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Forum covers Medicare, Social Security & Affordable Care ActSubmitted: 08/30/2013
Story By Adam Fox

Forum covers Medicare, Social Security & Affordable Care Act
RHINELANDER - October will be a big month for the Affordable Care Act.

If you don't have insurance, that's when federal exchange plans will be available.

But many Wisconsinites still have questions on how the program will affect them.

That's why seniors met in Rhinelander Friday.The Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans hosted the forum. Billy Feitlinger, executive director of the alliance, discussed Medicare, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act.

His group supports the healthcare reform because it will keep Medicare in the green for an additional nine years.

But some like Gloria Oberneder know people who feel lost in the system.

"Most people who become seniors and are on that low income, if they are not on Medicaid and they do make a little more money, they are always searching for answers for different things and they are confused,"Oberneder said.

Another concern was rising policy cost. A new Rand Corporation study says the reform won't have widespread cost increases for policies.

But experts like Robert Laszewski of the Health Policy & Strategy Associates projected an increase in Wisconsin at a June summit in Wausau.

"Wisconsin is one of the states projected to have the biggest increases," Laszewski said. "That's because the the affordable care act sets very high standards for what package of insurance looks like."

The forum also focused heavily on Social Security. That's because Congress is preparing for another fight over spending cuts and the debt ceiling, and Billy Feitlinger worries Social Security could be targeted.

"There should be some reform to Social Security, but it should not be in the context of the federal deficit or debt ceiling because Social Security hasn't contributed one penny to the federal deficit."

That's because funding for Social Security has always been automatically taken out of our paychecks. But more Baby Boomers are entering the program, and under current obligations the $2.7 trillion fund will run dry by 2033.





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 IN OTHER NEWS

MINOCQUA - Some people in Minocqua noticed their water had a brown tint on Friday. The Lakeland Sanitary District says the water is clean and safe.

Crews were running fire hydrants to fix a water main. A well unexpectedly started and mixed iron into the water which left a brownish color. 

A superintendent from the sanitary district says water is now clear but If you do see color in your water run the cold faucet for a few seconds. 

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TOMAHAWK - Young aspiring writers got the chance to meet two authors over the weekend, and get some feedback from them. The Headwaters Reading Council held a Young Authors Festival at Tomahawk Elementary.

About 30 kids participated in the event. Each author held presentations on their books and explained the process of getting them published.

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RHINELANDER - All That Glitters opened for the first time this weekend in Rhinelander.
The store gives customers a chance to experience another culture.
Melody Majcherek decided to open the store after developing a love for henna and practicing at art fairs.
She said it took her two months to transform the store into a unique outlet.
"I wanted to create a space where people can walk in and feel like they have traveled to a different place and oasis. I think I accomplished that," said Majcherek.
People can buy henna tattoos products and other trinkets.
She incorporated cultures from India and Morocco by buying fabrics and products from there.
"Very unique with the different cultures. It's interesting, something different in Rhinelander. Something you don't see all the time," said shopper Chris Albrent.
The store is open Tuesdays through Sundays and is on Kemp Street.

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RHINELANDER - A sustainability fair in Rhinelander connects people who want to keep the earth clean and healthy.
Organizers celebrated Earth Day by teaching people how they can accomplish that.
Abby Meyer came up from Green Bay for her first Sustainability Fair in Rhinelander Sunday. She sells all natural skin care products.

"It's the future of being able to have a planet, such great energy here," said Meyer.
Meyer and 42 other exhibitors feel energized to protect the earth.
"It's kind of interesting what other people do and the good they're doing for other people," said maple syrup vendor Leroy Schmieder.

Schmieder said being around people with the same mission is encouraging.
"It's kind of a community thing, you learn what everybody else is doing," said Schmieder.
Fair organizer Ann Eshelman said the fair teaches the community, but also brings people with a message together.
"They're providing something that we as a group think is valuable, they're kinda isolated," said Eshelman.
When the fair started eight years ago organizers wanted to end that isolation. Bringing vendors together to share their message, make connections, and walk away with new information.
"Giving each other jobs and work and supporting each other," said Meyer.

Eshelman believes that support is what the community needs to help move in the right direction.
"[It] can enable even ordinary Northwoods residents to do something for the earth," said Eshelman.
It can also show them that helping the environment starts at home.
"An important part of sustainability is helping out your community," said Meyer.

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MADISON (AP) - A former driver for House Speaker Paul Ryan who has been active in Wisconsin Republican politics for years is running to succeed Ryan in Congress.

Bryan Steil is an attorney from Ryan's hometown of Janesville and a member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. He becomes the likely Republican front-runner after the field of better-known potential candidates cleared for his entry.

Steil entered the race Sunday less than two weeks after Ryan said he would not seek re-election. Ryan said Friday he has no immediate plans to endorse in the primary.

Steil has been a regent since 2016 and also works as general counsel and secretary at a company that makes packaging for food and other consumer products.

Union iron worker Randy Bryce and Janesville teacher Cathy Myers are running as Democrats.


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TOMAH (AP) - A veterans affairs hospital in Wisconsin is using nontraditional therapies for pain and mental health as officials continue to address problems with over-prescribing medication at the facility.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the Tomah VA Medical Center is one of 18 veterans hospitals across the country launching the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Whole Health program.

Whole Health coaches help VA patients set personal health and wellness goals, address chronic pain, prevent illness or injury and treat mental health needs. The program also uses alternative therapies like tai chi, acupuncture and Healing Touch, which focuses on restoring a person's energy field.

The initiative comes four years after a veteran died at the facility from a mixture of prescribed drugs. Federal investigations found that some staff were over-prescribing drugs.

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RHINELANDER - A Northwoods radio station did something special to celebrate World Record Store Day. WXPR Public Radio created a pop-up record store in Rhinelander.

The temporary store was created inside Art Start and ran from 12 p.m. to four p.m. on Saturday. Organizers say listeners donated about 4,000 vinyl records and 2,000 CD's for the pop-up shop.

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