Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Where parenting, politics, disability, poetry and politics intersect

So, yeah, go ahead and complain to me again about a (temporarily) glitchy website. Fact: many historic American achievements have been preceded by mistakes far more harrowing than a flummoxed website.
Bob Cesca (read the full article, here) 

In all this talk of miracles and healings, with postings of poetry and naked dancing, I haven't spoken too much of politics lately, except for the occasional jab at the difficulties we are facing in the epilepsy community with getting medical marijuana for our children and the draconian federal policies governing it.

So, where's the politics at a moon, worn as if it had been a shell? Now's the time for those of you who abhor them to click off, drop away, go back to your peaceful day. I'll give you a sec.

Peaceniks and Tea Partiers gone?


I want to talk about healthcare and the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, particularly all this brouhaha over cancelled policies and the POTUS lying about it and the government comin' between me and my doctor (thick southern accent here, please) talk, etc. etc. First of all, there aren't many people who supported healthcare reform who weren't disappointed in how the Affordable Care Act shook out. Those of us in the individual insurance market who had any sense at all were perfectly aware that the Obama administration compromised mightily with the insurance industry in order to satisfy not only that Evil Empire but those who rattled their sabers about socialized medicine, about the slippery slope to European style government and hell and damnation. The Affordable Care Act was a HUGE compromise and far less than the universal coverage most of us on the "left" had hoped would happen. I perhaps cynically don't believe that real universal coverage will ever happen in this country because we're not sophisticated enough, as a rule. I'm in the group that believes the ACA made some monumentally positive changes, though, that will improve the lot of tens of millions of people, including our family.

Yes, we were one of those families that got the letter from Anthem Blue Cross stating that our policy would be terminated as of January 1st, 2014 because it was out of compliance with the law as outlined in the Affordable Care Act.

Let me translate that for you:

We at Anthem Blue Cross will no longer be able to provide you with one of the shittiest, most expensive health insurance policies that we offer because if we do, we will have broken the law. We can no longer deny that you add your epileptic daughter to your policy. We can no longer cap out our expenditures in the event another member of your family develops a disease or has an accident warranting millions of dollars of healthcare. We can no longer deny coverage for preventive care. We can no longer force you to pay ever-increasing premiums that buy you catastrophic health care ONLY. In fact, this shitty policy for which you've paid tens of thousands of dollars over the last nearly twenty years of your life only proved to us that you were as stupid and lemming-like as we could have hoped at the time. That time, sadly for us, is over. BUT, we're happy to inform you of your other choices, which might cost you more but be of improved value. 

Now, I'm as nervous as the rest of you, but I've been on the California website and have figured out that our family might qualify for a federal subsidy so that our monthly premium won't be as high as it is now. I've also figured out that if it is higher than what we pay now, it will be far more comprehensive with far more choices, and most importantly of all, Sophie's shitty policy can be cancelled and she can be added onto our own. I still think the Evil Empire (insurance companies) make out like thieves, and I still believe universal healthcare should be the rule of the land, but anything, anything is better than what we have now, and the ACA appears in many respects to be an improvement.

Now, I'm tired of typing. Read this article.

Tell me what your experiences have been.


  1. Not sure yet what mine will be. When I quit my job in Michigan and move to Oregon, Jonah and I will go through the Oregon ACA. I've got good insurance, ish, through the college now (only because of the ACA, however, do they now cover Jonah's shots and well-child visits. Before that, while they would cover chiropractor visits and Viagra, they didn't cover shots or my needed 4 times a year PAP smear). I'm nervous, but also the decision to quit my job and move was made somewhat easier knowing that I'll be able to get health care instead of going without it.

  2. THAT, dear Elizabeth, is as clear an explanation of the ACA as I have seen anywhere! THANK you!

  3. Very, very clear and concise and the link is good too. We have personal insurance- terribly expensive and although we haven't been dropped, our already exorbitant rates went up. A lot. When the website gets all smoothed out, I'm going to see if I can find us something better, hopefully for less. Of course, I live in Florida where our tea-party ass-kisser, health-industry magnate governor is refusing Federal dollars to implement things. So...that won't help.
    WHY CAN'T WE HAVE UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE? God. It makes me so angry.

  4. I got the same letter....I translated it in the exact words you did. In fact, instead of reading it word by word to my husband I said just about what you said, It is almost a relief to me....I'm not doing anything. If I end up in the hospital etc. they can do what they want.

  5. When I lived in CA, my mother paid exorbitant prices for health "care" that let her fall through the cracks and die in her mid 50's. I remember her barely-controlled terror at the rising prices of the prescription drugs she needed to take every day, her tears as she dealt with the bureaucracy. They called me the Friday after she died to scold us for her missed appointment that day. I told them she'd died. Their response (paraphrased): "Oh. Bye."

    Here in the UK, I feel so grateful for the NHS. I have never had a problem getting an appointment. Prescription costs are reasonable and no-cost for under-16s. The hospitals aren't cushy but they get the job done. I'm terrified that the NHS will be privatized, further outsourced.

    I love your blog, although I haven't commented before. Your writing is beautiful. And now I'll go back to lurking.

  6. Thanks for the translation. One of my favorite things to do is rewrite cryptic, bureaucratic, BS letters. Rock steady, baby.

  7. California is doing really well with the rollout. One of the handful of states can claim this. I'm rooting for you, and willing to bet you are going to qualify for a subsidy. Keeping you close at mind...I do this jazz for a living; let me know if I can help in any way. But girl -- you do this for a living too! Love watching your journey through all of this. Thanks for chronicling it.

  8. GOD IN HEAVEN or as we said in Lutheran-land, GOT IN HIMMEL, Elizabeth, thank you for this. I don't know how you managed to write so calmly about it but I'm glad you did. Unfortunately North Carolina, Grand Old State, opted out as much as possible and it's my understanding that we'll only have one option here, rather than a competitive market. Still, this one option will most likely (from what I can tell) be affordable, as no other option up until now has. I haven't had insurance since I got married 11 years ago and was kicked off my parent's plan though still a full time student. My children just lost their state provided insurance because NC kicks people off medicaid at $10,000 salary dollars sooner than CO does. (So you can make 10k more in CO than you can in NC to remain on medicaid). So we badly need the ACA. Tech glitches are small in comparison to that need.

  9. I suspect the insurance companies intentionally worded their letters that way in order to rile people up. Beautiful translation of the jargon, though!!

  10. YES! Thank you for this post! clear as a bell!!! The political cartoon with the giant screw going through the middle of a person, she moaning, " Obama care won't let me keep my insurance!", comes to mind.

  11. Elizabeth, does Sophie get Medicaid as part of SSI? Right now, we still have group coverage under my dh's job, but my son has secondary with Medicaid due to SSI. This is a life saver for us. Before 18, he qualified for Katie Beckett and they held him on until his SSI was approved. ( Have to mention that we aren't the "leeches" that the media likes to focus on. We actually plan to keep primary ins on our son as long as we are able to do this with Medicaid as a much needed backup. He had oral surgery in the hospital and Medicaid made this possible without a big deposit on our part.

    1. Yes, Sophie has Medi-Cal secondary to private.

  12. I'm glad to hear it. My husband is in a teacher's union - which is little protection when the school district is thinking about cutting expenses and dropping health care. Maybe we'll get better coverage too. It's hopeful.



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