As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

stateturnsmeme1Loonies Never Say Die

Look out, Corvallisites, we might have our very own Bush/Gore! The sorest of losers on the “Down with GMO!” side of Measure 92 haven’t given up. They feel that because it was only down by 5,000 votes, a good course of action would be to raise money and bankroll a harassment, er, I mean support campaign to reach out to voters with contested ballots. Now, I’m not going to do the math for you, because it’s sad and I’m trying to have a good day, but even Measure 92 spokesman Sandeep Kaushik refers to it as a Hail Mary. I always thought that a Hail Mary implied that there were some sort of chance of success, but I could be wrong. Either way, the state will certify the “No” victory, as it were, in December. Maybe they’ll then realize a better use of their cash would be to hire someone with above an eighth grade education to draft the next measure, which would likely pass.

Corvallis Cream of Internet-Using Crop

According to a new report by the Census Bureau, residents of the Corvallis “metropolitan area” are the most likely to have high-speed Internet connections… ::drumroll:: in the whole country. Wowza, right? Tom Nelson spoke on the matter over NPR the other way, saying that “There are two things that make Corvallis very innovative. One is, of course, the university, its students, and the technical areas, but also the presence of Hewlett-Packard. Those folks use Internet.” That last sentence there just cracks me up.

I’m sure Nelson is a great guy, but come on. There are many comparable areas with universities—and believe it or not, they have “students” and “technical areas” too. The last estimation of HP’s workforce puts them at between 1,000 and 2,000 only (less than a third of where they were in the mid-90s), and we’re under a Comcast stranglehold that most local citizens want to get the hell out from under.

Whatever this report had to say, I seriously doubt these were the metrics by which it was determined.

The Healthcare Renewal Deadline Blues

Due to the fiery implosion of Cover Oregon, Oregonians have re-enrollment in the federal exchange to look forward to. Enrollment began last Saturday, with a Dec. 15 deadline. If you don’t do this, you will lose your insurance.

However… if you actually enrolled via the federal site, you don’t have to do anything.

Many members of government and media are concerned that a growing confusion between what has to be done by who will develop into serious problems once the 15th passes. So, don’t say I never gave you nothin’.

Oregon to Insurance Companies: Cover Mental Health, OR ELSE

In 2005, we Oregonians passed a law that said, “Hey, you, insurers… yes, you over there in the corner, you have to cover mental health the same as you do physical health.” Nine years later, the Oregon Insurance Division finally issued rules forcing the insurers to actually follow the law. Let’s just sit back now, relax, and take a moment to appreciate bureaucracy.

Okay, break’s over. One of the problems that they’ve run into is that when the law, known as the Mental Health Parity Act, was initially passed, a number of mental health treatments weren’t yet understood. A lot of progress is being made in this area on a nigh daily basis, and so the climate changes pretty often. Insurers, being what they are, don’t want to cover anything that’s even remotely experimental. They also happen to determine, for themselves, what’s experimental and what isn’t. Great group of folks.

This last summer, the State forced Providence to pay for an autism treatment called applied behavioral analysis that the insurer swore up and down was experimental (probably while stamping its feet and peeing its pants). I guess that was the final straw for them, and it led to the recent set of rules being issued.

It’s always nice to see the State put its foot down and force money collectors to do their fair share, however I’m sure we’re going to have to eat a bunch of lawsuits before this particular chapter in the battle is over.