Posts by: Luke Brockmeier

With less than a month to go for Ohio’s uninsured to get signed up on the health insurance exchange, I’m poking my head out of the trenches to report back on my experience signing people up, and to let PB readers in Cincinnati and Canton know how they can enroll before the deadline.

I’ve been with Working America since enrollment began. We’re Champions of Coverage, meaning that our role is to identify uninsured Ohioans and make sure they have the information that they need in order to get signed up.

Primarily, we’re setting up enrollment fairs, where people can get [...]

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This is a farewell post from me. I’ll be enrolling people in health insurance for the next 6 months, so it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll have time to blog. Thanks for reading my stuff, and thanks for sharing it. And a hearty thanks to Joseph for letting me bloviate.

As a final bloviation, I’m here to report on a pretty dismal Election Day in Cincinnati–very similar to the one in 2009 that presaged the statewide 2010 loss.

There were two Democrats running for mayor, and Cincinnati has a field election1 for City Council. The incumbent council was 7 Democrats and [...]

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The Medicaid expansion passed the Ohio Controlling Board in a 5-2 vote, shepherded by Gov. Kasich. According to the Dispatch, the Senate GOP plans to use the savings to cut the state income tax (I guess they’re familiar with my work!1) while a number of right-wing groups plan lawsuits – just as we predicted.

To cut to the chase, Democrats should propose that we use the additional funds to 1) undo Kasich’s $677 million sales tax hike or 2) restore some of Kasich’s cuts to schools and local governments. In addition to being good policy, this [...]

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The Heritage Foundation released yet another right-wing “study” of exchange prices. The only compliment that I have for it is that its fallacies are more transparent than in other right-wing “studies”.

Ultimately, if you want to know what exchange insurance will cost, you should go to www.healthcare.gov.

1. They ignore the uninsured entirely. They’re talking about the existing individual market; that is, people who don’t get employer-provided coverage and buy plans directly from insurance companies. That’s about 6% of the population.

There’s another 18% of the population who is in the individual market but can’t afford a plan. [...]

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A number of sources are reporting the the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will make a request to accept the federal funding for Medicaid expansion.

So, hooray!

The request will be made to the Controlling Board1, a bipartisan panel that handles limited adjustments to the state budget.   Here’s a quick primer…

What is the Controlling Board? The Controlling Board is a seven member panel consisting of “the Director of the Office of Budget and Management or an employee of the Office of Budget and Management designated by the Director, the Chairs of the Senate [...]

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UPDATE: The word is that the House will reject the deal. The Senate deal is balanced (GOP and Dems both get minor concessions) whereas the House deal has major giveaways to the GOP, a minor concession to the Dems, and a huge poison pill.

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Here’s a brief foray into federal policy, so that we can better understand the compromise in the Senate.

Apparently, it’s a short-term debt limit increase and budget to allow time for another Supercommittee to fail to reach an agreement. The “compromise” portion is in two tweaks to Obamacare. There’s more depth on those [...]

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The Ohio health insurance exchange at www.healthcare.gov is finally up and running. Let the death panels begin!

This is really just a public service announcement. I’ll put a little review of the site, which remains deeply flawed. While I’m going to be critical of it, the bottom line is that I can get the best insurance I’ve ever had for $64 a month.

Plan comparisons are very easy and very informative, though I haven’t found any network information. Insofar as these are mainly HMOs, that’s important.

I highly recommend looking at the plans without applying for subsidies. The application [...]

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The Enquirer has written a near-masterpiece1 of “unbiased journalism that only quotes Republicans”. Deirdre Shesgreen’s message: the shutdown is awesome and popular, and it’s impossible to say how it happened.

And I’m not joking; it sources 3 GOP congressmen, Sen. Portman, and a Tea Party voter.

Says Rep. Wenstrup, “Predominantly, they like what we’re doing.”

Rep. Chabot’s spokesman claims that calls are 60-40 in favor of keeping the government shut down. Obviously he’s telling the truth; he used numbers!

Sen. Portman–who filibustered the deal to keep the government open–is a moderate. He thinks we should let Obamacare move forward, [...]

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State Rep. John Becker’s plan to force uninsured Ohioans and pregnant women1 to get health care from volunteers, students, and interns would cost the state more money than expanding Medicaid.

I’d say that he’s cutting off his nose to spite his face, but that’s not right. He’s causing needless suffering for a quarter of Ohioans, to spite their faces.

It’s idiotic and cruel, but it is a useful thought experiment into how 1/3 of our medical spending is wasteful.

Here’s the plan:

1. Reject the Medicaid funding.

2. In each city, set up one hospital that:

Can’t take insurance, [...]

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The Ohio Department of Health released their annual report on induced abortions for 2012, the first year with enacted War on Women provisions1.

The abortion rate increased 3.8%, the second-highest increase on record.

This gives the lie to Ohio Right to Life’s disingenuous theory that waging the War on Women has resulted in more women realizing that they’re capable of raising another child.

Abortion levels in Ohio are the lowest in modern history, and when lawmakers pass “common-sense, pro-life approaches, good things happen,” Gonidakis said.

In reality, it looks like 2011 was a statistical outlier. Ignoring that year2, [...]

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Tomorrow is the first day of open enrollment in Ohio’s health insurance exchange at www.healthcare.gov. Even if the government shuts down tonight, Obamacare will still be fully funded (it’s a law, it’s not part of the discretionary budget) and the exchanges will be fully functional.

Well, largely functional. Here’s what to do, and then what to watch out for.

What To Do

Like I said, just go to www.healthcare.gov and provide the required information. It’s basically address/income/age type of stuff. You won’t have to give a health history.

You’ll get a list of health care plans that [...]

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