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Don't Blow Off ObamaCare

Update: Deadline extended until Friday for Colorado, no excuses needed, and on the national exchange until Thursday for those who had trouble logging on today (Official notice here.).

Midnight is the deadline to sign up for a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

I spent a good part of the day checking out the plans and talking to a very helpful Colorado Health Exchange adviser. (Yes, I was on hold for 40 minutes, I was 86th in line, but it was worth it. He spent 40 minutes with me reviewing the best plans for the benefits I wanted.)

There are some great deals available on the Exchange and a ton of plan options. The website for Colorado is fast and easy to navigate. You can also access the details of each plan's coverage so you aren't buying a pig in a poke.[More....]

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Obama's Healthcare Tuesday Speech - the contents

Here's what's going to happen come Tuesday.  This is my naked prediction, i.e., independent of any outside information.  I've been sitting on this for two days, more out of laziness in putting it on the screen than anything else.

And those of you who remember these things, will remember I am usually pretty darn good at my predictions being right.

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Grand Junction Odds and Ends

Wrapping up President Obama's visit to Grand Junction yesterday:

  • While Obama was at the health care forum, Michelle Obama and their daughters toured High Country Orchards, famous for its peaches, in nearby Palisade. (You can order online, or buy them at Whole Foods and some King Soopers stores.)
  • Both the Grand Junction Police Department and Mesa County Sheriff's Office assisted with security for the President's visit. The police department estimates it cost them $3,000 to $5,000 and the Sheriff's office puts its tab around $5,000 to $10,000. Both agencies said it was an honor to assist the Secret Service and will not seek reimbursement from the feds. There were no arrests.

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Dems Introduce 852 Page Health Care Bill

The Democrats have introduced an 852 page health care bill. First off, we'd get a Health Czar and another federal agency:

Under the House bill, health insurance would be regulated by a powerful new federal agency, headed by a presidential appointee known as the health choices commissioner.

And we'd get a public health plan, that will be opposed by insurance companies, Republicans, business owners and doctors. Why doctors?

The plan would initially use Medicare fee schedules, paying most doctors and hospitals at Medicare rates, plus about 5 percent. After three years, the health secretary could negotiate with doctors and hospitals....The bill would limit what doctors could charge patients in the public insurance plan, just as Medicare limits what doctors can charge beneficiaries.

It will require everyone to have a qualifying insurance plan and violators have to pay penalties. [More...]

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Utah Plan Would Require Mandated Health Insurance

As a follow-up to this post about Barack Obama's response to Paul Krugman's column about the failure of Obama's health care plan to include a mandate for universal health care coverage, I thought it interesting that Utah is considering a plan that would require every resident to have health insurance. Advisors to Gov. Gov. Jon Huntsman say it's the way to go:

"This is not government insurance. We don't think that's the solution to these challenges. Individuals are going to have more responsibility," [House Majority Leader Rep. David Clark,] said. "Our goal is to try to find a way for every Utahn to have an opportunity to have access to health care." For the poor, the plan would aim to boost enrollment in existing programs such as Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and Utah's Premium Partnership for Health, which helps workers pay premiums.

Working residents who do not qualify for those programs but can't afford health insurance would receive subsidies that put coverage within their reach. People who can afford health insurance but don't buy it could be prohibited from enrolling in university classes or getting a job. Nielsen said it's possible they could also someday face a tax penalty, as is the case in Massachusetts.

The Salt Lake Tribune has more on the plan.

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Comparing Hillary and Obama on Health Care

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have introduced health care plans. Hillary says Obama's plan leaves 15 million people uncovered and only provides mandatory coverage for children.

That appears to be the case. Here's Obama's plan (pdf.) There is a mandate that applies only to children.

Nor has Obama been consistent in his statements on universal health care.

Hillary maintains her plan not only covers everyone but also, like Obama's, cuts costs. Her plan is here (pdf).

Both plans are improvements over our current system. I agree with Hillary that mandatory coverage should include everyone, not just children and 15 million uninsured is too many.

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Mich. Prison System Held in Contempt of Court

A federal judge in Michigan has found the state's the DOC in contempt of court. He ordered DOC to provide more prison doctors and nurses within four months. He's threatened the DOC with a $2 million fine.

He said a prisoner deserves to serve his sentence, not face delays in treatment.

"What he does not deserve is a de facto and unauthorized death penalty at the hands of a callous and dysfunctional health care system that regularly fails to treat life-threatening illness," Enslen wrote.

This isn't the Judge's first ruling taking the DOC to task.

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