If you want to know more about the future of health care legislation, then come to the Corpening Memorial YMCA Wednesday evening to get some answers and make your voice heard.

A “Community Conversation” about the future of health care and the Affordable Care Act, which some have called Obamacare, is set for Wednesday, July 19 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Corpening Memorial YMCA in Marion.

The AARP of western North Carolina is holding a series of meetings this week in the region about the future of health care legislation in the United States. The meetings are scheduled to be held in Black Mountain (Monday), Asheville (Tuesday) and Marion and Franklin (both Wednesday).

The meetings will focus on how proposed health care legislation could affect you and your family, said Lonnie Bewernitz of Old Fort, who is an AARP volunteer in McDowell.

Bewernitz is one of those residents of McDowell County concerned about the ongoing efforts by President Trump and other leaders in Congress to repeal the ACA and replace it with something else.

“We are trying to let people know what kind of coverage they get under the Affordable Care Act,” he said to The McDowell News. “They want to know who’s going to lose what. They get all kinds of information and don’t know what to believe. There’s a lot of good information.”

Rebecca Chaplin, western North Carolina region assistant director for AARP, will plan and conduct this informational meeting. A volunteer from Buncombe County will also speak.

Bewernitz said AARP is not a Republican or Democratic organization but is trying to give people the facts they need.

“As an AARP volunteer, we are mandated to uphold AARP's non-partisan policy,” he said. “They provide information according to what will be best for their members (people age 40+), without regard for which party has made whatever proposal. My observation is that while there is broad agreement that the Affordable Care Act has issues that need to be addressed, the proposed legislation will leave many of those unanswered and create some serious havoc if it is implemented.”

For example, the Congressional Budget Office reports that 22 million American will lose their health care coverage as a result of the bill that is being considered to replace the ACA. It could send premiums skyrocketing and reduce the tax credits used by low income people to be able to afford health care insurance. It could also weaken Medicare by eliminating essential benefits provided by the ACA, according to information from Bewernitz.

As of 2015, McDowell County had 10,513 Medicare beneficiaries with Parts A and B. Their average age was 69 they were 54 percent female and 46 percent male.

In 2016, McDowell had 12,306 Medicaid recipients.

Even though Wednesday’s event is held by AARP, Bewernitz added it is open to people of all ages.

“Changes to the federal health care law could impact your health and cost you more,” reads a flier for the event. “Learn about the proposed changes to the health care law, their impact on health plans including Medicare and Medicaid, and most importantly the health of you and your family.”

Light healthy food and beverages will be provided.

The Tuesday session in Asheville will feature a panel presentation with AARP, state health insurance information program counselors, physicians and Pisgah Legal Service representatives for a “Community Conversation” about the future of your health care.

A similar meeting was held in Marion earlier this year. At the April meeting, 17 showed up, according to Bewernitz.

For more information or to register for this event, contact AARP volunteer Lonnie Bewernitz at 828-668-9660 or email lonniebewernitz@andwireless.net.