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Hearing will focus on health care law

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GREENFIELD — A congressional hearing will be held in Greenfield Sept. 4, bringing federal lawmakers to Greenfield City Hall to hear about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on schools and businesses.

A subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a field hearing at 10 a.m., according to a statement released Thursday.

Field hearings are hearings outside Washington for members of Congress to gather information on a certain issue. Republican Congressman Luke Messer, who represents Hancock County, is a member of the committee. Messer’s communications director, Liz Hill, said because Messer has been vocal about his opposition to the ACA, the committee decided to hold a field hearing in his district. Greenfield’s council chamber is a good setting for such a hearing, she said, because logistically the room is set up similar to a room that would hold a traditional hearing in Washington.

The event is titled “The Effects of the President’s Health Care Law on Indiana’s Classrooms and Workplaces.” It is open to the public and will be two to three hours long.

People can expect to see five to six members of Congress at the event, hearing from Hoosier witnesses on the Affordable Care Act’s impact on schools, businesses and employees.

“The President’s health care law is having a real impact on Hoosiers in the 6th District,” Messer said in a written statement. “Premiums are rising, out-of-pocket expenses are going up, people are losing their current plans and workers’ hours are being cut. It’s unfair to pay for the President’s health care law on the backs of hard-working Hoosiers like teachers and small-business owners. I’m looking forward to the hearing in Greenfield and giving other members of Congress the chance to hear how the health care law is impacting schools and businesses in Indiana.”

The Committee on Education and the Workforce studies issues ranging from health care to training to retirement security and how they impact schools and businesses. The committee has 41 members: 23 Republicans and 18 Democrats. In addition to Messer, Indiana members of the committee are Republican Reps. Todd Rokita, Susan Brooks and Larry Bucshon.

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tennessee, will chair the event. Roe is chairman of the subcommittee on health, employment, labor and pensions.

While Republicans are in the majority on the committee, Democrats are also invited to attend and request witnesses to testify at the hearing. The list of witnesses has not been made public yet, though Hill said there will likely be people speaking from the 6th District as well as people from across the state.

Last year, Messer filed legislation that would exempt schools and colleges from the ACA, saying the mandate to provide health insurance to part-time employees came at too great of a cost.

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