PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 19, 2013 – With more criticism than information swirling around the pending implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams urged residents of the 8th Senate District not to panic about negative statements and half truths. Instead, he told them to focus on opportunities – for themselves and their neighbors.

“Philadelphians, Pennsylvanians and people across the country need health care insurance and we need the Affordable Care Act,” Williams said during an information session he hosted last Thursday at Dixon House, a facility operated by Diversified Community Services.

Williams convened some 100 South Philadelphia civic and faith leaders to discuss the new law and how it will operate locally. DCS, a nonprofit, multipurpose human-service agency, provides comprehensive services to some 8,000 low- to moderate-income families in the Philadelphia area – many of whom would be eligible for the new health care plans.

People can begin to enroll in Affordable Care Act health care plans on Oct. 1. Implementation of those plans is scheduled to begin in January.

While Gov. Tom Corbett has refused to join dozens of other states in the expansion of the federal Medicaid program under ACA, many would still be able to secure health care insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace to meet needs and budgets, Williams said.

“With ACA, you will get to decide if you want a PPO (preferred provider organization) plan or POS (point of service). You can also opt for a high deductible plan if you are healthy or a catastrophic health plan if you just want a safety net,” he said. “Bottom line: you can get the coverage you and your family needs, and be able to breathe easier.”

Past and present state representatives for the area – Harold James and Jordan Harris – as well as City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson joined Williams at the information open house. The senator is one of the first state officials to host such an event; the first in a series he plans to hold across the district.

The Better Health Network and Chocolate City Hair Salon & Spa sponsored the information session.

A roundtable on the Affordable Care Act featured Jermaine Bromell from the Better Health Network; Melissa Herd, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Mary Harper, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services. A Q&A with attendees followed, helping to dispel myths and fortify truths.

Williams and the roundtable members pointed to HHS’s website,, as an excellent source of accurate information about ACA and said people should use it as they learn about this new opportunity for vital, affordable health insurance.

“People who are against anything President Obama says or proposes are quick to share misinformation or exaggerate the facts of the Affordable Care Act,” Williams said. “Make no mistake: they are politically motivated and just plain wrong.”

Williams said his next ACA information session will be Sept. 12 at Christian Compassion CDC. For details on the upcoming session or the Affordable Care Act, call his office at 215-492-2980.