Personal

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.

On October 11th, 2013, I posted the following in a blog entry over at Daily Kos, where I'd been a regular contributor since 2003:

"Seriously, though, HHS should really start releasing the official (accurate) numbers of actual signups for all 50 states (or at the very least, the 36 states that they're responsible for) on a daily--or at least, weekly--basis. I don't care if it's a pitifully small number. 100,000? 10,000? 100? 10? Even if it's in single digits, release the damned numbers. Be upfront about it. Everyone knows by now how f***** up the website is, so be honest and just give out the accurate numbers as they come in."

Two days later, on October 13th, I registered "ObamacareSignups.net" (which soon changed to ACASignups.net, not because I had a problem with "Obamacare" but because it was easier to type) and posted an announcement over at dKos, asking for some crowdsourcing assistance.

Note: Obviously none of this remotely compares to, say, being without electricity for over three months or being deported to El Salvador after living here legally for over a decade for no reason, but I think I'm entitled to vent a bit once in awhile...

Yesterday morning I was using the snowblower when I hit a rolled-up newspaper buried under the snow (in a plastic sleeve) which promptly got jammed in the impeller and likely burned out the auger belt.

Then, I noticed my front driver's side tire was really low; I almost certainly had sprung a slow leak from the pothole that I had hit the day before (thanks, Michigan roads!), but I had to pick up my kid from school so didn't have time to fill it with our air pump before doing so. I figured I could get there and back, but also turned out to be really low on gas, so on the way back, we stopped at a nearby gas station where I figured I'd use their air pump as well. Got gas but the air pump was broken.

I'm saddened to report that my stepfather, Oscar Band, passed away early Sunday morning at the age of 99 1/2.

He was an incredibly kind and generous man who was a wonderful partner for my mother for over 23 years after my dad died, and I'll miss him terribly, but he lived a full and varied life to a ripe old age, and passed peacefully in his sleep in his own home, near loving family members. You can't ask for a better way to bow out.

When he became legally blind in his later years, Oscar was partnered up with a Leader Dog for the Blind named Mello, a beautiful golden retriever, who he grew to love more than anything on this earth.

Needless to say, this is going to be a busy week for me, so I'll probably be posting less frequently than usual for a few days.

If anyone would like to help honor Oscar's memory, I'd like to suggest a contribution to either of the following organizations:

Leader Dogs For the Blind
P.O. Box 5000, Rochester, MI 48308
248-651-9011

UPDATE 6/5/17: NO SITE UPDATES UNTIL WEDNESDAY, AS I'LL BE TRAVELLING TO/FROM D.C. FOR THE 2017 NIHCM FOUNDATION HEALTHCARE DIGITAL MEDIA AWARDS DINNER...

OK, this really isn't news (it's been public for several weeks now), but I was recently selected as one of seven finalists in the 3rd Annual NIHCM Foundation Health Care Digital Media Awards:

The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the health of Americans by spurring workable and creative solutions to pressing health care problems.

...The NIHCM Foundation Health Care Digital Media Award recognizes excellence in digital media that improves understanding of health care topics through analysis grounded in empirical evidence. The three-year-old award carries a $10,000 prize and is judged by an independent panel of experts: