Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ms. Green Goes to Washington

[A guest post from the wife, AKA @BaconBaking. We hope you enjoy]


Yesterday Mr. Teej and I had the honor of playing chauffeur to my sister as she visited the White House to have a closed door meeting with Dr. Jill Biden to talk about her experience with the Affordable Care Act.

Backing up… As some of you know, my sister has lived with me since her junior year of high school. Over the last four years, sometimes she has been insured and sometimes she has not. In its most basic form, it’s important to have insurance for things like sports physicals and lady visits but especially when we both had bronchitis and I shared meds with her because she had no insurance. Or when she had four cavities because she was drinking too much pop. She does not drink pop anymore. My sister is athletic and literally played every single sport so learning on the fly that she did not have insurance in a given month during rugby season was especially troubling. Enrolling her on my plan was out because I never adopted her. Enrolling her on the high school and college plans did work, but only for “catastrophic events”. I’m not really sure how that is defined because salmonella, jammed fingers, prescriptions, and the aforementioned events listed above were apparently not catastrophic enough.

Finally this Fall a beacon of light emerged. The Affordable Care Act. Living in D.C. is crazy. It’s an understatement to say I don’t feel like I would have the opportunities in small town Washington state as I do here. I met a friend from grad school for lunch. As luck would have it, she was working to both educate folks about the Affordable Care Act and get more people signed up. By the end of the day, Shannon had applied for and was well on her way to having real, actual insurance that covers real, actual life events that happen to all of us.

I’m not going to say that it was seamless to sign her up. Healthcare.gov was working at the time. She was a late November/early December enrollee. Selecting the plan was really simple. They make it easy to compare the deductibles, and co-pays, and what is covered. The most difficult part of the process was making sure the company she chose did process her in time before her school insurance ran out. I worry a lot, but it was fine.

She’s had the insurance for three months now. It is literally half the cost of the school health care plan at her college, and is the same coverage I have at my cube job…so it covers regular doctor visits, and scripts, and anything else life throws her way.

My friend who I had lunch with said there might be a meeting at the White House to discuss people’s experiences getting signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act and asked if Shannon was interested. Shannon is an introvert. She does not like discussing her personal life, and prying information out of her requires more than a crowbar. She was not overwhelmed by this opportunity. She agreed, apprehensive to go. (She might kill us for including that photo of her in this post, but come on, that's a great pic)

Tuesday she found out the meeting she would be attending would have about 15 members of the LGBT community who had signed up for insurance and would be led by Dr. Jill Biden. She came home from college Tuesday night, nervous. We laid out her clothes. She asked if she could take shots before the meeting, which I said no to. The compromise was Thai lunch at Bangkok 54.

Teej and I picked her up at noon to go to lunch yesterday. (Yes, Teej eats Thai food.) She had what she wanted to say ready. She had a script that was $300 a month before insurance that is now only $10. Her monthly insurance costs have been cut in half. Her nerves were already getting to her and she could barely eat her drunken noodles. I made a point to play Katy Perry’s Roar “so you will always remember this moment and this song”. She was not amused.

Teej drove us into the city, taking Memorial Bridge, ensuring it was the most scenic route possible. Her hands were shaking in the front seat. We both told her we were proud of her. I literally walked her to the front gate of the White House and they took her name and in she went. I met a gentleman outside who had just waved goodbye to his husband. They had driven out from Detroit. His husband is 60 and has HIV and lost his health insurance and was insured again under the Affordable Care Act. His husband had been an outspoken advocate and attorney, so it was a natural fit from him to attend the meeting. I knew immediately my sister was in illustrious company.

When she came out of the meeting she was literally glowing and bursting with energy. She had gone in and everyone was mingling and talking about their careers as attorneys, and business people, and she was like “I’m in college”. They brought the group into the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing, where they all were supposed to run through their stories before the meeting, but Dr. Biden entered before they had a chance to even chat. Everyone jumped into their life stories centering around the need for health care insurance (a lot of different issues were shared, but to be respectful of all those that attended, not my place to tell their story). They had all driven or flown from everywhere around the country to attend this meeting. Shannon was by far the youngest person in the room, the only one in college, and she shared her story.

After the meeting, there were photo opps and Dr. Biden made a point of shaking my sister’s hand and hugging her and telling her good luck in college. My sister described her as gorgeous and so nice.

It was an amazing experience for Shannon, and one that The Teej and I were grateful we could be a part of. From nervous college kid at drop off to energized future advocate at pick up, I have to think this is an experience she will never forget (and I sense she will be an inspiration to others as well).

Thanks for letting me share.

[Teej’s one edit – I asked Shannon to sarcastically tell Jill Biden “congrats to your Delaware Blue Hens for ripping the heart  out of Tribe fans everywhere”. For some reason she chose not to go that route.]

43 comments:

zman said...

That's a heckuva guestie right there. Great story.

Shlara said...

LOVE THIS!!

Danimal said...

that's great stuff - possibly a life changing experience. a terrific big sis you are (and bruh-in-law)

Mark said...

Teej & Jessica shared the opportunity her sister had during their recent visit. I thought it was really cool then. I realize now that this was an even better opportunity than I realized. Proud of her, and proud of her two amazing reverse parents.

rob said...

yeah, there's a whole lot of win there. way to go, teejesshannon.

rob said...

as a side note, it's pretty remarkable how many wingnut hot buttons the teej/jess/shannon family simultaneously hits.

mayhugh said...

Great story. Having never done much research on the Affordable Care Act (my work insurance is awesome for what my current needs are), I benefit from hearing others' positive experiences with it. My colleague's husband's medical issues were not wholly covered and they have really benefitted from the ACA.

That must have been quite an experience for Shannon and seems like she made the most out of it too - good for her and for you guys for helping her.

Greg said...

Wait wait wait....wait wait wait....TeeJay eats Thai food?!

T.J. said...

yup

zman said...

Ketchup is Thai?

Danimal said...

teej talk thai!

mayhugh said...

I am new tie wearing.

What are the picks for tonight?

Danimal said...

anyone been out/down/over/up to the Potomac Shores development?

T.J. said...

GTB really is the new Fodor's

Mark said...

TJ's palate has expanded significantly from what I can tell. I didn't see him use ketchup once in three days filled with food.

As I stated on the last comment thread, I'm getting quite nervous about tonight's Florida game. I'd like it to start much sooner than it will.

zman said...

Fodor is one of the dwarves from The Hobbit, right?

Greg said...

He's the big guy that carries Bran Stark.

Greg said...

They go around the north and solve mysteries. There's a TeeVee show about it.

mayhugh said...

It infuriates me that the last game of the evening starts closer to midnight than 8PM. I am not 20 years old anymore. Staying up after midnight during the work week requires some morning recovery skills I just don't have.

Game I am most looking forward to - Baylor/Wisconsin. A bunch of big dominant athletic-looking guys vs a bunch of average looking white dudes.

rob said...

styles make fights. that baylor/wisconsin game is a cool matchup.

KQ said...

Outstanding!! Love this on so many levels. Well done Jess and kin! Can we make Jess a regular contributor? And can she bring food?

Mark said...

If styles make fights then UCLA-Florida should be great. Arguably the best offensive and defensive teams still in the tournament, respectively.

Whitney said...

Jess, awesome story. Kudos to Shannon. And kudos to you for stepping up to do what virtually none of the GTB roster was emotionally capable of at your age. Or now.

Also, saying no to shots but yes to drunken noodles is very clever. Well executed.

mayhugh said...

I want Florida to have a smack-down game - they have not had one yet. Most of the guys that make the final four have at least one statement game and I hope this is it, Mark.

mayhugh said...

Baylor may need to switch to man. Wisconsin is breaking it each time down the floor flashing into the high middle.

Mark said...

Wisconsin passes it too well, or at least has thus far, for Baylor to win playing zone. Then again, switching out of zone would require quick, smart coaching by Scott Drew. Not exactly his forte.

And I really hope you're correct, Mayhugh.

mr kq said...

Was just informed of my pick in the $20 winner take all sweet 16 draw... Florida. MON THE GATORS.

mayhugh said...

Many of the players on Wisconsin's bench are sporting some really crisp parts. Team hairdresser must have made the trip on the bus.

TR said...

I bet Steve Wojciechowski died a little bit on the inside when Coach K said he would coach another five years.

Mark said...

I may or may not have taken a nap today in anticipation of tonight's Florida game.

Mark said...

Marshall Henderson showed up at the Memphis Gator Club's pregame party. He hung out, took pictures and drank beer. All while wearing a Florida shirt. Didn't see that coming.

rob said...

that fuckstick @midmajority just gave our man @defiantlydutch a shoutout on twitter. in it, he links to a post dutch wrote about the #3bids4caa hashtag. the same hashtag @midmajority mocked as being unserious and unrealistic. we called him out on it here: http://gheorghe77.blogspot.com/2011/03/3bids4caa-day-4.html

asshat.

TR said...

These early games sucked ass.

Mark said...

And Dayton-Stanford ran way over. Wonderful.

zman said...

"Oh I got more money than Boomer Ess-EYE-a-son!!"

Mark said...

Barkley's a treasure.

rootsminer said...

Hola Gheorghies. Cool post! And a 12th Day of Gheorghemas, to boot.

Being a no cable having bustah, I feel like I have to watch when there's hoops on, so I'm up. Florida is pretty damn tough.

Mayhugh, how many more years 'til your complaints about the late hour of the game morph into lamenting that Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune are being pre-empted? What will Trebek, Sajak and Vanna look like then?

Clarence, I won't give any shit about the avetts. I've just been listening to podcasts of old 78 recordings for months now. Old Blues and Jazz, African Stuff and more. Just pretending the modern stuff doesn't exist, aside from what I hear on my kids' boomboxes.
I did dig the Trombone Shorty and Black Joe Lewis cuts. Will check out some more of them when I have time.

Zman, enjoy the last days of your 30s, cause I imagine being a one handed forty year old chasing a ztoddler and caring for z'enfant will result in a moment or two of frustration.

Mark said...

Go Gators!

Hi Gheorghies.

mayhugh said...

The one year I underestimate the Badgers, they go deep. That's an intriguing matchup in the Eight - those are two of the more all-around efficient teams I've seen.

My picks for tonight:

Michigan beats Tennessee - too much shooting proficiency.

Michigan beats UVA - I almost never go against Izzo in the tourney, especially with this balanced of a team.

UConn beats Iowa State just because they aren't used to playing without their injured man.

Louisville beats Kentucky because Kentucky's game against Wichita State was their championship.

Mark said...

Something nobody else cares about: Freshman PG Kasey Hill was fantastic last night. 10 assists and 1 turnover off Florida's bench.

Something some other people care about: Sweet 16 games in MSG tonight. That's going to be really cool.

Danimal said...

Drivin n Cryin review - quite good. Go see them if they visit your nape of the woods, woods of the nape, what brings you here?

rob said...

the eagles have released desean jackson. reports from philly cite his ongoing involvement with gang members as a primary reason. that's...a problem.

T.J. said...

if true, pretty smart guy, that DeSean