACA is the law we've got. I do believe the Affordable Care Act will help to insure more Americans, and that can be a positive thing."

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, visit the Ellis County Fair, which begins Saturday, where educational resources developed by Riportella will be on display for the public. The display will include several informational posters and a set of six handouts with more information about the Affordable Care Act. The display will be in the Schenk Building at the Ellis County Fairgrounds from 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through July 19. More information also will be available at the Ellis County Extension office after the fair at 601 Main Street, Ste. A, Hays.

Linda Beech is a Kansas State University Research & Extension agent in Ellis County specializing in family and consumer sciences. lbeech@ksu.edu

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