By Contributor on December 25, 2013

By Brad Friedman

Well, that was easy.

On Sunday, December 22, the day before the deadline for January 2014 insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare"), I signed up without problem.

I used the California exchange website, it took me less than an hour, I'll be able to keep the same provider I had previously (and therefore, the same doctors), and I'll be saving almost exactly $300/month or $3,600/year.

Sounds good to me. I had no "glitches" along the way, at least to date, and the process was quite clear and simple.

Since I'm in fairly good health, and haven't used much of the plan that I've had for years, I opted for a marginally higher deductible in this new plan than I had previously, and the copays for most things will cost me about $15 more a piece. However, I could have had an almost identical plan, from the same provider (and many others) with the same deductible that I currently have, and still would have saved about $150/month. For that matter, every plan offered to me that I was able to compare side-by-side on the exchange site (there were many to chose from), would have been less expensive for me than my current individual plan which I've had for about 15 years.

My apologies for a rather boring Obamacare story. No drama. No outrage. It just seems to have worked as planned -- and will save me a lot of money. (Even if I have to cover my entire deductible next year, I'll still be saving money over what I had been paying to the same healthcare provider.)

While I still find no reason for private insurance companies to profit off of our illnesses -- and hope for a far more moral system of healthcare in this country in the near future (as we've discussed in countless articles at The BRAD BLOG over the years) -- Obamacare, in this case, seems to have worked just as it seems it was designed to.

So, for those who helped make at least that much happen, thank you. I'm better off than I was before Obamacare. So that, at least, is a bit of progress in the right direction.

Photo: "Beautiful woman wearing a santa hat and holding money," via Shutterstock.

Originally published at The BRAD Blog. Republished with permission.

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By Julia Burke
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A plea to United States citizens to work for peace

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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