Well if nothing else at least I get to use the speech to text tool on my Mac for the first time. I found out the hard way this morning that if you're going to punch a wall in frustration, at the very least make sure not to hit a wall stud in the process.

That's right, I managed to dislocate my finger and fracture my knuckle. Or possibly the other way around.

In any event, I may require surgery; I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon this week; and either way typing is going to be very difficult and I'm going to have to rely on a lot of voice activation for the next few weeks.

As a result, while I'll still be posting, the entries will likely be shorter than usual and less frequent for a while. Typing actually isn't too bad thanks to speech to text, but using apps like Excel, Photoshop etc. Is gonna be a real pain for a bit.

Thanks for your understanding.

Until October 2013, I wasn't a healthcare wonk. I wasn't an expert on the ACA specifically or health insurance in general. I didn't know my ass from a hole in the ground when it came to risk pools, cost sharing, deductibles, out of pocket caps, guaranteed issue, community rating or any of the other industry buzz words.

Hell, I didn't even know that Medicaid is the same program as California's Medi-Cal or Wisconsin's BadgerCare Plus (that's just how those states brand the program).

What I did know was that the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, which had been signed into law 3 1/2 years earlier, was a Big Fucking Deal®, as President Biden had put it...and I knew that the main provisions of the ACA were about to go into effect.

Ten days earlier, on the same day that the federal and state ACA exchanges had opened for business (with some of them, including the main one at HealthCare.Gov experiencing catastrophic technical failures), At the same time, Texas Senator Ted Cruz had spearheaded a federal government shutdown (sound familiar?) in protest of the new law.

Those first few weeks were pretty chaotic for the ACA, to put it mildly.

Just wanted to let my readers know that I'll be on vacation from tomorrow (Saturday the 14th) through the following Sunday the 23rd.

I'll post something if there's a major ACA/healthcare development but otherwise no site updates until Monday the 24th.

Doctors for America Logo

From the Doctors for America (DFA) website:

Doctors for America mobilizes doctors and medical students to be leaders in putting patients over politics on the pressing issues of the day to improve the health of our patients, communities, and nation.

We believe:


The Israel/Palestine situation is, as folks know, an ugly mess. Like so many other American Jews, I'm horrified by the draconian actions of the Netanyahu Administration in Israel. Emotions are high and the rise of both Islamophobia and Antisemitism here in the United States sure as hell doesn't help matters.

Last night I posted something on Twitter which was simultaneously incredibly stupid and potentially harmful to someone's career (it turns out it won't be, but I didn't know that at the time). Then I made things worse by inadvertently blocking the same person (I didn't realize I had done so until someone ripped on me for doing so); I immediately unblocked them and apologized for well as apologizing profusely and repeatedly for the original screwup...but...yeah, too late.

It was one of those things where the more you try to explain/apologize the worse you make things.

I don't know whether the subject of my original tweet has accepted my apology or not as of yet (they haven't responded to it one way or the other as of this writing). I do know that at least a couple of people who I respect quite a bit have either rightly slammed me or, in at least one case, outright blocked me.

As you might imagine, I was also dogpiled by a bunch of people tearing me apart over both the original (since deleted) tweet, the block, and the rest of it.

Anyway, I screwed up royally, then compounded the screwup, and feel like crap at the moment, as I should.

That's all.

You may have noticed that I haven't posted many entries the past week or so aside from nightly COVID summaries and a few reposts of SBM press releases. Two reasons for this:

  • First, I've been spending a lot of time expanding/updating my county-level COVID-19 spreadsheets, which I've split off onto their own link (the state-level version was starting to get bogged has over 40 daily worksheets; apparently the addition of the county-level sheets was slowing it down)
  • Second, my 8-year old laptop had a meltdown (literally, of sorts...the battery overheated and swelled up); I had to scramble to replace it (it was overdue anyway), which wasn't easy to do on short notice in the middle of a shelter-at-home pandemic. I've been spending the week transferring over gobs of data, updating software and/or getting replacement software for incompatible versions. It's a painstaking process.

Anyway, I'm more than a little backed up and plan on catching up ASAP.

I spent most of last week in Washington, D.C. for the 25th Annual Families USA Health Action Conference:

Families USA, a leading national, non-partisan voice for health care consumers, is dedicated to achieving high-quality, affordable health care and improved health for all. Our work is driven by and centered around four pillars: value, equity, coverage, and consumer experience. We view these focus areas — and the various issues unique to each area — as the cornerstones of America’s health care system.

Public policy analysis that is rooted in Hill and administration experience, movement-building advocacy, and collaboration with partners are deep-rooted hallmarks of our work. In turn, our work promotes a health system that protects consumers’ financial security as much as it does their health care security.

As we advance our mission by combining policy expertise and partnerships with community, state, and national leaders, we forge transformational solutions that improve the health and health care of our nation’s families and speak to the values we all have in common.

Head's up, week, for the third year in a row I'll be attending the Families USA Health Action conference in Washington, D.C...and for the first time, I'll actually be on one of the panels:

Friday, January 24th, 2:00pm-3:15pm • Workshops / Session 4


Description: A surprisingly broad range of resources and options are available to streamline enrollment and to lower consumers’ health care and coverage costs in the individual market. Learn about promising, innovative strategies tailored to fit very different political conditions.


  • John-Pierre Cardenas, MSPH, Independent Health Policy Adviser, formerly Maryland Health Benefits Exchange
  • Charles Gaba,
  • Heather Howard, J.D., Center for Health & Wellbeing, Woodrow School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Holly Hernandez, Harris Health

Moderator: Stan Dorn, J.D., Families USA

In case anyone's wondering why I haven't posted anything yet today (I have a huge backlog, believe me!), I'm prepping to moderate a Healthcare Town Hall this evening with my state Representative Mari Manoogian (along with her neighboring House member, Kyra Harris Bolden). The topic? Prescription Drugs:

A Town Hall to Stand Up to Big Pharma

Please join Representatives Mari Manoogian and Kyra Harris Bolden for a town hall discussion to rein in the runaway cost of prescription drugs. No one should have to choose between paying for their medications and putting food on the table.

The event is free and open to the public.

In the 5 1/2 years that I've been running this website, I've received several honors and accolades, ranging from interviews and profile pieces, to being a finalist in the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) digital media awards, to even having my work included in not one, but two comic books.

Today I'm honored and humbled to note that I've now portrait painted for an art exhibit. No, seriously.

I wrote about Theresa BrownGold a few months ago: