by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 


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18 April 2013

Obamacare Outreach Starts This Summer

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Obamacare Outreach Starts This Summer

    Are you part of the 57% percent? I don’t mean 47% of Americans who former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney bashed lashed year. Instead, the 57% worth discussing are Americans who lack information on Obamacare (Affordable Care Act), the upcoming healthcare reform law which affects everyone starting January 1st, 2014.

    According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 67% of Americans clueless on healthcare reform are uninsured and 68% have annual household incomes of less than $40,000. Both groups who know the least about Obamacare actually will benefit the most. Now for the highest hurdle Obamacare has to face: educating Americans.

    Since Obamacare was signed into law in 2010, critics and proponents have argued so loudly whether it’s good or bad, it’s understandable most of us prefer the “ignorance is bliss” mentality by tuning them out. After all, most arguments are based off estimations and the future. Obamacare hasn’t even been fully implemented - that happens January 1st, 2014 – yet some doctors are declaring it DOA.

    One of the biggest changes to the healthcare system is the Exchanges. What a terribly unclear name to start with. It’s no wonder Americans have no idea what they are and why the HHS attempted to reeducate us on a different terminology. For the record, Exchanges are state-run insurance marketplaces where insurance companies provide plans of various tiers – the higher the tier the more expensive and better quality. Individuals, families, and small businesses who choose to purchase these plans may qualify for subsidies (tax credits), meaning they receive money from the IRS when they file their taxes and that money can pay off their health insurance premiums. 

    Obamacare just has to educate Americans why Obamacare will help them. The Exchanges open October 1st, 2013. Americans can enroll in health insurance plans and the benefits will kick in January 1st, 2014. Again, that date I’ll keep drilling in your head. Starting this summer, alongside the premiere of Breaking Bad and the new Superman movie, we’ll see Obamacare ads and education outreach programs describing Obamacare benefits in 4 simple steps:  "Preparation," "Education," "Get Ready" and -- finally -- "Enrollment."

    Until then, our arguments on Obamacare are deliberative rhetoric like fan fics of Walter White’s final episode.

    To discuss this summer's healthcare reform, call 818.784.7047 or click below to get a free quote!

12 April 2013

California Bans Insurance Discrimination Against Transgenders

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California Bans Insurance Discrimination Against Transgenders

   Update: In May 2014, Medicare lifted the ban and will cover gender reassignment surgery. A Department of Health and Human Services board ruled in favor of covering treatment for 74-year old Army veteran, Denee Mallon, who identifies herself as a woman but was born male.     

   Update: Gender Identity Disorder was renamed Gender Dismorphia in the latest version of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013. Replacing "identity" with "dismorphia" shifts the perception of the condition from what society thinks is gender to what the individual thinks his or her gender is. 

      "I don't want a sex change operation. I don't want to pay. I like being a boy". That was Georgia Congressman (R) Paul Broun's reaction to hearing gender reassignment surgery may be paid for by Medicare and Medicaid under Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act).

      Medi-Cal, which is California's version of Medicaid, pays for gender reassignment surgery, but it was up for debate if other states should follow the leader. The state also passed its own Insurance Gender Nondiscrimination Act of 2006.

      Only 3 states specifically protect transgender citizens from being denied insurance benefits: California, Colorado, and Oregon. Transgender people made up 15 percent of Americans who were denied medical care, such as prostate exams, hormone replacement therapy, or pap smears, simply because they're transgender.  

      Last year, Obamacare proponents tried to reverse is a 1981 law that bans Medicaid and Medicare from paying for gender reassignment surgery (GRS), which in the 80s was considered as experimental as the Pixies. Today, GRS is proven to be medically-necessary for people who don't identify with their biological sex. 

    In a town hall meeting, Congressman Broun tried to "save his man parts" by denouncing Obamacare and its ever-growing regulations. In the end, federal government declined to pay for transgender surgery under Medicare and Medicaid, so a regulation was in fact removed. 

     At the time, Broun was just another example of public officials wandering off topic to sound ignorant. joining his fellow Republican Senator from Georgia, Saxby Chambliss, who argued against gay marriage with the wonderfully confusing, I'm not gay. So I'm not going to marry one".

    To actually stay on topic myself, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) reminded people not to act like a bunch of Georgians by releasing this memo, outlining non-discrimination requirements for insurance companies.

    Such provisions include providing equal access to benefits and reviewing complaints from transgender patients who are denied care due to his or her gender or gender identity.

    No matter what state you live in, Obamacare bans companies from denying a person health insurance for having preexisting conditions, like Gender Dismorphia. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean every insurance company in every state will cover transgender treatment. 

12 April 2013

Covered California Job Openings in Fresno

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Covered California Job Openings in Fresno

    Looking for work? By Janurary 1st of next year, Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) mandates everyone must sign up for health insurance. California has the most uninsured residents in the country and the outreach program, Covered California, has posted the most job openings to date. 2013 is working out to be a huge year for Obamacare, Covered California, and unemployed and/or uninsured Californians. It’s a win-win-win-and/or win.

   Covered California is name of the state’s Exchange. Each state expects to roll out its own Exchange over the summer and operate “virtual shopping malls”, but instead of featuring digital Mrs. Fields samples and Aquamassage salesmen, the Exchanges will really just run websites where consumers can compare and purchase health care plans. Obamacare, which will be in full effect next year, mandates we all buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine.

    Over the past year, states opted to either manage their own Exchange or ask the federal government to do it for them. 33 states chose to ask the Obama, ironically most of them governed by Republicans who hoped Obamacare would be repealed before they’d require assistance. Covered California is expected to roll out its Exchange website by October of this year, and they’ve finally released details on where the Exchanges will be operated… in the real world that is.

    Job postings popped up on Covered California’s website, describing 3 state-of-the-art call centers in Fresno, Contra Costa County, and Rancho Cordova (No Los Angeles?!). While Covered California revealed few details of their operation, they did mention each call center is expected to hire speakers in: English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Armenian: all languages frequently heard in California.

 See if you're qualified for new jobs at Covered California.

    The duties at each call center will involve mainly technical support, since millions of Californians will be using a new website to buy healthcare. No details show how the website will be maintained, but Covered California expects to stress test it ad nauseum so millions of consumers don’t crash the site on its premiere. Expectations are high for Exchanges to deliver an intuitive, simple website so that Californians don’t simply give up and opt to pay a $96 tax next year instead of enrolling in health insurance.

Find more Covered California jobs here!

    You can start applying to work for Covered California’s call centers here. Remember, over 7 million Californians are uninsured. That's a lot of phone calls. Hope you're up for the job!

11 April 2013

Los Angeles: Happy National Minority Health Month!

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Los Angeles: Happy National Minority Health Month!

    Today in 1947, the Brooklyn Dodgers bought Jackie Robinson’s contract earning him the title of first African American major league baseball player in history. Major League Baseball began “Jackie Robinson Day” over 50 years later, when every player on every team wears Jackie’s number, 42, specifically on April 15th. April also happens to be National Minority Health Month and in Los Angeles a lot has changed since 1947, certainly for minorities and the Dodgers.

    Over the past 50 years, nothing has changed health care in this country as much as Obamacare (Affordable Care Act). 2013 is the government’s last chance to excite and inform Americans on upcoming health care changes, specifically Exchanges which roll out this fall and go into effect January 1st, 2014.

    Why is the government so anxious to excite Americans over healthcare? In California, specifically there are over 7 million uninsured just waiting to improve their quality of life. What makes California so special? It has the largest number of uninsured, mainly minorities who have statistically more health problems and will benefit the most from health insurance.

    Covered California, the state-run Exchange, released page after page of health disparity research amongst minorities for their marketing campaign, hoping to use facts to ensure enrollment within ethnic communities where the government may not have reached out to in the past.

    Latinos will become the most common ethnicity in Los Angeles next year. Does this mean Caucasians will be educated on minority health every April? Whatever the outcome, the fact is Latinos are currently the unhealthiest group in California. Some shocking statistics to reflect on this month are:

  • Puerto Ricans have the highest numbers of infant, HIV, and asthma mortality cases.     
  • Mexican Americans have the highest rates of diabetes.                                                          
  • Hispanics have the lowest rate of vaccinations compared to other demographics (less than 40% of Hispanics over 18 have received inoculations).
  • Mexican Americans have a higher prevalence of obesity than non-Hispanics and have the most trouble controlling their blood pressure levels out of any demographic.

    These are just a few topics Covered California may touch upon in their education and outreach programs this summer. Another milestone to watch in April is on the 26th, when Covered California awards over $30 million to various educational and non-profit groups to start reaching out to minorities.

    Next year Obamacare mandates all Americans enroll in health insurance or pay a fine. Exchanges will debut October 1st 2013 but these plans won’t go into effect until January 1st, 2013. The government will also assist low-income Americans by offering health insurance tax credits (subsidies) so individuals and families who qualify can finally get the healthcare they deserve at a low cost (or sometimes free).

   How's free health insurance sound for National Minority Health Month?

08 April 2013

Roger Ebert: On Obamacare

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Roger Ebert: On Obamacare

    Roger Ebert’s blog on Chicago Sun-Times was always a hub for opinionated readers. Everyone from movie snobs in Los Angeles to casual fans across the world regularly replied to the star critic’s columns, sometimes battling it out in intense flame wars over such topics as Twilight, video games… even health insurance. When Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) passed over 3 years ago, Roger Ebert – always a sophisticated, snarky writer – not only supported the landmark law but provided a Nostradamus-esque prediction at the Guardian when commenting on the Republican party’s failure in stalling healthcare reform, “I doubt Sarah Palin will choose to speak at their next convention.” And she didn’t.

    Fast forward to 2012 (the same year as Palin’s nonexistent Republican National Convention speech) Ebert provided even more insight to support Obamacare when the Supreme Court upheld the health insurance law. Sometimes it’s just nice to hear from an intelligent, hardworking citizen and not a politician or CEO the following:

    “You might somehow get the idea this is all about raising taxes, or taking away your freedom, or that it's an assault by the federal government on states' rights. Those complaints are not about Health Care. They lead directly back to the controlling beliefs of the Obamacare opponents--that government is not to be trusted, that taxes are bad, that we must oppose "federal bureaucracy." These are short-term political talking points, used from the first in the fight against this legislation. They were outlined by those who make billions from our overpriced health care system, and parroted by the beneficiaries of their shadowy PACs.”

    He continues, “In the long term, Obamacare will work itself out and be perfected through countless tweaks and improvements. It is like that with all major new legislation. Remember that those groups who are most fierce in opposing Obamacare also fought against Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Federal Food and Drug Administration, and other attempts to improve the quality of life at the cost of corporate profits.”   

    Really there’s no better way to put how haters are reacting to Obamacare nowadays even if Roger Ebert posted his stance when healthcare reform was in its infancy. By highlighting some key excerpts from his blog, hopefully some sentence will resonate with naysayers who want what’s best for the country but don’t know how to distinguish the truth from the political hype. I close, or rather the man himself will close with this:

    "I had great health for most of my life. Then in my 60s, cancer pulled the rug out from under me. Five surgeries, four rehabilitations, you don't want to know. I was lucky to have good employment-based insurance. I maxed it out. Medicaid came to the rescue. Many people don't have any insurance at all, and many companies are laying off insured older workers and hiring younger ones who are not being offered a health plan... We need health care in this country. I suspect many of those opposed to it have never had to go through a health ordeal like mine. They may think they are well off and can handle their own expenses. They have no idea."

    RIP Roger Ebert.