Dear Fox News Viewer… The ACA (aka ObamaCare) Continues to Work

OK, this is fourth hand (on Liberal Humboldt via Kevin Drum via Andrew Sprung via Covered California) but here is the distilled wisdom.  It looks like we will have decreased increases in insurance rates and some of the reasons California is better off than other states include…

Now, California isn’t necessarily a bellwether for all the other states. Because it’s the biggest state in the union, it has lots of competition that helps drive down prices. A big population also means less variability from year to year. Also: California’s program is pretty well run, and the California insurance market is fairly tightly regulated. All this adds up to a good deal for consumers.

-Kevin Drum @ Mother Jones.

For those of you interested in the numbers (like any EW’s (eeeeww’s) or health-care shoppers who might be reading this) check out Andrew Sprung’s analysis.  He goes into the Silver vs Bronze Plans and Cost Savings Reductions (CSR).  It’s informative and fascinating and is an important waypoint in our attempts to manage out of control healthcare costs.  Here is an example…

For many low-income buyers, silver plan premiums are a hard swallow, and cheaper bronze plans, with their sky-high deductibles, are a serious temptation. But those with incomes under 201% FPL are leaving a really valuable benefit on the table if they fail to access CSR (for those at 200-250% FPL, CSR is much weaker and so more rational to forego).

– Andrew Sprung @ xpostfactoid

Finally, despite Republicans throwing everything at us to include the kitchen sink (King v Burwell), it looks like we will be able to prove again that sometimes the more government the more better.  (Universal health care anyone?)

If only conservatives and Republicans could take a breath, they might be able to appreciate that in part this was originally their idea (Obama’s ACA was based in part on Romney’s MassachusettsCare which was based in part on a Heritage Foundation plan which was a reaction to HillaryCare in the early nineties).  But they won’t and they can’t because it goes against their raison d-etre –  money belongs in the private sector where it can more easily line their pockets.

Today’s post sponsored in part by …. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

My name is Jon Yalcinkaya.  I happen to be an eewww (EW) (Eligibility Worker) with Humboldt’s DHHS.  I love my work and my union-supported job.  The opinions here happen to be my own and no one else’s (including DHHS management).

BTW: FPL = Federal Poverty Level.  200% FPL is ~ $23,500 for a single person.


Times-Standard Letter-to-the-Editor on Our Treaty with Iran

By Chip Skarpe of Bayside…

Iran deal a path to negotiated security 

Who are these people who want to undo an agreement arduously
negotiated to safeguard us and others from precipitous threats of war and nuclear arms? I’m tempted to dismiss them as nervous Nellies made paranoid by living with daily news of ever increasing cruelty and horror.

But that would be too kind.

Underlying these strident objections to a deal with Iran are partisan ambitions of people who choose to ignore that this is a plan carefully crafted by seven nations to hold Iran accountable and block future development of nuclear weapons. These are politicos who believe that they have benefited from past wars. They disregard the immense suffering and lasting mayhem brought us by their wars.

For eons before Ronald Reagan made famous the Russian proverb, “Trust, but verify,” peacemakers have been hammering out verification plans that will allow adversaries to avoid the horrors of war. For love of country and all that is holy, we should all be gratefully supporting this agreement.

So well said.  Thank you!

And on this subject from Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum: I Want to Hear a Good Argument Against Obama’s Deal With Iran …

I don’t want Iran to build a nuclear bomb. It would quite likely set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which is the last place on the planet that we want to have one. And as near as I can tell, this deal is our best chance to keep Iran nuclear free for a good long time. If any conservative can offer a better plan, I’m all ears. Either:

Describe a tougher deal that you can reasonably argue Iran would have accepted.


Explain why some other course of action would be better at keeping Iran nuclear free than a negotiated deal.
No name calling, no comparisons to Neville Chamberlain, no complaints that Iran hates Israel, and no blather about appeasement. Make an argument. A real argument about a course of action that would be better than the deal currently on the table. Let’s hear it.

5000 Years: Beautiful Dynamic Map of the World’s 5 Major Religions

2 minutes of easily-accessible Saturday a.m. brain food.

I can watch this over and over.  So much history captured here I would like to know more about.

What percentage of any day’s  international headlines relate directly to this map?

What do you find fascinating or did you learn?

Me – ●Hinduism in South America,   ●The rapid and discontinuous spread of Judaism in Europe,  ●Googling Judaism and Caspian Sea – The Khazars, ●The intransigence of the Malay Peninsula to Hinduism, then, Buddhism.

Look, I get it’s simplistic and there is a lot going on within the broad colors, but the satellite view over time does give a little perspective, no?  Credit to Alex Kuzoian of, wait, Business Insider? WTH?  Anyway, great job.  It’s a keeper.

Religion:  Is there anything outside of loved ones we feel more deeply and personally connected to?  But as this video demonstrates, is there anything more outside of our personal control?  Religion is more a function of our tribe than ourselves, isn’t it?

We’ll see where the future will lead us and how these maps change over time.

Four and a Half Hours by the Speed of Light

From the NYT

That’s how long New Horizon’s information packet will take to reach all of us (minus a few on the International Space Station) on Earth.

That is at the speed of light which is 670,616,629 miles per hour.

It took the New Horizons spacecraft 9 years to travel the 3 billion miles.

All this (mostly) to do 22 hours of work.

We lost contact with New Horizons at 8:17 PM PST last night and it won’t be until 1:20 PM PST this afternoon until the spacecraft will send “a message it survived and a brief summary of how the day went” (NYT).

It will take 4.5 hours to receive that message.  Expect to hear about it then at about 5:50 PM.  Bon Chance inanimate spacecraft.

Links from the NYT:

Pluto to Get a Close-Up After New Horizons’ 3-Billion-Mile Journey

Interactive Guide to The Fly-by

Video: Fast and Light to Pluto

After Pluto, What Should NASA Explore Next

Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, as seen from the Cassini spacecraft. Credit NASA (Caption from NYT)

Reaching Pluto, and the End of an Era of Planetary Exploration

“Happy Semi-annual End of the World Day” – Honey (via The Oatmeal)

My pooch Honey is not a huge fan of July 4th or January 1st for that matter.  Something obvious dog-lover and brilliant internet cartoonist Matthew Inman of understands.

If you’ve never visited The Oatmeal before, bookmark it.  You’re welcome,  Happy Fourth!