How to sign up for healthcare with the ACA.

You can sign up in Washington state until January 15th, for coverage that would start February 1st. Questions? see other post here for more instructions .

There is also help available from certified navigators on Mondays in Port Townsend (9-5 at the DSHS office at 915 Sheridan). People should call Sandra Padilla at 253-280-9880 or email her at SandraPadilla@SeaMarCHC.org.

Everyone (that means you!) can play a roll here to get the word out. There are a lot of myths out there, especially with the Trump administration determined to undermine “Obamacare.” Contrary to popular belief, benefits are in place and will not change for 2018.

One way to slash drug prices: Leave insurance card at home | The Seattle Times

This outrageous situation points to the fact that the cozy relationship between pharmacies and drug manufacturers has to change. That a pharmacy industry representative would say that people on high deductible plans are going to pay more for their prescriptions is frankly absurd. Why bother with these companies at all?
https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/one-way-to-slash-drug-prices-leave-insurance-card-at-home/

Homeless Student Count Reaches All-Time High – The Skanner and Oregon Dept of Ed.

The numbers keep growing. Locally, we find reasons to reject helping them with any kind of tax to build new homes for them. This is the black mark of our supposed democracy. That we cannot find a solution supported by the average voter, to help those that have fallen through the safety net (if one even exists anymore). The story from Oregon. We’ve already reported on the one from Washington.

The number of students meeting the federal definition of homeless is up for the fourth year in a row, reaching a new record for both the number and percentage of homeless enrolled students.

For the 2016-17 school year, 22,541 students “lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence” which the federal government classifies as homeless. That represents 3.9 percent of the entire public K-12 student population.

http://www.theskanner.com/news/northwest/26170-homeless-student-count-reaches-all-time-high?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

80 affordable apartments for seniors opened in Bham. How long before all were rented? – Bellingham Herald

What we could have done with the Prop 1 money. So Prop 1 people, how are we going to solve the housing crisis here?

The Eleanor Apartments on North Forest Street opened in mid-September. Built by Mercy Housing Northwest, the four-story building is near bus services and has 80 one-bedroom units, a 3,000-square-foot community center, and health and wellness services on site through a partnership with PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center. About $2 million for the project came through the city – a little more than $1.7 million from the levy Bellingham voters approved in 2012 to help the needy and the homeless get into affordable housing and roughly $280,000 from federal sources

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article183119461.html

First results show Bruce McComas in lead.

The first wave of election results are in for what was one of the filthiest campaigns ever run in this county. Bruce McComas, backed by a hospital administration sowing fear and loathing, lies by the medical society to protect their privileged status, dysfunctional behavior by some of the hospital commissioners themselves, fundamental religious lunacy from the ER doc Kent Smith (“there are times God offers a gift. And we reject it at our own peril. I believe Bruce is such a gift.”)  and general scare tactics by a wide swath of people who did their best to stop a highly qualified woman in seeking a position to help the county hospital district, is showing a small lead at this point. This was as ugly as the election to stop Hilary by any means of last year. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the Russians and Bernie Sanders were helping Bruce. Just who is Bruce McComas that he has surrounded himself with people willing to say anything to get him elected? Haven’t we got enough of that kind of behavior in Washington D.C. at the moment?

As of Tuesday night,  Mr McComas holds a lead of 51.66% over 48.34%. There are a number of votes to be counted from all three voting ballot boxes for the day of the election. It is not inconceivable that Cheri could catch Mr. McComas, but it is going to be tough.

One of the astonishing facts is that over 1000 voters did not vote for either candidate.

The next count of votes is on Thursday, check back then.

Whatever the outcome, the belief that this hospital is somehow special is shattered for good. The idea of putting my healthcare in the hands of this group of  people after seeing what they have done to stop this qualified woman is out of the question.   I know there are good people at Jefferson Healthcare. I’ve gotten emails from them off hours. I’ve had them stop me at QFC. They tell me that they were going to vote for Cheri but were afraid for their jobs to go public with that vote.  But the behavior of those people inside this hospital and out, who would spread any lie to stop Cheri was astonishing to witness, and puts a stain on this administration and it’s facility. I applaud her for carrying herself with such dignity in the face of such ugly tactics.  Let’s hope for some change to the results by Thursday.

 

 

Ballots are in. VOTE:

There are two ballot choices now for you. Let’s look at them.

Proposition 1: This small tax will go to help get the most needy in our county into permanent housing. We know we are in crisis in low income housing, watching for a couple of years now as the small amount of available long term rentals have been converted into AirB&B luxury rentals. Low income people have been driven out of Port Townsend as have young couples. This proposition will not radically change or fix this, but will allow, in a few years, for the county to help builders decide to build some new housing for this group of people. It has worked in Bellingham, Portland and elsewhere.

Having housing was identified in our Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Many studies have shown that people in permanent housing are healthier than those who have the stress of not knowing where they are going to be living, or being driven out of their home town because it’s becoming too expensive for them to live.

I am not happy that the supporters of Prop 1 decided, in this year of property tax increases to put this on the ballot, but it is what it is.

Let’s do this. Vote Yes.

Hospital District Commissioner: Cheri Van Hoover

I have been a supporter of Cheri’s since day one. She is eminently qualified. While her opponent is a fine man, I don’t buy the argument that we somehow “need” a businessman in this role. We never have had a businessman in the role, and it seems we’ve done fine. We might as well have said the same thing when Marie Dressler and Jill Buhler were elected, but it appears that, despite their lack of business experience, they have been considered successful at their role. What we need is a person with the skills in knowing how healthcare works and what healthcare policy is all about. That’s Cheri.

What has been more disheartening has been to see the levels at which Bruce’s supporters are willing to go to attack Cheri. There have been a series of lies told, including within the medical society and elsewhere, that she is somehow the stooge of Commissioner Kees Kolff, that Kees wants to put our hospital in financial risk, and that the two of them are out to oust CEO Mike Glenn.  Let’s be clear, that is a sexist charge at it’s core. Sexist because it belittles her experience and ties her to a man whom she barely has ever even worked with. And it’s untrue. While Commissioner Kolff is happy with Cheri’s qualifications, he did not put her up to running. That was done in an effort to recruit more qualified women candidates by County Commissioner Kate Dean.  And secondly, having watched Kees Kolff work for the last few years at this job, I really don’t understand the level of vehemence being shown against him, particularly by outgoing commissioner Tony DeLeo, Marie Dressler and Jill Buhler.  Having listened to their angry tirades against Kees, it reminds me of high school more than a mature adult discussion. And I have never heard Kees sink to their levels.

Lastly, if you need more fuel to make up your decision, in the last month, the supporters of Proposition 1 brought their arguments to the Hospital Commissioners to ask for their support. Marie, Jill and Tony all voted not to support this, saying it was too ‘controversial’.  What they failed to take into consideration, is that the hospital administration staff had been part of the team that wrote into the CHIP that low income housing was a health issue. That after supporting the CHIP that these commissioners have so little courage as to not stand up and say to the county that we need this, our hospital staff have identified it as a community need, and while we know it’s controversial, we would like to endorse it, is cowardice in the extreme. These people want to see Cheri’s opponent join them. That alone is enough for me to vote for Cheri.

The Hospital Commission has been a refuge for the well heeled of this community to go and do very little, other than spend huge sums of money hiring the CEO ($80k for a search firm), rubber stamping the administration demands, and doing little of consequence to help promote greater healthcare in the community at large. The election of Matt Ready a few years ago shook this cozy relationship up (and I am not a supporter of Mr. Ready, I don’t feel he has been effective at all), and Kees Kolff’s election really shook them up, because it brought the “outsiders” to within one vote of being able to drive a new and more progressive agenda of community health policy onto the board. Kees has done an outstanding job of trying ever so gently to move the needle, but has found angry resistance from Tony and Marie in particular.

Now these three have gone out and found a candidate that fits their ‘go along get along’ point of view, while Cheri has shown up and put her long resume in front of the county voters to show that she is committed to women’s health and seeing that we do more to achieve the goals of the CHIP, beyond the hospital itself. For that, she has endured personal attacks from even the insular medical society here, based on misinformation that Dr. Erickson presented to them, either purposely or by a lack of background checking the information that was presented to him.

Whatever the outcome, this nasty backstabbing election politics has altered this community. Rather than debate the facts,the perceived need to drag rumor, fear and misinformation into this has been simply a sad fact of life after Trump. After interviewing both candidates, I don’t think there is any need to demonize either of them. The hospital will continue on just fine, as long as Medicaid and Medicare aren’t slashed. And if they are, we need strong advocates, who are going to take our issues to the state capital and perhaps beyond to save our hospital. I trust Cheri to help in that role. It’s a matter of direction and advocacy that is at the heart of this election choice.  The reality is that the hospital commissioners have voted unanimously for almost all votes of significance. They ultimately have agreed upon the direction that Mike Glenn is leading the hospital. But the wounds that McComas’ supporters have inflicted on civic debate won’t soon be forgotten.

Vote for healthcare policy experience. Vote for Cheri Van Hoover.