Personal

Screw

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 that...as 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 down...it 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, readers...next 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

WHAT'S NEXT? COVERAGE AND AFFORDABILITY OPPORTUNITIES IN RED, BLUE, AND PURPLE STATES

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.

Speakers:

  • John-Pierre Cardenas, MSPH, Independent Health Policy Adviser, formerly Maryland Health Benefits Exchange
  • Charles Gaba, ACASignups.net
  • 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 had...my portrait painted for an art exhibit. No, seriously.

I wrote about Theresa BrownGold a few months ago:

To my readers:

As many of you know, I've been operating ACASignups.net since October 2013. At first the project was intended purely as a volunteer part-time hobby. The site quickly consumed virtually all of my time and energy, and that has never stopped in the 5 1/2 years since.

My official job as a freelance website developer began to suffer, and several years ago I pretty much gave up website development in order to devote full time to my work analyzing/blogging about healthcare policy in general while also educating people and advocating for progressive healthcare policy reform.

For a long time I've survived on a combination of the my banner ad arrangement with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the generosity of individual donors, and the occasional freelance writing gig. And while I'm eternally grateful for all of these, there's always still been an income gap which I've never been quite able to fill.

Happy 2019, everyone!

As I noted a few weeks ago, this is the first time I've gone without posting any updates to the site for more than a few days since I launched this project over five years ago. Obviously a tremendous amount has happened since I went off the grid--some good, some bad--and there's no way I can catch up with all of it, but I'll try and recap a few of the developments most relevant to the ACASignups.net readership in my next post.

Before that, though, I'm sure all of you (well, some of you...ok, perhaps one or two of you?) are wondering where I was, so lemme start with that.

Unlike Islam and Mecca, there's no specific commandment under Jewish law which states that every Jew must visit Israel at least once in their lifetimes. Most Jews, however, do want to visit Israel at least once, and it's something which has been on my Bucket List since I was a kid. The day my wife and I found out she was pregnant, we decided right then and there that we were going to take our son on a family trip to Israel for his Bar Mitzvah.

In the five-plus years that I've been running this website, I've never gone for more than a few days without an update.

However, starting Saturday the 22nd, I'll be mostly offline for two weeks. I might post a tweet or two if there's a really important development (gee, what are the odds of that?), but don't expect any blog updates from then through the first week of January.

Happy holidays, season's greetings, and I'll see everyone on the flip side!

Introducing ACA Signups Swag!

Yes, that's right...after running this site for five years, due to public demand (OK, it was like 2-3 people, anyway), I've decided to go ahead and start offering official ACA Signups T-Shirts, Posters and Coffee Mugs!

Every product is available in two designs: The Psychedelic Donut orThe Three-Legged Stool.

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