More adventures in Obamacare

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I have spent a couple of hours today, trying to pay my health insurance premiums. I paid them last month, but they have no record. They have no record, but I’m pretty sure that magically, the two-month payment will be siphoned out of my checking account if I try to pay it again.

The other problem is that they’re trying to bill me for the original high-deductible policy that was supposed to be cancelled. It’s $100 more, so it matters. (Oddly enough, when I log into the Blue Cross website, it shows the correct policy — but I can’t pay 0nline because I do not yet have a billing number.)

A woman who promised she’d call me back in a half-hour did call me back — two hours later, and I didn’t hear the phone. Not that it matters, because she was trying to charge me for the old plan even though she swore it wasn’t.

My head hurts.

This is new

Minimum Wage Rally

The New York Times points out the financial interests behind the fight against a minimum wage increase. Of course, they still do their “both sides do it” routine, but it’s a change in emphasis worth mentioning:

The campaign illustrates how groups — conservative and liberal — are again working in opaque ways to shape hot-button political debates, like the one surrounding minimum wage, through organizations with benign-sounding names that can mask the intentions of their deep-pocketed patrons.

They do it with the gloss of research, and play a critical and often underappreciated role in multilevel lobbying campaigns, backed by corporate lobbyists and labor unions, with a potential payoff that can be in the millions of dollars for the interests they represent.

“It is the way of Washington now — and that is unfortunate,” said John Weaver, a Republican political consultant who has helped run several presidential campaigns. “Because if it’s not dishonest, it’s at least disingenuous.”

In this case, the policy dispute is over whether increasing the minimum wage by nearly 40 percent to $10.10 an hour by next year would reduce poverty or further it.
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Now if only someone will explain this to PA judges

Debtors Prison

Think Progress:

To reverse an Ohio trend in which courts are sentencing individuals who can’t afford fees and court costs to probation or jail, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed this week to instruct all of its judges that they cannot jail defendants for failure to pay fees and court costs, nor for their inability to afford a criminal fine.

An April American Civil Liberties Union report documented in Ohio what has become an increasing trend around the country — therevival of so-called debtors’ prisons in which those who cannot pay fines face incarceration. The ACLU found that judges were illegally imposing jail time on the poor in two ways: First, they were threatening criminal punishment for those who don’t pay a non-criminal fee, such as court costs, a civil fine, or other fees. Second, they were failing to assess whether an individual ordered to pay a criminal fine has the ability to pay that fine before sentencing them to jail time — a violation of a 30-year-old U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

A new “bench card” that the Ohio Supreme Court will disseminate to all judges explains that imposing either one of these sentences is illegal. “An offender CANNOT be held in contempt of court for refusal to pay fines,” the memo states. “Accordingly, unpaid fines and/or court costs may neither be a condition of probation, nor grounds for an extension or violation of probation.”

Southern half of England is still underwater

Train tracks and bridges destroyed, towns flooded… it’s been going on for months. And the American media is strangely silent.

Also:

The largest wave ever seen in British waters was recorded at 3.30am yesterday by a buoy operated by the Plymouth Coastal Observatory at Porthleven, Cornwall.

The beast destroyed the previous record British wave of 67ft and forecasters warned it was only the beginning of 72 hours of storm hell.
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