ST. TAMMANYPARISH, La. -- A free forum will be held Wednesday to discuss the Patient Affordable Care Act.

The forum, co-sponsored by the St. Tammany Democratic Parish Executive Committee and the Louisiana Center for Health Equity, will be from 6-9 p.m. at the Abita Springs Town Hall, 22101 Level St.

Among the panelists will be David Hood who was state Secretary of Health and Hospitals from 1993 until 2004. He is credited with many reforms in the delivery of health care services by the state including creation of the Louisiana Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP),

Also on the panel will be Michael Ricks, district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Sol Ross, director of private sector outreach for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Others on the panel are Mitch Maynard, regional director of the New Orleans and Houma areas for BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana; J.R. Pegus, chief executive officer of Coventry Health Care of Louisiana and Coventry Health and Life Insurance Co. for Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee; Alama Steward, founder and president of Louisiana Center for Health Equity; and Elizabeth Voss, health and benefits manager of MedCom Care, Care Advocates and Gilsbar Specialty Insurance Services.

The panelists will discuss a wide range of ramifications of the new legislation on business owners and employees and others, interpreting aspects of it already in place and profiling aspects that will be coming effective in coming months.

The forum will be in two parts with presentations by the panelists and then after a break, panel member responses to specific questions posed by those in attendance.

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