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      Panhandle Economic Series continues with look at healthcare

      The Healthcare industry is essential to the Amarillo economy, so Smith Ellis, the CEO of First Bank Southwest wanted to focus on the issue in its 6th luncheon in the Panhandle Economic Series.

      The luncheon was held in the Amarillo Country Club ballroom, Tuesday.

      Of primary importance to the medical industry is the potential impact on the area from the Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect January 1st, 2014.

      Brad Howard of Brown and Fortunato, one of the speakers at the event says, "What employers need to know is that a lot of changes are coming?|they need to decide if they??re going to offer coverage and what type and if not are they willing to pay for that?"

      Dr. Rodney Young of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center says, " For some people the cost of health insurance will be greater than the fine and there??s actually concern that small employers may choose to pay fines instead of continuing to offer employer-based health insurance."

      Texas Governor Rick Perry says he will not expand Medicaid. A million and a half Texans are currently uninsured.