WASHINGTON, D.C. — Local resident Gregg Turner, chief executive officer for the Lions Clubs of South Carolina and a member of the Newberry Lions Club, attended an event at the White House, on Tuesday, Oct. 2, in Washington, D.C. that recognized the Lions organization as Champions of Change because of their nearly 100 years of volunteer service in their communities.
Lions and community leaders also participated in meetings and panel discussions on health care and the Affordable Care Act. Turner was selected to represent the Lions by serving as moderator and leading the panel discussions.
“Visiting the White House and leading panel discussions was very exciting,” said Turner “and this experience was a great opportunity for us, as Lions members, to gather with government officials to share information, ideas and concerns with how the changes to healthcare are affecting our citizens and the non-profit groups that are attempting to assist those without health insurance.”
This day-long event, co-hosted by the White House and Lions Clubs International, included an in-depth briefing session on issues pertaining to community service between Lions and key government agency officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Education and others.
Turner moderated the healthcare briefing sessions. He has been deeply involved in government affairs and the impact the Affordable Care Act is having on the non-profit community. During the discussions, Turner pointed out the positive features of the Affordable Care Act, such as young adults being able to remain on their parent’s coverage till age 25 and the ability for individuals to obtain insurance regardless of preexisting conditions. However, he pointed to concerns of the Act and the effects it is having on the non-profit community.
Those concerns included reductions in reimbursement amounts for both Medicare and Medicaid to medical providers, which are causing more physicians not to accept new patients. Also as a result of reduced reimbursements, more physicians are now requiring patients to pay for all insurance co-payments before they are treated, especially for surgical procedures that is non-life threatening. The Lions and other non-profits who provide health care assistance are being called on assist with those costs. Turner pointed out that the non-profit community cannot meet the growing demand for this shortfall. He urged government officials to help find a way to bridge this gap.
“If we don’t make changes to the Affordable Care Act, find a way to reduce co-payments, or allow patients to create a payment schedule for these services, we will have an insured Nation that still get critically needed health care,” Turner said. He and the Lions also encouraged the government to provide more grant funding to non-profit organizations due to their ability to provide services more efficiently than most government agencies.
The day also included panel discussions with the 11 men and women Lions who were selected to represent the 1.35 million Lions members worldwide as Champions of Change.
Those who were unable to attend the event were able to watch the proceedings as they were streamed live on the White House website.
The Newberry Lions Club meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at the Dave Waldrop Center at 7 p.m. If you are interested in serving your neighbors in need, the welcomes new members.