While domestic violence victims may struggle for years finding the right words to relate what happened, medical insurance underwriters for years had no such descriptive problem. They just called it a pre-existing condition.

Up until 2010, insurers were legally entitled to consider domestic violence when vetting potential customers, and penalize potential customers by offering DV victims a policy with steep premiums or denying them coverage altogether. Under the Affordable Care Act, that is no longer allowed. So, why has the law invited so much controversy?

It’s more like a nontroversy as Barbara Schneider, an Affordable Care Act Public Education Committee presenter, sees it, the “controversy” founded almost solely on bad information from people with an ax to grind.

“The misinformation out there is mainly political,” Schneider said after leading an information seminar Saturday in Independence on the healthcare reform law.

Schneider and the public information group she belongs to have been active since “Obamacare” became law.

“And by the way that's not actually it's real name,” Schneider said Saturday to a roomful of attendees at the event at North Independence Mid-Continent Public Library.

Schneider – who says she has read the law front-to-back three times – walked the group through a two-hour long presentation, briefly visiting law's public image problem. She focused primarily on what's actually inside the law, during an exhaustive session peppered with did-you-knows, like the end of discrimination against domestic violence victims and against pregnant women.

Of course, these revisions are only one part of the healthcare overhaul that includes, for example, subsidies for some who can't afford insurance and, more importantly, a March 31 deadline to get covered.

That's not a lot of time to both clear the air and get the word out, but Schneider said she doesn't expect to produce experts with her sessions. Curious, engaged members of the public will suffice.

“I'm hoping folks get active and, if necessary, get them to go out and work with a navigator,” she said referring to the local healthcare experts installed to help people meet the individual mandate and, generally, answer any specific questions they have on the law's impacts. “There's a lot of good information out there.”

There's also a lot of bad information.

Schneider expressed frustration at the law's portrayal in news outlets and the political arena, where the Affordable Care Act can look more like a sport with teams and scores than a policy that requires careful analysis. And if you're a politician who feels he or she has been mischaracterized by Schneider, feel free to reach out to her directly.

“I would invite any congressman to these sessions,” she said. “I'm appalled at what they say about this law. Learn the facts.”

Schneider's group is co-chaired by Alice Kitchen, a recent recipient of a White House accolade for work she and the other members of the Affordable Care Act Public Education Committee have done in and around Kansas City.


The Affordable Care Act seminars will continue at Mid-Continent Public Library through the spring at these times, dates and branches:

• Thursday at 7 p.m., the Lone Jack Branch. • Jan. 21 at 2 p.m., the Boardwalk Branch. • Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m., the Grandview Branch. • Jan. 28 at 7 p.m., the Blue Springs South Branch. • Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m., the Excelsior Springs Branch. • Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. the Buckner Branch. • Feb. 18 at 7 p.m., the Boardwalk Branch. • Feb. 20 at 7 p.m., the Blue Springs North Branch. • April 8 at 7 p.m., the Colbern Road Branch.