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Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 03:50 PM PST

My ACA Adventure - Final Report

by EquityRoy

I was one of the lucky 27K who enrolled in a healthcare plan through the national exchange in October. I wrote a couple of diaries reporting my frustrations, defending my right to complain and reporting a positive result. Then, after I actually had a good result if not a smooth experience of enrolling, the whole damn world became one big "IT'S BROKEN!!!!" whiny meme. Therefore I feel compelled to come back to report that my experience has gotten both more frustrating and ends up saving me even more money than I thought in the beginning.
I am a heavy healthcare user. The protections for the millions of us with pre-existing conditions are truly a load off my mind. I have been a member of a high-risk pool since 2009. Before that, after my horribly expensive COBRA policy ran out there were several years when I couldn't buy health insurance at any cost. If I have the money I don't mind paying but not to be able to buy ANYTHING was truly scary.
In my final ACA report I am glad to announce that my final savings (I don't qualify for subsidies) will be [drum roll please] $101.12 less per month than I am paying now, my deductible will go down from $1,000.00 to $0 and my prescription co-pays go from $10, 25%, 50%, to $3, $6, & $9. If you want more details of my National Exchange experience and one super-valuable tip for anyone still having problems signing up, follow me below the magic squiggle.

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It's a done deal. After a couple of week's frustration (about which I wrote a diary) I finally enrolled in my new healthcare plan online through the new national exchange. I am blessed that I can afford a Platinum plan (which I need because I use a lot of health care) but I will, nevertheless, pay $35 a month less than my 2013 AccessTN monthly premium (TN's preexisting condition program (thank you TN-Dem Gov. Bredesen)) and for a deductible of $0.00 (not my current $1,000) and a generic drug copay of $4.00 (not my current $10)! All my current providers are included in the plan. That's a guaranteed health care savings of $1500 next year over this year and for the highest level care available.

Thank you Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid! The free market works for me!

This in no way lessens my support for and advocacy of a single-payer system. Medicare for All is inevitable and will be a much better solution. But in the meantime this system is awesome.

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First, I'm not as angry as others have been around here ... yet ... but my experience with so far has been a total bust and totally crazy-making. I MUST purchase health insurance through the federal exchange by December 15. I won't give up. I can't. But I should be through the process by now.

I am a 50-something-year-old man with enough preexisting conditions to fill a medical museum. I have been insured through BlueCross/BlueShield of Tennessee at outrageously high prices for the last three years but I've paid it because I would have been broke otherwise. The BC/BS policy was only available to me thanks to Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen creating a preexisting care program a few years ago (AccessTN). Otherwise I would already be in bankruptcy after my last heart surgery. Now, thanks to the Republican Gov. Haslam, the program under which I am insured is ending December 31 and I must purchase insurance under the exchange in time to be covered by January 1. Gov. Haslam opted out of the ACA (which politically makes sense in TN but morally is utterly contemptible, imho).

I am now married to the national exchange. The fact that the Obama administration, whose organization was totally tech-savvy during the campaign, had four years and $400 MM dollars to get this right and totally blew it, is, in my opinion, inexcusable. This is the President's signature achievement! What the hell went wrong?!? If you would like to hear further whining, read a letter to my Congressman and more details about my experience, leap over the golden squiggle.

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Lordy Mercy has a conservative candidate ever melted down like Scott DesJarlais (i-R) in TN Fourth? He skipped a debate and local papers are covering his personal abortion scandal with headlines that include Colbert coverage! For East Tennessee that's political death. His opponent, Eric Stewart, by Tennessee standards, is liberal enough and an experienced State Senator and has other local offices. He is in the right place at the right time and deserves our support. Here is his ACT BLUE page. DesJarlais has a huge money advantage so Eric could use our help. I put some info from his site below the swiggle. Here's an unexpected opportunity kids. Let gitterdone!

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Only if a swift and potent political or legal price is extracted will the GOP's campaign to suppress the vote be permanently stopped. Recent court victories are only the first baby steps in killing this pernicious effort. Light must be shined vigilantly on these poisonous schemers. The individuals and organizations committing these crimes against democracy and our republic must be held instantly and harshly accountable.

This includes the obvious suspects who have been active in voter suppression: GOP state officials executing the policies, the RNC, the "Koch" nee "John Birch" machine, the Rove machine, lobbyists for the oligarchy, GOP mouth pieces like Limbaugh, Grudge and Faux News, etc.; but also politicians at large who have tried to look the other way while this attack on democracy has unfolded in plain sight: ALL candidates for public office and their campaign consultants and apparatchiks, ALL Justice Department and state law enforcement officials, ALL election officials and poll watchers. The questions that must be asked of all public officials include not just "Where do you stand on recent voter suppression efforts?" but the more important follow-up question: "What have you done to stop and prevent voter suppression?"

The reason politics has run so far amuck in recent years is the lack of public scrutiny and the misguided reluctance to exact public, political or legal costs for outrageous or harmful behavior. We have accepted lame excuses or we have been distracted by diversionary tactics instead of holding our lines. If a burglar is breaking into your house, you have him arrested and put in jail not turn your back and pretend its not happening or, worse, ask him to kindly move down the block to your neighbor's house. Action is expected and demanded. Those caught attacking democracy must forever be excised from our political system on their first offense.

They that are on their guard and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked than the supine, secure and negligent. -Benjamin Franklin

Where is the 50-state strategy these days? Senate Democratic nominee Mark Clayton is disavowed by Tennessee Democratic Party for being associated with a hate group. The hate group according to the state party is Public Advocate USA, which was designated as "an anti-gay hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center in March.

I just don't know where to begin. This is an abject failure to put up a qualified nominee against the corporate lap-dog Sen. Bob Corker: a failure of the TN Dems; a failure of the national Democratic Party; and a failure of Pres. Obama as the leader of the Democratic Party. This travesty begs the question, what would have happened if Gov. Howard Dean or anyone with a 50-state strategy was in charge? I know Corker is the heavy favorite no matter who was nominated but this is a sign of a real collapse of the Democratic Party in Tennessee, a state that until very recently had Democratic governor.

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The right-wing talking heads are pouncing on the President today for the annual economic growth rate slowing to 1.5% (still growing BTW), calling it "Worst Recovery Since WWII." This is below the 2-3% growth predicted by "experts" earlier in the year.

I was talking to my sister in St. Louis last night where the heat wave has been relentless. Leaving a meeting on Wednesday, her car thermometer read 117 degrees. She was going to stop at the store for groceries but the heat was so brutal she rushed straight home to the safety and comfort of her air conditioner. It does not mean she will never go to the store again but the weather in this small example affected her buying patterns.

It is common sense that dangerous and unprecedented heat waves would slow the economy (as the more common and more expected extreme winter weather affects the economy). I have seen a number of anecdotal examples of this in recent weeks, including my completely unscientific "parking lot" survey.

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Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 04:30 PM PDT

Come In Madison...We Need a Report

by EquityRoy

We need daily updates from those "in the know" on the ground in Wisconsin. It has been a couple of days since I've seen a diary about the recalls. With all due respect to the news makers of the day, we are only weeks away from what very well may be one of the most important political events in a generation: the Wisconsin recall of Republican governor Scott Walker. Let's not lose our focus here people. What can I do today to help with the cause of restoring workers' rights, women's rights and electoral integrity in Wisconsin and thereby the whole nation?

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Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 03:51 AM PST

My Nephew's Bank Refuses Short Sale

by EquityRoy

There was reason for hope recently when my nephew and his wife found a cash buyer for their condo that is currently valued at less than half of their original mortgage.  It was the first genuine offer after nearly three years their home has been sitting on the market.  Their bank rejected the short sale however and told them frankly that it would not be considered because they "had made all their payments."  Presumably, the short sale would be considered if they had been deadbeats but since they were hard-working, honest people they get no help from the bank to relieve what has become an impossible situation.  

My heart is broken over the trap this young, talented, family struggles to escape with no help from any quarter.  They either have to find a buyer that will pay double the market price for their condo or bring more than $100K to the closing, money they don't have, in order to make the bank whole.  No short sale will be considered by the bank because they are not in default or near foreclosure.

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Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 06:37 AM PDT

VP Joe -- Way to go!

by EquityRoy

The Vice President proves once again that putting political tactics over the good of the nation really irks him to the core.  That is a quality I like and that is where the President and Vice President can own the field of battle during this election season.  I love Joe Biden.  He speaks the unvarnished truth in spite of himself sometimes.  This week he has been on fire in his attacks against the do-nothing Senate and Republican obstructionism.  Fire cops = crime rates go up.  What could be simpler?

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As I watched the last story on Rachel Maddow tonight I was left with a true sense of disbelief and rage.  The governor of Michigan and his corporate toddies in the state house have enacted and executed a law that suspends democracy in Benton Harbor, MI.  This is just the first action taken under what is called "financial martial law."  

I had to share this, write about it, scream about it, do something to vent the outrage I feel toward what I perceive as nothing less than a fascist corporate movement building and gaining real power, if not credibility, in the American political landscape.  If you missed the story on Rachel's show I will provide links after the jump.

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I just saw an advertisement on MSNBC calling the President's policies, all the President's policies "failed."  The ad, "Mourning in America," was an outright attack on a public office holder, naming the President.  No one claimed responsibility for the ad and no contact information is supplied at the end.  

We must complain, and loudly, to MSNBC and any other network running this ad, about the lack of disclosure statement attached to this ad.  It's a dirty trick and a well funded dirty trick attacking the President to hurt Democratic candidates.  

Complain to MSNBC and anywhere else this ad is running that they are violating the The Fair Campaign Practices Act and the ad should be pulled immediately.

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