#Obamacare: people who think they have coverage get hit with massive bills

March 23, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t our new, glorious, designed by unicorns healthcare system supposed to prevent things like this? If you signed up for coverage and made your payments, you weren’t supposed to get crushed by the ensuing medical bills, right? All those horror stories from the dark days before Obamacare the Affordable Affordable Affordable Affordable Affordable Care Act (1) of people with unbearable financial burdens? Gone. Banished forever. Not gonna happen ever again in our new progressive paradise.

Just ask Alex Szablya of Washington:

Alex Szablya just wants the best health care she can get for her children. So she got a gold plan, the highest level possible with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. She picked a plan with Lifewise, an affiliate of Premera Blue Cross.

In early March, her 16-year old daughter had a medical emergency. Alex drove her to the nearest hospital, which was Seattle Children’s. Alex says doctors there felt her daughter’s situation was so dire she needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately. She was there for nine days.

Then came news that her stay, which involved specialized mental health care for adolescents, was going to cost $36,000 and her insurance would only pay for half because Seattle Children’s was considered on out-of-network facility.

She thought by going for the highest premium PPO gold level coverage offered the state exchange, a majority of the bill would have been covered.

“I’m paying a premium for that and I’m willing to pay that premium, but I expect to get services that are not so limited by the insurance companies,” she said.

Premera told her to take her daughter to facilities either in Yakima or Bremerton, the one a three hour drive and the other two hours away via ferry, while Seattle Children’s was just 15 minutes away. Now, where would you go with your child in an emergency? Remember that she bought a gold plan. Among the many problems we’ve heard about regarding the exchanges is that is can be hard to tell if a particular doctor or hospital is included. Ms. Szablya might well have looked at the online offerings and just assumed that, of course, nearby Seattle Children’s would be included. When you have an emergency, especially one involving your child, you’re not going to stop, call your insurance agent, and ask if a particular doctor or hospital is part of the network. (via Katnandu)

An even worse bill awaited Larry Basich of Las Vegas, who thought he had done everything right, but, after undergoing triple bypass surgery, found himself on the hook for over $400,000:

The hospital bills are hitting Larry Basich’s mailbox.

That would be OK if Basich had health insurance. But he doesn’t.

Thing is, he should be covered. Basich, 62, bought a plan through the state’s Nevada Health Link insurance exchange in the fall. He’s been paying monthly premiums since November.

Yet the Las Vegan is stranded in a no-man’s-land where no carrier claims him, and his tab is mounting: Basich owes $407,000 for care received in January and February, when his policy was supposed to be in effect. Instead, he’s covered only for March and beyond.

Basich has begged for weeks for help from the exchange and its contractor, Xerox. But Basich’s insurance broker said Xerox seems more interested in lawyering up and covering its hide than in working out Basich’s problems. Nor is Basich the only client facing plan-selection errors through the exchange, she added.

Xerox, meanwhile, said it’s working every day to fix Basich’s problem, and its legal counsel is routine.

In the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its insurance exchanges, you can find a success story for every failure (2). But Basich’s case is extreme.

Be sure to read the whole thing. Basich worked for weeks to make sure he had coverage, both using the crappy online exchange and telephone help. He’s dealt with Xerox and even gotten Governor Sandoval’s office involved. His case is so bad that Harry Reid won’t even call him a liar; his office is instead trying to help.

The problem in this case is the web site, itself. It looks like Xerox did almost as good a job with it as Oracle did with Oregon’s exchange. While payments have been deducted from Basich’s bank account, UnitedHealthCare has no record of his coverage beginning when he was told it would begin, the exchange says he signed up with a different company (even though he has proof otherwise), and that company has no record of him and doesn’t want to be stuck with the bill.

Before this ever gets worked out, the stress may drive Mr. Basich to another heart attack.

In both cases, the the articles miss the mark when attributing blame. By limiting its networks, Premera is doing what any company would when faced with government mandates that impose highers costs: find ways to control them. In Larry Basich’s situation, Xerox deserves all the blame that can be heaped on it, but they’re not the root.

The source of the problem isn’t corporate greed or incompetence: it’s Obamacare, itself. All these problems people are experiencing are due to the top-down mandates that are the essence of the Affordable Care Act. A bunch of legislators and bureaucrats trying to control by law something as complex as the health care system of the United States was bound to fail. And that ongoing, rolling disaster is causing real-life misery for Americans all over the nation.

It has to go.

Footnote:
(1) There apparently are five “affordables” in the bills name. Just ask Nancy Pelosi.
(2) Why do I think that last sentence was meant to deflect the ire of Harry Reid? “Sure there are success stories, too! Just trust us!”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Seattle: Do not say “brown bag” or “citizen,” for they are offensive and, yes, racist

August 4, 2013
"Even the monkey is embarrassed"

Even the monkey is embarrassed

Once again, I’m relieved to know my beloved California doesn’t hold the West Coast monopoly on moronic political correctness. In Seattle, aka “San Francisco North” (1), the city Office of Civil Rights sent a memo around to Seattle employees and… Well, read on, but try not to hit your head against the tabletop too much:

The memo went on to offer politically correct alternatives that could be used in official documents and discussions.

‘Luckily, we’ve got options,’ Elliott Bronstein wrote in the internal memo, according to Fox News. ‘For “citizens”, how about “residents”?’

Mr Bronstein defended the ban on a Seattle radio station, and said that the term ‘brown bag’ had historically been used as a way to determine skin color.

(…)

To avoid bringing up its racist connotations, city workers in Seattle must now use ‘sack lunch’ or ‘lunch-and-learn’, according to Komo News.

Oh, for Pete’s sake. The memo says some workers were offended by the use of “brown bag” because it reminded them of a test for acceptable skin color used more than 50 years ago, and so obscure that I bet 90% of the nation hasn’t even heard of it.

You know what? “Mickey” and “Mick” were mildly offensive terms for Irishmen many years ago. My ancestors were Irish, and so this offends me. I demand everyone in Seattle with those names immediately stop using them.

But wait, there’s more!

They must also replace ‘citizen’ with ‘residents’ because many people in the northwest city are not U.S. citizens.

‘They are legal residents of the United States and they are residents of Seattle. They pay taxes and if we use a term like citizens in common use, then it doesn’t include a lot of folks,’ Mr Bronstein said.

According to City Data, 94,952 – or 16 per cent – of the city’s inhabitants are foreign, with most coming originally from Asia.

Call me a reactionary racist hater, but I thought “citizen” was a term of honor, something one aspired to become. It not only meant that you lived in a place, but that you that you had a special stake there in its governance, its prosperity, and, indeed,  in its fate. It was part of your identity.

The ancient Greeks took pride in being citizens of their city-states; Roman citizenship was a mark of distinction, something non-citizens sought to earn. Tens of millions have come to America over the centuries, leaving behind their old lives and striving to become citizens here.

And yet now for Seattle’s government, a government founded by citizens, “citizen” has become a word to be shunned for fear of giving offense.

This is another expression of the vapid multiculturalism the Left finds so attractive: not only that all cultures are equal, but that to assert any special distinction on the part of one’s own culture is somehow arrogant and chauvinist, something to be condemned. In fact, it’s a denial of American culture or civilization, for how is this culture defined and set apart? Not by land or language or religion, unlike much of the rest of the world, but by a set of shared ideals, among which is the concept of citizenship, of being a “citizen.”

Something which, in Seattle, is apparently a bad thing.

RELATED: At Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson discusses brown bags, chinks in the armor, and other weapons of control wielded by the Language Police.

Footnote:
(1) Or is that title held by Portland, now?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Forget cupcakes. Don’t you even *mention* guns in school, young man!

March 8, 2013

The headline says it all:

Pasco School District overturns 6-year-old’s suspension for discussing toy gun

The Pasco School District has overturned the suspension of a 6-year-old boy who talked about his toy guns at school.

Mike Aguirre’s son Noah, a first-grader at James McGee Elementary School, was sent home Feb. 28 after another student told their teacher that Noah had a gun with him.

Noah had no gun, toy or otherwise, but Aguirre said his son still was punished for talking with other students about the Nerf guns the family recently bought during a trip to Lincoln City, Ore.

Apparently a girl student who heard the little boy felt her “health and safety” were threatened… by someone talking about a nerf gun. What do you want to bet the school district is making that up or at least “massaging the truth” heavily?

The district later removed the suspension and said this wouldn’t go on the child’s record. Very big of them, but not a word of apology for making the boy think he was in trouble, worrying the parents, and making themselves look like jackasses.

Where did these “educators” get their certifications — George Orwell University?

via Liberty Unyielding

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#GunControl: More on State Senator Adam “Warrantless Search” Kline of Washington

February 21, 2013

Not only does he make a habit of trying to curb-stomp the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, but he is also violating his own state constitution’s guarantee of the right to bear arms. (See section 24)

Via Clayton Cramer, who has much more.

PS: And this is a guy described as a “lawyer hyper-attuned to civil rights issues?” Yeesh.


#GunControl: Proof that Washington State Democrats don’t give a damn about the Bill of Rights

February 20, 2013

At least, State Senator Adam Kline (D – Seattle) doesn’t.

First go back and read my post from yesterday. The digest version is that Democratic state senators, including Kline, were following the post-Newtown party line on gun control and introduced a bill that would, among other things, permit the local sheriff to enter a gun owner’s home for inspection once per year without a warrant.

Naturally a furor resulted when this was discovered and the offending section was removed. Senator Kline went so far as to tell Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat:

I spoke to two of the sponsors. One, Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, a lawyer who typically is hyper-attuned to civil-liberties issues, said he did not know the bill authorized police searches because he had not read it closely before signing on.

“I made a mistake,” Kline said. “I frankly should have vetted this more closely.”

In my original post, I voiced strong suspicion regarding Kline’s protestations that it was an accident, pointing out that progressivism disdains our founding documents and the philosophy behind them. But, in the back of my mind, I wondered if I was being too hard on Kline and his colleagues. Maybe it was just a simple error of oversight.

I shouldn’t have worried; it turns out I was right.

Via Bryan Preston look at what The Sure Things of Life found:

Senator Kline was a sponsor of an assault weapons bill in the 2009-2010 session which contained the EXACT SAME  PROVISION.  From Bill 6396:

“(5) In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing the assault weapon shall do all of the following:

 (a) Safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection;”

 And from a bill he sponsored in 2005, Bill 3475:

“(5) In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing the assault weapon shall do all of the following:

 (a) Within ninety days following the effective date of this section, submit to a background check identical to the background check conducted in connection with the purchase of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer;

(b) Unless the person is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, immediately register the assault weapon with the sheriff of the county in which the weapon is usually stored;

(c) Safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection;

Senator Kline didn’t “make a mistake”. 

No, he didn’t. He knew just what he was doing.  It seems subverting the 4th amendment is a bit of a hobby for Senator Kline. Maybe his voters should start asking themselves if they want someone in office who takes their liberties so lightly, before he goes after their other remaining rights.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#GunControl: Washington State Democrats forget a little thing called the 4th amendment

February 19, 2013

Quick synopsis: Democrats in Olympia have heard their master’s voice from D.C. and have decided to “do something” about gun violence, even if that something does nothing but trample on the constitutional rights of Washington’s citizens. Hence a new gun-control measure was introduced in the legislature to “sensibly regulate” firearms and ban those assault weapons that aren’t really assault weapons but look scary. (1)

And it also gave local sheriffs the right to inspect your home without a warrant:

Forget police drones flying over your house. How about police coming inside, once a year, to have a look around?

As Orwellian as that sounds, it isn’t hypothetical. The notion of police home inspections was introduced in a bill last week in Olympia.

That it’s part of one of the major gun-control efforts pains me. It seemed in recent weeks lawmakers might be headed toward some common-sense regulation of gun sales. But then last week they went too far. By mistake, they claim. But still too far.

“They always say, we’ll never go house to house to take your guns away. But then you see this, and you have to wonder.”

That’s no gun-rights absolutist talking, but Lance Palmer, a Seattle trial lawyer and self-described liberal who brought the troubling Senate Bill 5737 to my attention. It’s the long-awaited assault-weapons ban, introduced last week by three Seattle Democrats.

Responding to the Newtown school massacre, the bill would ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons that use detachable ammunition magazines. Clips that contain more than 10 rounds would be illegal.

But then, with respect to the thousands of weapons like that already owned by Washington residents, the bill says this:

“In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing shall … safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection.”

In other words, come into homes without a warrant to poke around. Failure to comply could get you up to a year in jail.

The column’s author, Danny Westneat, points out that the offending section has been excised from the current version of the bill. And I’ll point out that a self-described liberal is the one who first spotted the worm in the apple.

But something smells about Democratic claims that they didn’t know the provision was in there, that it surely would have failed constitutional muster, and that it was the fault of an unnamed staffer. (2) More likely they knew very well that the bill included a warrantless search and thought they could slip it through. The fact is that progressives, going at least as far back as Wilson, and whether they know it or not, despise the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the theory of natural, unalienable rights on which they are based, because they stand in the way of progressives remaking society in their utopian vision.

This is also another example of the parallel track progressives are following on their anti-Second Amendment quest: Feinstein’s “assault weapon” ban is likely dead in D.C., but they’re trying to achieve much the same thing in as many state capitals as they can: New York, California, Minnesota, Washington, wherever Democrats are strong and there’s little chance of people paying much attention because the news is so D.C.-centric these days.

While I think the Washington provision would have been chucked out in court, it’s a reminder to us all that the price of liberty is unceasing vigilance — abroad and especially at home.

RELATED: I’ve been saying for a while that an assault weapons ban would be useless, and now it turns out a high-power sourced agrees with me — the US Department of Justice. Go ahead, call them bitter-clingers. Meanwhile, it yet another example that gun-free zones are a tragedy waiting to happen, Pirate’s Cove reports that Adam Lanza, the psycho who attacked the Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, did so in part because it was an “easy target.” Res ipsa loquitur.

Footnotes:
(1) If you’re detecting a whiff or sarcasm and scorn in that passage, you’re not having hallucinations.
(2) They claim they just didn’t read the bill. Gee, where have I heard that before? If true, then they’re only incompetent, not malevolent.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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