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Democrats, don’t ask me for money

At the dawning of a new era in the United States as we lurch and stumble forward to fulfilling a dream of affordable health insurance for all our residents, I have been disappointed at how many Democratic leaders that helped pass President Obama’s signature first term accomplishment have been missing in action now that the Affordable Care Act is being implemented. When we need political and representational leadership most, the Democrats have abandon ship. To the Democratic Party I say, “Don’t ask me for money for your campaigns.”

Democrats abandon President and constituents

The Affordable Care Act represents a monumental change to the individual and family health insurance market place. Just like Medicare Parts A and B, Medicare Advantage Part C Plans and the Prescription Drug Plans, the ACA will forever change the landscape for families, doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies. Any ground shifting change is bound to have problems and that is where I expected leading Democrats to step up to the plate and show leadership. Instead I’ve witnessed a bunch of spineless politicians more interested in re-elections than their constituency.

Elected officials ignore Covered California

Not only have leading Democrats in California abandon our President, they have also forsaken the residents they have sworn to serve. Regardless of how an elected official feels about the ACA, when a constituent is having problems with a government agency such as Covered California, Department of Insurance or the Department of Managed Health Care, addressing the issue should be of the highest priority. But as Covered California has performed an excellent job torturing consumers with their enrollment website and customer service, California’s elected Democratic officials have remained virtually silent.

Democrats ignore serious consumer problems at Covered California

Aside from a couple local Democratic politicians that have organized some enrollment events, most elected Democrats offer little help to either enroll Californians or address their problems. The biggest stink has been over the low enrollment of Spanish speaking families that Covered California targeted as a priority. But where is the post enrollment follow-up from these Democrats when a simple application for health insurance turns into a David versus the bureaucratic Goliath’s of Covered California and the health plans.

Californians need help -

 

 

Elected Democratic officials should also be investigating why -

 

  • The health plans have overly restrictive networks
  • Doctors are refusing to take any Covered California health plans
  • The health plans were so overwhelmed with data and billing errors that new members are spending hours on the phone to talk to customer service representatives
  • Covered California call center phone lines are constantly jammed with callers and wait times exceed 30 to 60 minutes
  • The Covered California CalHEERS website went down for five days and was able to corrupt the applications of over 14,000 Californians (See: Covered California February outage corrupts applications)

 

Where are the elected Democrats?

  • Rep. Pelosi and Senators Boxer and Feinstein are all Medicare age and are probably still trying to figure out the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan initial, gap, and catastrophic coverage limits.
  • Governor Brown is more interested in attending University of California Board meetings about reducing staff pay than he is about battling the Covered California Board over a dysfunctional website that has cost Californians hundreds of thousands of lost hours on the phone waiting to talk to either the Covered California call center or health plan.
  • Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones seems to have a running feud with Peter Lee the Executive Director of Covered California and only has one plan, Health Net, that his department regulates that offers new ACA plans.
  • The California Department of Manage Health Care that oversees the Department of Health Care Services that partnered with Covered California to develop the CalHEERS enrollment website seems to be content with watching the whole fiasco unfold.

Democratic legislators refuse to call for any investigation or make comments critical of Covered California because they want no part of it before the 2014 elections.

Begging for campaign donations

Shortly, I will be bombarded with phone calls and direct mail begging me to contribute to state and congressional Democratic campaign victory funds. You folks can take me off your list. None of the Democrats have been there for me, my clients or the rest of California as Covered California put us through a nightmare these last four months. You have left the side of the President to save your own political skin. Why should I give you a dime of my money?

Democrats didn’t support me or my clients

Democrats don’t call me asking for money. You are a bunch of spineless cowards. When California needed representation and leadership, you evacuated out of state for lucrative fundraisers for your campaign and left California at the mercy of a dysfunctional health exchange bureaucracy. Democrats, you are the definition of a fair weather friend. The current crop of worthless politicians is what gives their opponents the opportunity to win.

Democrats that have not supported the ACA will not get my money.
  • alekdavis

    Well, at least Covered California has someone responsible for the daily updates of its Facebook page. :-)

    • http://Www.insuremekevin.com/ Kevin Knauss

      True, and half the comments are either complaints about Covered California or I think “planted” glowing reports of how wonderful life is now that they have subsidized health insurance.

  • Cali from San Diego

    Thank you, Kevin, for the good laugh! I needed that after the cry from reading all about my dilemma which you also addressed in your blog. Apparently I’m in that lovely loop of being in the process of losing my insurance soon, through divorce, at the ripe young age of fifty-five with no income, a home and modest means, for awhile. I do intend to create an income. I also have medical disabilities which preclude me from working full time. I need a very flexible schedule to accommodate those “bad” days. Therefore, self employment is my only feasible option. Because I don’t have five out of the past ten years paid into social security, I don’t qualify for regular benefits. My only option is SSI. That means I can’t have more than two or three thousand in the bank. That is a very scary proposition. And I couldn’t survive on the less than $900 per month allotted by SSI. I know people do, with HUD housing, etc. I’m just not sure how they eat!

    I’m curious to ask you, if I projected to make the income required at the threshold income to get into a paid plan, what would the premium cost me? I currently have TriCare Prime. Before that my Cal Cobra which had aged to HIPPA rose to $900 per month and I had to drop it, because it was eating up my cash reserves to survive. I read that it is possible to make an irrevocable trust to my son with rights to reside to skirt the claw-back of assets. I’m not opposed to that option, I just like to feel as if I have control over my autonomy.

    I am in 100% agreement with your righteous anger with our politicians. Shame on them. Because of my pre-existing medical conditions, and knowing so many women who have fallen into my own situation of being unable to afford to continue medical insurance, I was very supportive of the ACA. I don’t think anyone was under the illusion that it would roll out perfectly at it’s inception. However, our leaders, our vital voice in Washington, dropping the ball at such a critical time in it’s implementation and knowing the glaring flaws that need to be addressed is inexcusable. They don’t have my vote next time around either!

    Thank you for sharing great information. I’d be honored to hire you if I get on a paid plan. Oh…THANK YOU so much for your support of all of those whom some of your peers snubbed because they only qualified for MediCal. That was very honorable of you!

    Best Regards,

    Cali

    • http://Www.insuremekevin.com/ Kevin Knauss

      Thanks for the comments and support.

      A Bronze PPO plan in San Diego, 55 years old at 20k/year, would be approximately $1/ mon., an enhanced Silver about $107, Gold $207 and Platinum $304. There would also be numerous other plans (HMO, EPO) that would cost less.

      While Medi-Cal has gotten a bad rap, it is pretty good. However, if you have certain health challenges, the Medi-Cal system could create long waits for specialist physicians. But as way to save money, if you are eligible, Medi-Cal is great for folks and families that need some breathing room to save some money, get the next better paying job and then move up to a subsidize private plan.

  • Bev

    Thanks Kevin for the wonderfully informative site! One correction though– your article “Democrats don’t ask for money” states that the provider search feature has been removed from Covered California’s site. We found it today– it’s still there though hidden and hard to find!

    • http://Www.insuremekevin.com/ Kevin Knauss

      That curious, I reported what Covered California announced in the press released. They said they were taking it down indefinetly. I’ll have to snoop around.