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Sunday, December 08, 2013 ISSUE #781

Navigating Obamacare

    Do you know what a Navigator is? You might think it’s a guy on a boat that helps the Captain go in the right direction.

    Today there’s another kind of Navigator, ones that are helping three hundred million Americans get their health insurance headed in the right direction. Not all at once, mind you, but millions and millions must get onboard the big ship named Obamacare by December 23.  That ship, the biggest ever built, was launched two months ago and its engines have been sputtering and coughing so much it’s moving mighty slow. How many knots? Well, more nots than knots.

    I talked to one of these Navigators, trying to get to the bottom of the problem. Not all Navigators are alike, but here’s one situation. He got trained in October and they gave him three thick notebooks. I had to ask, anywhere in those thousands of pages of instructions, does it say, If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor?

    Where this fellow lives, there are about 750 poor folks who had been able to see a doctor for little or no money, but they were told they couldn’t do that anymore and had to sign up on the Affordable Care website. They were asked to call this Navigator if they needed help.

    Well, here’s what happened to those 750. About 150 called    to ask what’s going on, why am I losing this deal that I like? Keep in mind probably half of ‘em don’t have a computer or internet, so they need help signing up. He started three weeks ago, helping these 750, and he has about two weeks remaining to get ‘em all onboard by the December 23 deadline.

    How many has he signed up so far? Six. Yes, six out of 750. But not all six. Two got started but the website froze up. They got passwords, but no ID.  Two others were eligible for Medicaid (free health care), but got stuck. Calling the 800 number didn’t help; put on hold. More than two hours working with each, and still not signed up. Well, why not fill out the forms and mail ‘em in? No, he was informed that mailed forms wouldn’t get read and approved soon enough by the government. You can’t blame the Post Office. But it makes you wonder, if Santa and his elves can handle millions of letters, why can’t Obama.

    And the other two? Those two got on, passwords selected and received their ID numbers. So those two are done? No, they have to pick an insurance plan. There’s only one company, but they do have a choice of platinum, gold, silver or bronze plans. Do you think many of these 750 can afford platinum or gold?

    Remember, these folks had health care privileges at a local clinic. But after January 1, they have to have Obamacare. Well, six down (partly), only 744 to go.

Historic quote by Will Rogers: (writing after his gall bladder operation)
    “If you want to stay well, just bet a lot of rich
(insurance) companies that you will get sick. Then if you can’t have any luck getting sick, have the policy cut down, and before six months you’ll be saying, “Doctor, the pain is right there.” Ether and Me, 1927    

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