Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Obamacare (The ACA) and Facebook

I finally finished getting set up with my own health insurance.

This is an exciting change for me, because as recently as a few short months ago, that would have been impossible.  Between my weight, Jodi’s Diabetes, and Jacob’s multiple health issues, our family would have been uninsurable.  That meant that I spent literally years in jobs that made me miserable simply because I had to have insurance.  Since our family's medical bills are astronomical, without insurance, we would have been homeless in a matter of a month or two.

Well, since, as of January, I’ve been unemployed, and since my wife’s work doesn’t offer her insurance, we went to and looked for plans.  We found one that would give all four of us good coverage, for just about 2/3 what I would have had to pay using COBRA and my previous work’s insurance.

That was pretty exciting, too.

To be fair, we had a heck of a time setting it up.  Twice we tried to do it ourselves at the website, and three times over the phone.  The system crashed on our application each time.  But with persistence, over the course of about 2 weeks, it all came together.

Now, there’s a lot of politicizing going on around the ACA and the Insurance exchange.  Frankly, if the tech had been worked out before it had been rolled out, it would have been a slam dunk for the Democrats.  But, they fumbled, and fumbled big.  They were about to score a touchdown, and they fumbled it back across the 50 yard line.

On Facebook, I’ve noticed a lot of commentary going on.  Many of my friends have posted their experiences with Obamacare and the ACA exchange website.  I’ve noticed an interesting trend.  Those who post about having troubles, or not being able to find less expensive insurance tend to be conservatives.  On the other hand, those that post about their successes tend to be more left-leaning.

I wondered why this was.  Rather than mire myself in conspiracy theories or political mudslinging, I think I’ve realized why it is.  If a liberal or Democrat, who has spent the last two years promoting and defending the ACA, has troubles or can’t find good insurance, they’re not as likely to jump on facebook and say, “Wellllll, I was wrong, it sucks.”  Conversely, if a conservative who has spent as much effort vilifying and berating the ACA as socialism were to go and find good, inexpensive coverage, they’d not likely say, “Oops, I guess it’s a good thing, after all.”  On the other hand, if someone's experience with the Obamacare site confirms their already-held beliefs, left or right, that's what's going to get posted.

The whole law is so complex that I don’t think anyone can truly foresee all of the intended and unintended consequences, and it probably won’t sort out for years to come.  So, in the end, will we say it’s a good thing or a bad thing?

I don’t know.

But, for the first time since I became Jacob’s father, I have insurance that I can afford that’s not tied to my job.  That’s huge. So far, it’s workin’ for me.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Support in the Utah State Legislature

The state legislature is in session, and, as always, my life gets really panicky this time of year.  Will they fund the programs that help keep Jacob alive?  It's always touch-and-go.  Jake and I went up last week and testified, and it was great.  Jake did a good job, as always.  We'll be up there again next Thursday.

I just had a chat exchange with our direct representative regarding the funding for special ed in the schools.  It's critical to us that the programs get funded, because that's what makes Jacob's school experiences successful. They have to pay for aides, equipment, occupational and physical therapists and a lot of other things.  Here's our chat exchange:

Me: As an Eagle Mountain resident and a parent of a child with special needs, it's very important to me that the special education programs get funded.  It's often difficult to secure and maintain good in-school aids and assistants when the pay scale is so low, and it's without benefits.  It's important to us that the School Districts get the proper funding to provide good services to our son!  Thanks for all you do!

Rep Lifferth: Were have voted do increase wpu by 2.5% as well as funding all new growth.  There is also a substantial increase in funding for special needs children. Thanks for sharing your concerns. Don't hesitate to do so on any state issue.

Me: Thanks so much for voting so, and for the update!  Nice to have a responsive rep!

Rep Lifferth: That's what I do

So, my hat's off to Representative Lifferth.  It's good to know that things, for the moment, are moving forward.  Now, this is just the appropriations committee.  Their decisions still get fed into the overall Executive Appropriations, and the final budget bill.  It's not final.  Still, It's good to have things working in the early stages, anyway.