I voted for Barack Obama twice, holding my nose the second time. “All presidents disappoint”, Bill Moyers reminded his viewers during the euphoria (for many) when Obama was elected the first time. Moyers’ reminder was one of the most sobering, and prophetic, I can recall. Obama, smooth, thoughtful, droll, sensitive, has disappointed more than any other president in my lifetime.
For but one example of my disappointment, let’s have a peek at his signature achievement, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, the program the president-elect has vowed to repeal as soon as he’s inaugurated.
I am the only person I know who is directly affected by the outgoing president’s masterful compromise with the massive health care corporations who need to remain as lucrative as ever. I speak of the workings of the PPACA with bitter personal familiarity unmixed with statistical satisfaction of any kind about things like the possible long-term altering of medical care cost vectors.
The law was a hasty compromise with what was sorely needed to prevent tens of thousands of preventable American deaths every year. It was written, by industry insiders, to ensure, above all else, that the private insurance and drug industries would remain as healthily profitable as possible.
Written by wealthy health industry lifer Elizabeth Fowler (check out the great five minute Bill Moyers clip at the bottom of the link) who worked, during a brief sabbatical in ‘public service’, for the most handsomely paid (by the Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical industries) man in government, Montana Senator Max Fucking Baucus.
Baucus apparently admitted never having read the bill, stating that it would have been a “waste of time” to do so, because only an expert could understand its 2,700 pages (NOTE: the author of the linked Washington Post article, no friend of Mr. Obama’s, is a professor at the ‘Antonin Scalia Law School’ whatever the devil that infernal place is). A somewhat less biased account of Baucus, with a passing note on his ambivalent role in the crafting and passage of the PPACA, is here.
One learns from the Grey Lady article that Baucus is the scion of a “prominent and mostly Republican” Montana ranching dynasty who always “marched to his own drummer” as he did, one assumes, when accepting Obama’s appointment as ambassador to China rather than face sure defeat in a re-election bid as Montana Senator after three and half decades on the job.
Baucus took over the lead role shepherding through the PPACA when Ted Kennedy died. Baucus is known (albeit not well) for these right-wing, business-pleasing votes, as well as for taking millions in campaign contributions from concerned health industry lobbyists:
In 2001 Mr. Baucus defied Tom Daschle, then the Senate Democratic leader, by co-writing President George W. Bush’s tax cuts, setting off screaming matches between the two Democrats. In 2003, Mr. Baucus broke ranks to support a Medicare prescription drug benefit that Democrats viewed as a giveaway to drug companies. (source)
You can google either of these characters, Baucus or Fowler, to read their sordid bios. One can admire the way Ms. Fowler danced through the revolving doors, and made millions while serving her fellow health industry executives, without applauding, or even cracking a smile about, the sickening health care law she lovingly crafted for Mr. Obama’s signature.
Anyway, I’m just worked up because I got “an important notice” from the New York State of Health in the wee hours of the morning. It arrived at 3 a.m., certainly the most effective hour to send such crucial health insurance-related news that likely impacts a patient’s immediate health insurance coverage. It read:
A notice has been sent to your inbox in your account. This notice tells you important information you need to know about your health coverage for you and/or your family.
You must log into your account on the NY State of Health website to read the notice.
The careless motherfuckers at New York’s Obamacare “marketplace”, The New York State of Health, contacted me last year, with an almost Josef Goebbels-like sense of mischief, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to inform me I would be ineligible for health insurance until March 1, 2016, at the earliest, and gave me seven (7) days to provide all tax forms and a full, written explanation of why I should be given health insurance at all.
Almost lost in my inbox, I took a moment just now to log into the accursed site and read this:
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Today is December 4th, please come back AFTER December 15th to keep your insurance up-to-date and in place for 2017. On, or just after, December 15th you will then have up to 24 hours — provided our servers, often overloaded just before our short, arbitrary registration deadlines, do not crash– to provide all required updates within that short window in those leisurely days before Christmas, or lose your insurance coverage until, the earliest, March 1, 2017.
Or maybe not. Nobody you speak to at New York State of Health, after a wait of no more than 25 minutes, will have the definitive word on what’s what. The only thing you can rely on regarding the New York State of Health is not getting reliable information. Take heed, though, and take that to the bank, bitch.
I’ll be eagerly following Barack Obama’s career as a private sector public speaker. I am confident that my man will break all existing earning records for corporate speaking. He’s that good.