Hey Survive55 Nation………….

I hope you had an incredible “Fervid 50’s” weekend like we did.

In case you are interested here are just a few of the things I did this weekend:

Darla and I drank Rolling Rock Beer, ate bratwurst ( it’s almost Oktoberfest you know) and basked in the mid-70’s weather Friday night as we watched an Arizona Fall League baseball game at Surprise stadium. 

I highly recommend, if you are anywhere near Arizona this month that you check these youngsters out. 

The Arizona Fall League is an off-season league owned and operated by Major League Baseball that attracts many of the top prospects in minor league baseball.  Each August, Major League Baseball clubs hold a position draft to determine the players who will go to Arizona. Most are Double-A and Triple-A Minor League players. The league is designed for these prospects to refine their skills and perform in game settings in front of major and minor league baseball scouts and team executives, who are in attendance at almost every game.

Play begins shortly after the end of MLB's regular season in early October and ends in mid-November with a championship game between the winners of the East and West divisions.

There were only 200 + people at the Friday night game in Surprise so you can sit right behind home plate and actually be heard when you are heckling the players.  I don’t know what was in the air that night but we saw at least 6 different broken bats and there were so many foul balls that we lost count.

A number of famous ballplayers have had stints in the Arizona Fall League. In 1994, the league got worldwide attention as Michael Jordan's second professional baseball league, when he played for the Scottsdale Scorpions. Other notable ballplayers who have played in the Arizona Fall League include David Wright, Derek Jeter, and Albert Pujols.

Saturday I put in my “winter grass”.  For those of you who are not from Arizona, we actually have to plant grass for the winter that can live under the “unbearable” conditions of the valley of the sun until next spring. 

I’m talking about temperatures dropping way down into the 70’s in the daytime and maybe down to the 50’s at night. 
How do humans survive let alone the grass? 

Is my sarcasm tooo strong today?
Actually, our native lawns are developed to handle the desert environment (100 degree heat and no rain) of our summers, have a huge disdain for normal weather and basically go into hibernation for 4 to 5 months until the brutal desert heat returns to our toasty lives in March or April.

While I was at it I also trimmed and thinned out all of my trees, worked on my car and basically spent the majority of the weekend working outside on our landscaping. 

It may sound awful but working under a sunny blue sky with temperatures in the low 80’s with the football games on the radio and a few cold “Coronas” in the fridge, life can’t get much better.

Anyway, let’s get down to the real business at hand.

If you are anything like me, and let’s hope you are not, you haven’t given one thought to the idea of the upcoming Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or “Obama Care” as we have come to know it.

Yes, I have heard about this proposed “boondoggle” since the beginning and especially recently with the government shutdown and all. 

But I have chosen, like all great United Statesians (did you notice I didn’t use the word “Americans”?  That is because if you call yourself an “American” then you member yourself with everyone who lives in both North, Central and South America and I don’t believe it is the correct tag to use when you are really referring to things individualized to the United States but that is a story for another day and another blog) to completely ignore this program and all of the news surrounding it because I basically believe that our government is corrupt, out of control and a catch basin for miscreants and two-faced bullshit artists who are not honest enough to find employment elsewhere.

That’s right I’m as apolitical as they come.  I'm just saying.

The U.S. is a great country and probably one of the best to live in in the world but I don’t have to support the government and how it is running "MY" country and if it becomes all too much for me I will find the next best country to live in and have my peace there.

But, my job here at this blog is to serve my constituents and supply them with the vital information that will make their lives in their mid-50’s as fruitful as possible so I feel I am obligated to pay attention to this piece of government tomfoolery and bring to you what I think is the most important (and truthful – as in unadulterated by political misrepresentation and misleading shit-shoveling by the bureaucrats of our country) information surrounding this program and the best options, choices and opportunities available to you to successfully navigate through the pork barrel adornment and “policy-speak” that fattens up this 2,400 page health care proposal. 

First, you have to note that in the actual legislation of the healthcare bill itself, there are just over 2,400 pages.

But the legislation is incomplete without the accompanying regulations, most of which have yet to be published. 

When it is all said and done, you would have to read maybe 17,000 pages of technical legalese to even get an idea of the far reaching scope of this proposal. 

I’m not going to go to that extreme but I have been researching some of the better knowledge bases (ones that I trust are in business to serve the common man) that have already done most of the “dirty-work” research and I will use their conclusions as a basis for my discussions with you.

So like I said earlier, I was happily oblivious to this program until just recently when I began repeatedly to hear over and over and over and over again on the news everywhere that the open enrollment began October 1, 2013 and that the coverage is scheduled to begin January 1, 2014. 

The open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.

Hey, why is this all of a sudden important to let everyone know when they need to sign up for this program?

Wasn’t this thing signed into legislation back in March of 2010?

Oh, I get the strategy here…………..let’s wait until the last minute to rush all 315 million upstanding citizens of the U.S. to sign up on this program without taking the time to research, question and maybe rebel against this presidential pile of poop.

And don’t forget kiddies there is a big fine if you don’t jump on board like a good card carrying minion and get your favorite healthcare.

Eeek………where do I sign up?

So, the very first simple set of instructions on how to explore this program I have come across I found on a side table in a corner of a waiting room in a local Phoenix hospital. 

If I hadn’t been completely bored out of my gourd reading 6 month old copies of “Women’s Day” and “Redbook” I would have never even thought about picking up this completely nondescript single piece of paper.

But, as luck would have it (and I’m one “wild and lucky” guy) I picked up this paper and began reading it.

Its headline said “Get Ready to Enroll in the Marketplace”. 

What marketplace?

Where the f#@k is the marketplace?

Is there coupons for the marketplace?

Is there a loyalty club for the marketplace?  Maybe Groupons?

I didn’t know there was a marketplace. 

Well, I do now and hopefully I can bring you up to speed as well over the next couple of days.

If you want to get a head start on our discussion just go to www.HealthCare.gov.

Let’s start with an analogy to finish off today because that is what President Obama likes to do in his speeches when he needs to drive home a point to all of his endearing 18 to 20 year old disciples who only understand political references through Twitter and Facebook posts.

When you make a large important purchase, such as a new car, you'd probably like to know that you're getting the best deal for your money.

There are plenty of Web sites that can help you in this quest, and you can compare and contrast different makes, models, features and price points until you find the perfect car for your situation.

You never head to the dealership without the proper research and analysis right?

Well, if you didn’t know it (and I didn’t) on July 1, 2010, the U.S. government unveiled HealthCare.gov.

This new web site was designed to offer the same sort of information and transparency about the health insurance market so that consumers can be sure they're getting the best value.

The creation of the web site was a requirement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that President Obama signed into law in March 2010, and the site was and is designed to provide comprehensive, easy-to-understand information on health insurance options.

HealthCare.gov presents extensive information on how the new health care reform legislation affects consumers, but it's served up in a very “personalized” way.

Whether you're a pregnant woman in Ohio or a recent college graduate in Nevada, you can get information about how the law impacts your particular situation.

For example, small business owners can visit a page that explains how the insurance marketplace is changing for them in the near future, as well as in 2014, when the final pieces of the legislation will be put into place.

The web site also includes information on preventive care and how to compare the quality of care patients receive at local facilities.

But its most notable feature is the insurance finder.

For the first time ever, private plans and public plans have been cataloged together so that consumers can comparison-shop.

This tool is designed to give consumers control in an area that has been so baffling for so many years.

Rather than flipping through hundreds of pages of fine print or spending hours on the phone, consumers can now easily see the plans that are available to someone in their situation.

Will it work for you?

Does it have the “personalized” information that you need to make a good decision on your healthcare?

Can you find your current healthcare plans on this website so you can go comparison shopping like you are in Wal-Mart Insurance World?

Does this thing serve a function at all or is it just a smoke screen to get you to spend your hard earned money how your government wants you to?

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking a closer look at how all of the "goodies" on this website work.

Thanks for joining me………………………



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