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Posts Tagged ‘health care’

Reposted from Daily Kos 16 February 2014 – go there to read the excellent discussion thread

For progressives it is no new story that astonishingly malnourished messaging by the Obama administration compounded by egregiously misrepresentative coverage by the mainstream media has allowed an unending flow of air to feed the anti-ACA (Obamacare) gluttons. Personal, anecdotal stories, many against and a few supporting the ACA have been around for months. What has been lacking are the “it worked for my small business” stories so I thought I would throw this onto the table for general consumption.

I own a small manufacturing business and we have always provided health insurance to our employees. This has come at great expense to our firm as the cost of our policy increased by double-digit percentages every year. In recent years, much to our shame, we could no longer survive the full cost of the insurance so we had to pass twenty percent on to all participating employees. That percentage was, in turn, enough to cause several employees to have to drop coverage entirely. We were horrified and crushed but no amount of shopping around seemed to get us close enough to be able to overcome the huge mountain of cost. Ultimately, we ended up covering seven employees for a cost of, brace yourselves, $6570.58 per month!!! Please forgive me my scoff when I hear people complain about the high cost of their coverage under the ACA. Quality insurance has, for many years, cost an obscene amount and anyone who doesn’t know that wasn’t really paying attention to all the details.

So, what have we done under the ACA?

Well, we dropped our former policy, the group coverage, for our employees…and they are thrilled.

Our former policy was equivalent to a silver plan plan under the ACA Marketplace so we asked each of our employees to go on-line into the Marketplace and find the cost of their individual silver plan options. We asked them to print out that section (which contains no actual, private, information). We calculated the median cost of a silver level plan for that person. Each employee now receives, on their paycheck, a line item called “Recommended Health Insurance Bonus” which constitutes one hundred percent of the median silver plan cost, as described above, plus the extra needed to allow for the tax hit so that each employee truly nets out the necessary amount for the insurance.

Every employee can now elect, of their own free will, to purchase insurance (or not) and at what “metal level”, utilizing the new bonus in the manner they feel is best suited for them.

Several things are notable about this.

1. We are now able to provide for 100% of the cost of insurance as opposed to eighty percent.

2. Because of where we are located, almost all the local providers of medical services are participating in plans offered through the ACA Marketplace so none of our employees experienced having to change doctors. (We were sure to check this prior to making the shift.)

3. The employees who were participating in the old policy and paying the 20% cost, no longer pay that deduction so they all received a net take-home raise (which several used to purchase gold level plans which are STILL much less expensive than what they were paying previously.)

AND NOW FOR THE BIG FINISH…

Before the ACA we were covering seven employees at a cost of $6570.58 per month. Now we are providing for the coverage of eleven employees at a cost of $1863.76 per month. This is a savings of $56,481.84 per year!!!

…which we are using to hire a new employee and purchase some, much needed, new tooling.

The ACA is a boon for small business and we, for one, are using it to grow. There’s the small business messaging that is missing from, well, everywhere. Spread the word.

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Before the revolution, meaning before it became more common for bunnies to live indoors and receive the level of health care rightfully accorded to most house rabbits, we lived short and very often miserable lives at the hands of careless, or at the very least uneducated, humans. However, in the last twenty years or so, great inroads have been made. More and more buns are living to be happy, healthy elder buns – including me. I’m nearly eleven. (Mia, next door, is almost twelve and her bonded partner, Moesha, who passed earlier this year, was fourteen.) Of course, the virtues of this are immediately apparent:

1. we have a longer time to hatch and execute our plots to take over the world (or is that just me?);

2. we have the proximity necessary to wrap humans around our little paws and make them dance like marionettes (or, again, is that just me?); and

3. instead of working every day on just staying alive, we have the time to become technically savvy so that we can…. (opps! I may have said too much…. Bwhahaha!).

Anyway, at the heart of all of this is the improved diet and health care afforded the modern house bun. That being said, I have some thoughts on the American health care system. I know, it has been a big subject in the media this year and I am late to the debate but I have been busy with other projects (see list above) and it was not until I was reminded, just this week, of how much I disapprove of  the current health care system that I felt compelled to comment.

Let’s start with the location. How is it that in order to, supposedly, feel better, I must first be packed, unwillingly, into a carrier and transported nearly half way across the known universe in order to receive an appropriate level of care? What’s the deal?!?! The dog who lives here can literally WALK three blocks to get to a veterinarian. Obviously, the education for most veterinarians is grossly lacking and must be completely overhauled. I am clear on the fact that I am both exceptional and notable enough to rate a specialist but that doesn’t excuse the local vet from being absolutely useless (and a known bunny killer, having used the wrong antibiotic on an unfortunate local bun.) Human universities need to get it together and prepare ALL of their veterinary graduates with at the very least the BASICS of bunny care. What could POSSIBLY be more important? Thump!

Now let’s move on to the facilities. What’s the deal with bunnies having to share with predators? This past week I was placed on a scale wich very clearly smelled of both dog and cat. There were no members of those species immediately apparent in the room but they can be shifty, especially cats, and one can never be too careful. (Mia tells me that Moesha’s personal mantra was “everyone eats bunnies, bunnies don’t eat anyone.” This strikes me as defeatist but not unwise.) My response, since the scale was on the floor, was to make a run for it. I got about six hops away before my efforts were mitigated by my being snatched up into the air. Hurrumph! My point being, humans clearly insist upon human-only medical facilities and I think bunnies and other non-predatory species should band together and do the same. Also, would it be so hard to have a scale made of some non-slippy material? Seriously, people, you try to stand there with fur covering 100% of the bottom of your paws! Thump! Thump!

I do find that the doctors and staff at the specialists which have attended to me to be, in the norm, as respectful as possible given the abhorrent circumstances. My most recent visit involved meeting Dr. Rebecca Naas, of Cincinnati’s Glenway Animal Hospital, for the first time. Dr. Naas was kind enough to sit on the floor to examine me and I have to tell you, this is very much appreciated since those examination tables really give me the creeps, not to mention flashbacks to earlier, unspeakably horrible experiences. Dr. Naas gave me a thorough exam and carefully checked my eyes all without having to have me more than one hop up off the ground. She also spoke directly with me. (I absolutely HATE it when doctors talk about me and not to me – it’s SO insulting.) She and I agreed that while my cataracts are much worse, my eyes are both “quiet” with zero indications of infection either there or anywhere else. We discussed the inevitability of aging and I have accepted this as one unfortunate part of the process. She even offered to refer me to a veterinary ophthalmologist should I have any further concerns. I elected to attempt a second escape at that moment so I think I made it plain that I am just fine, thank you, and not in need of another ride in the crate or another doctor poking at me. In general, as far as doctors go, I liked her and would recommend her to other buns. (Mia, btw, tells me that she sees another doctor in that same practice, a Dr. Diana Dornbusch Cron, and absolutely raves about her – as if a veterinarian COULD actually “walk on water.”)

As for the cost of health care, frankly, not my problem directly it still is a matter worthy of disapproval.  I endured several procedures in an attempt to address awful recurring infections prior to having my front teeth extracted (I still have PTSD about that and don’t really wish to discuss it here), have had numerous well-checks and this most recent trip to have my eyes evaluated. My medical expenses, therefore, have been substantial. This, of course, is nothing in comparison to my personal value. It does, however,  speak to the level of commitment necessary from my humans. I have no problem with the jobs they need to work in order to support me in the manner which I so richly deserve and to which I have become accustomed but it is worth saying that the cost of health care is one of the reasons bunny servitude (formerly known as bunny ownership) must not, at present, be undertaken lightly. More importantly, it serves to highlight the urgent need for national health care insurance for all members of the fur-covered community. While it is true that Bo, President Obama’s dog, and I will never be close friends, I do think we share this as a core value. I am expecting Bo to work toward this as a personal goal for the balance of the Obama presidency. I will vote accordingly.

Well, I must hop. An episode of Pinky & the Brain is coming on. It’s my favorite show. I even take notes sometimes. I’m thinking it will save me from making some of the same mistakes as my plans progress for… … …nevermind….

Pinky & the Brain

Pinky & the Brain

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