by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 


Articles tagged with: covered california insurance

07 November 2014

Proposition 45 Defeated, But at Least There's a New Legend of Zelda

Posted in Latest News

Proposition 45 Defeated, But at Least There's a New Legend of Zelda

It’s been 48 hours since 2014’s midterm election results. If you restarted your playthrough of Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask on Election Night like me, you know Link has 24 hours left to save Termina but it’s too late for Democrats and cheap health insurance rates.

While everyone clamored this week over conservatives taking over, Nintendo unveiled a trailer for Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, which will slowly take over fanboys’ minds until its release in 2015. What else may come in 2015? If companies take advantage of Proposition 45’s defeat on Election Night, then we’ll be seeing a whole lot of insurance rate hikes. At least they’ll be in 3D.

The death knell heard from Clock Town, the official Democrat headquarters of all 2014 campaigns, signaled the demise of Senators, Governors, and the once-popular Proposition 45. In June, 69% of Californians supported Prop 45, which if passed, would have allowed the Insurance Commissioner in California to veto unjust rate increases for health insurance like commissioners already do in 35 other states and like California does for auto and home insurance. As predicted in an earlier blog, it was only a matter of time and Giant Wallets of money to change voters’ opinions.

The last opinion polls in October showed the grim reality: 43% opposed Prop 45 versus 38% in support. Proposition 45 backers like Consumer Watchdog spent $6.2 million to retain voters but it was green rupees compared to the $52 million war chest used by health insurance companies like Kaiser Permanente, Wellpoint, and Health Net to block health insurance regulation.

Chart by Ballotopedia

Besides way too much money, what helped opponents defeat Prop 45 was consistent negative messaging. Without any clue how they got my address, even I received mailers intended to lure voters from the Light Realm into the Dark.

The most common theme used to bash 45 was the demonization of the Insurance Commissioner, who might one day become “One Sacramento politician with too much power” as mailers with a Majora's Mask watermark repeated. 

This message led voters to believe the commissioner would interfere with rate negotiations between Covered California and insurance companies, which could lead to higher costs and more bureaucracy and litigation using taxpayer rupees. In reality, Proposition 45 empowered the Commissioner to veto rates only if insurance companies proposed unjust ones in the first place.

One theory suggests Prop 45 was like a lone Skull Kid doomed to lose a power struggle of lunar proportions against insurance giants: Anthem, HealthNet, and Kaiser because voters just don't care who controls insurance costs as long as they're low. Since voters experienced relatively low rates under Covered California, at least for the first two years of Obamacare's open enrollment, they voted for the status quo and against Prop 45. 

Insurance prices could stay low without Proposition 45's help. If not, we'll have to wait for the dawn of a new proposition. It's not like we can warp back using the Song of Time and change our vote. At least, not until the release of Majora's Mask.

15 October 2014

San Fernando Valley on Highest Alert Ever for West Nile Virus

Posted in Latest News

San Fernando Valley on Highest Alert Ever for West Nile Virus

California may not have Ebola yet, but there's buzz of an equally incurable outbreak: mosquitoes buzzing with West Nile Virus in the San Fernando Valley.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported 31 human cases of West Nile Virus including 2 fatalities this week in Los Angeles county alone. So far in 2014, over 375 humans and 3,210 mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus in California.

Three San Fernando Valley neighborhoods: Canoga Park, Sherman Oaks, and Encino discovered at least 9 mosquitoes with West Nile Virus, according to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD). 

It's the highest level ever of West Nile Virus mosquito cases in California, according  Dr. Ron Chapman, Director of CDPH. "First Ebola. Now this? Thanks, Obama!" he didn't add. 

To help prevent West Nile Virus from spreading, CDPH prepared the public with "Three Ds" to practice:

DEET - Apply bug spray with DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus, the latter which doubles as a koala aphrodisiac. 

DAWN & DUSK - These are the times when mosquitoes are hungriest. Make sure your window and door screens are fixed to prevent unwanted mosquito break-ins while you're awakening or "asleeping". 

DRAIN - Mosquitoes love popping out of Super Mario pipes when you least expect them. They also love to lay eggs on still water. So drain any water collected in flower pots, buckets, or high-risk pools. Remember, there's no cure for West Nile Virus. Not even in the other castle. 

Certified Covered California insurance agents were as rare as a West Nile Virus mosquito, but now there's one case of each in Canoga Park. 

Covered California agents in San Fernando Valley would like to provide the "Three Ds to Prevent Paying Out of Pocket for Treatment In Case You Get Ebola and/or West Nile Virus":

DRIVE to 7345 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park and park in the back of the Covered California enrollment office: that's us! 

DOOR - Open it and walk upstairs to your appointment. 

DON'T FORGET to get your insurance card. It comes in the mail after you pay your first bill. An insurance card can be a handy mosquito swatter, so why not apply for one today?

1 in 5 infected with West Nile Virus develops fevers and fatigue that could last for weeks or months. 10% of people who develop neurological infection from West Nile Virus die. Unlike Ebola, 70-80 percent of people with West Nile Virus don't develop any symptoms, let alone garner any Presidential alerts, Twitter hash-trends, or South Park parodies. 

GLACVCD spokeswoman, Kelly Middleton warned mosquitoes will continue to bite through November until California's first "significant cold snap". That could easily fall on November 15, the first day of open enrollment.

Until then, we'll keep close to the sentinel chickens living in our neighbor's yard. Not to be confused with mutant-killing robots on X-Men, sentinel chickens are immune to West Nile Virus and develop antibodies that are detectable to humans and help track infected mosquitoes.

So far, our neighbors don't seem too concerned. They haven't asked to buy insurance yet.