Gov Shutdown blamed for poor turn out at ObamaCare forum featuring Planned Parenthood

The federal government shutdown is being blamed in part for a lackluster turnout Monday in Billings Montana, for a four-hour forum designed to inform and educate the public about the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The forum, held at Parmly Billings Library, was organized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services before the government shutdown.

Due to the shutdown, HHS was unable to publicize the event and the two representatives scheduled to attend the event were no-shows.

There was even confusion among local health care providers about whether it would be held.

Certified application counselors and navigators, positions designed to help people understand and use the new health care marketplace, were on hand from both RiverStone Health and Planned Parenthood of Montana, but were idle much of the time.

By day’s end, less than a half-dozen people had attended, and RiverStone Health officials left early.

“The shutdown has slowed a lot of processes, and this is one of them,” said Martha Stahl, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Montana. “But it’s important that people know and realize that they don’t have to be enrolled today. They have time. People are feeling pressured and stressed and they don’t need to.”

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