My Obamacare journey Installment 1

Count me among the millions in the country and the thousands in Alaska that don’t have health insurance.

I’m looking forward to really digging in and learning about how the Affordable Care Act works for Alaskans. And I’ll be sharing my journey here on The LegHead Report’s website.

businesses,health insurance,healthcare,medicines,metaphors

Microsoft Graphic

There are  a number of articles posted on The LegHead Report Facebook page that everyone should find useful.

Here is my Live Chat with the person at the official Obamacare site (healthcare.gov), which wasn’t very useful.

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Live Chat Sept 25 Wed about 4:15 pm AST with Yadira at HealthCare.gov

(HealthCare.gov is the official Obamacare site where you go to learn more and to sign up for the insurance exchange.)

[4:06:03 pm]: Thanks for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Please wait while we connect you to someone who can help.
[4:06:06 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:06:15 pm]: Welcome! You’re now connected to Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat.

Thanks for contacting us. My name is Yadira. To protect your privacy, please don’t provide any personal information, like Social Security Number, or any other sensitive medical or personal information.

[4:06:37 pm]: Maggie
Hi. I live in Kodiak, Alaska 99615. How can I get help to register?
[4:06:46 pm]: Yadira
Welcome to the Health Insurance Marketplace, my name is Yadira, how may I help you?
[4:07:28 pm]: Maggie
When I type in my zip code for 99615 the computer says there is 0 help in my area. Got any suggestions?
[4:07:41 pm]: Yadira
Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins on October 1, 2013. You can take a number of steps now to prepare for open enrollment. This includes gathering basic information like your household income, making a list of questions you might have before you choose your health plan, and visiting HealthCare.gov to learn about different types of insurance and common terminology.

When enrollment begins, you can find and submit an application online, over the phone, or by mailing it to the Marketplace. In addition to calling us here, you will have access to in-person assistance to help answer your application questions.

The Marketplace will offer a single application that determines your eligibility for multiple health care programs, including private plans, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. You will also be able to find out if you’re eligible for lower costs on your monthly premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs. If the Marketplace determines that you are eligible, you will be able to compare health plans and select the plan that meets the needs of your family and your budget.

[4:08:30 pm]: Maggie
Does this mean you can’t offer any help as to where to go locally for information? Is there someplace in Alaska that I can call for info?
[4:09:49 pm]: Maggie
Hello? Are you still there?
[4:10:26 pm]: Yadira
Thank you for your patience.
[4:11:46 pm]: Yadira
Federal grants are helping states and territories start or strengthen consumer assistance programs that can help you with any health insurance problems. They can help you file complaints or appeals and understand your rights and responsibilities.

Even if your state does not have a consumer assistance program, you still have rights and protections under the health care law, including the right to appeal decisions made by your health insurance provider.

If you are covered by a job-based health plan, you can contact the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor at askebsa.dol.gov or 1-

[4:12:56 pm]: Maggie
OK. This wasn’t much help. I’ll keep trying.
[4:13:15 pm]: Yadira
You may want assistance during the application and enrollment process, and there will be many resources available to help you. In all states, the Health Insurance Marketplace will offer several kinds of assistance to help you understand your health coverage options and select a plan that meets your needs.

Beginning October 1, 2013, there will be people in your community trained and certified to help you. They will be known by different names, for instance Navigators, application assisters, or certified application counselors, depending on who provides the service and where they are located, but all will provide similar kinds of help. Insurance agents and brokers can also help you with your application and choices.

Also, assistance is available 24/7 by calling us here or through the online chat at HealthCare.gov.

[4:15:12 pm]: Yadira
Do you have any other questions that I can help you with?
[4:15:31 pm]: Yadira
Thank you for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. We are here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
[4:15:38 pm]: Your chat session is over. Thanks for contacting us, and we hope we’ve answered your questions. Have a great day.
[4:15:38 pm]: 9/25/2013

55 Years after Alaska Statehood Act

We're In Alaska Statehood passed by U.S. Senate

This  “We’re In” photo was taken on June 30, 1958 the day the U.S. Senate passed The Alaska Statehood Act.

The famous photo, above, was taken the next day after the paper was flown to Washington, D.C.

The Statehood Act didn’t go into effect immediately–Alaska actually became a state in January 1959.

 

A week of Statehood History

June 30 is anniversary of the passage

of the Alaska Statehood Act

TLHR June 24 Mon 49th Star Statehood Commission

            Sunday June 30 marks the anniversary of an important date here in Alaska. It’s the day in 1958 when the U.S. Senate passed the Alaska Statehood Act which authorized the Territory of Alaska to take its place among the other 48 states in the Union.

            If you’re a history buff, or would just like to look at some cool old photos, be sure to check out the Alaska Statehood Commission’s website.

            It was created several years ago to mark the 50 Anniversary of statehood, but is just a relevant today in that it’s always fun to read about how Alaska became a state and to glance at funky old photos and videos.

            Including this one about Alaska’s 49th Star…

A look at the men for whom Alaska’a Army bases were named

 

July 14 was Army Appreciation Day

 

Alaska has three major Army installations. Each named after military men who had interesting and inspiring stories.

 

TLHR June 18 Tues Army Appreciation Day Ft Rich Wainwright 1 of 2

TLHR June 19 Wed Army Appreciation Day Greely 2 of 2

 

Jonathan M. Wainwright.jpg, the man for whom Fort Wainwright in Alaska was named

Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright

By now we all know that Friday June 14th was Flag Day. But did you know that it was also Army Appreciation Day and marks the formation of the very first professional army in the United States—which if you think of it had to have actually formed before the United States was a country. Or how else were the colonists able to fight the British for freedom?

The Continental Army consisted of troops from all 13 colonies and on June 14, 1775, a year before the signing of the Declaration

of Independence, the Second Continental Congress formally established the Continental Army for purposes of common defense.

Here in Alaska, more than 230 years later, Governor Sean Parnell signed a declaration of his own establishing June 14 as Army Appreciation Day.

Alaska has three major Army installations: Fort Richardson which is now part of a combined base with the former Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage. Fort Greely is about 100 south of Fairbanks, and Fort Wainwright is in Fairbanks.

Fort Wainwright was named for the man who was responsible for

Man for whom Fort Richardson in Alaska was named

Wilds Preston Richardson

resisting the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in World War II.  Major General Mayhew Wainwright IV was senior field commander of Filipino and U.S. forces under General Douglas MacAuthur when Allied forces defended the entrance to Manila Bay on January 19, 1942.

               Fort Greely was named for Aldolphus Washington Greely, a Polar explorer whose ship ventured into areas near Greenland. Even though Greely’s explorations were on the other side of North America, there’s an interesting Alaska connection.

               The Revenue Cutter Bear—which is the Coast Guard says is probably its most famous ship—patrolled and was responsible for many famous rescues in Alaska. The rescue part was where the Bear and Greely connect.

               Despite having made many historical discoveries on his Greenland expedition, Greely had no arctic experience and when the ship’s supplie

s didn’t show up his crew had to be rescued by the Cutter Bear, which one assumes was on patrol in the Atlantic at the time.

Unfortunately, according to Wikipedia, by the time the Bear and two other ships arrived on June 22, 1884, to rescue the expedition, nineteen of Greely’s 25-man crew had perished from starvation, drowning, hypothermia, and, in one case, gunshot wounds from an execution ordered by Greely.

               And finally, Fort Richardson was named for Wilds Preston Richardson who was a notable explorer and geographer in Alaska in the early 1900s. He lead the Polar Bear Expedition as part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War as an effort to help the Czechoslovak Legions secure munitions and arms in Russian ports and to re-establish the Eastern Front.

The man for whom Fort Greely in Alaska was named.

Adolphus Washington Greely

 

Resources:

Governor Sean Parnell’s Declaration of Alaska Army Appreciation Day

Fort Greely

WikipediaBase Website

Fort Richardson (Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson)

Wikipedia

Fort Wainwright

WikipediaBase Website

The Army in Alaska

Kodiak’s Fort Greely

Begich and Alaska Legislature fight to prevent Frankenfish from being approved

TLHR March 15 Fri Sen Mark Begich opposing Frankenfish

 

Here’s my favorite quote from a politician so far this year. It comes from Alaska Senator Mark Begich in his address to the Alaska Legislature earlier this month.

He’s telling legislators that he was able to extend the deadline for comments on Frankenfish and is gaining the support of others in Washington to oppose the genetically modified fish that poses such a danger to Alaska’s native salmon and the Alaska fishing industry.

Sen. Mark Begich’s comment: 

The company that’s producing it doesn’t like the name Frankenfish (laughter in background)…We do.

Begich went on to explain the importance of stopping Frankenfish and to thank the legislature for passing a resolution opposing genetically modified fish.

Sen. Mark Begich’s comments:

Seafood is another vital industry for Alaska. We lead the nation in sustainable management of our wild fisheries and account for over half of the seafood produced in the United States. To protect that industry, I will continue to fight, and we as a delegation are unified on this against the genetically engineered salmon, otherwise called “Frankenfish” which is a threat to our environments and markets of wild salmon.

I introduced legislation to ban its sale, require more data on the impacts caused by their escapes, and at a minimum—at a minimum—be labeled in the marketplace.

When the FDA recently took the next step in approval of Frankenfish, I led the effort to extend the public comment period and am now recruiting other senators to join me in opposing this approval.

I thank the Alaska Legislature and the leadership of Representative Gara and Tarr [Anchorage Democrats Wes Gara and Rep. Geran Tarr] for joining in this effort, this fight in recent passage of your resolution opposing Frankenfish [HJR5]. (Claps from audience, legislators.)

Alaska Senator Mark Begich speaking before a joint session of the Alaska Legislature.

We have more on the Frankenfish issue as well as links to other sources of information on our website LegHead.com. That’s leg as in legislature, head as in let’s all get smarter about the things that affect us.

Resources:

AlaskaFishRadio.com  Laine Welch has long followed the problems associated with genetically modified fish and the threat they pose to Alaska’s commercial fishing industry.

Related Articles on the Web:

Food & Water Watch. Stop Frankenfish.

Washington Times (Washington State) article includes background and timeline for approval.

Women’s Health. The scary way foods are modified.

Rodale Press. The fishy risk the FDA is taking with your health. Rodale Press has been the Go To Source for healthy living and back-to-basics in terms of food and life since the ’60s.

Cornucopia Institute Action Alert. The comment deadline extended to April 26th.

Salmon.Sized

Normal vs Genetically Modified Fish from Cornocopia Institute website. GM fish grow bigger faster, but at what cost to fish health, human health and the ecosystem?

 

 

 

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