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ACA call center preps to enroll Californians in health exchange

Original post made on Oct 1, 2013

More than 160 customer service agents in a Concord warehouse will be fielding calls from prospective enrollees in the state's new health care exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 30, 2013, 4:55 PM

Comments (32)

Posted by Diane
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 1, 2013 at 7:47 am

From the article:

' "Health care is a right, it is not a privilege," Blanchette said. '

This is wrong. Neither health care nor health insurance is a right.

Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2013 at 8:19 am

Does anyone really think that a bunch of poorly-trained call-center staffers are going to be able to answer questions about the most complex legislation ever enacted in the United States?

Heck, IRS staffers can't answer questions with consistency or accuracy and they have been around for decades.

Good luck on this disaster in the making...

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:09 am

Only in your fondest, dampest dreams will the Affordable Care Act fail. The same apoxalyptic predictions were made for Social Security and Medicare.

How'd those 'disasters' work out, hmmm? Try it -- you just might like it, but regardless you'll actually be informed in your opinion. That'll be a nice change.

Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2013 at 10:15 am

I wonder how many American-born, English only speaking applicants were TURNED DOWN and DENIED jobs from this Call Center (which is a boondoggle fraud of taxpayers).

UNION involvement:
For some stupid reason, the SEIU Union has redundantly established its own Call Center (at the expense of its members) to handle health insurance/DemaCare questions from its own members. And has raised its dues to members again! They are calling all members to MAKE SURE that they get in line for medical insurance. I suspect it will jack up the rates for members already having medical plans.

Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 1, 2013 at 10:27 am

I am surprised the call centers are not located in India...

I totally agree with Rick Pshaw...And Citizen Paine, it's folks like you that need a wake up pill.

Thanks for listening, Julia Pardini from Alamo

Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm

If healthcare is a right, according to Ms. Blanchette (who as designated spokesperson, presumably has been provided with her talking points), then why are the rates for this "right" dependent on how much a person makes?

It will be interesting to see what happens when lower-income people, who are having their rates significantly subsidized, go to the doctor and see what the co-pay is, and what their deductibles and out-of-pocket amounts are. Then it will be back to the ER, I'm afraid.

I think I've also heard that ambulance services are completely covered, which will lead to greatly-increased use of ambulances. That's probably not too bad in areas where ambulance services have been privatized - they'll fairly quickly staff up to deal with demand. But in areas where it's handled by the Fire Dept., things may get out of hand. Especially where the union contract calls for a fire truck to be dispatched along with every ambulance. 6 or 8 people responding to every call! (As an aside, I think I read that the Contra Costa FD is looking at modifying their policies such that fire trucks are not sent out for every ambulance call, at least not as the general routine. This seems like a very sensible way to reduce costs, and should probably become the norm. But don't hold your breath....)

Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Well, Diane, how about we post you at the County Hospital to push the seriously injured and terminally ill folks out into the gutter to die?

Oh, wait. We don't do that, do we? in fact, we haven't done that since Ronald Reagan signed the EMTALA into law in the 1980s - you remember, the law that requires hospitals to treat sick people even if they can't pay for it, and confirming that medical treatment in fact is a legal right in this country.

I guess since Reagan wasn't a Kenyan socialist that was okay, though.

Posted by Drama free
a resident of Danville
on Oct 3, 2013 at 10:07 am

Removed because it was offensive

Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Oct 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Drama free (nice irony, there, BTW :-) ),

After reading your rant/post, I went back and re-read all of the posts before it. Please help me out, and tell me which previous poster (or posters) you were talking about? I'd really like to know which posts you believed to be full of "hate", "bullying", and "a belief that money can buy power and corruption", etc. As well, which of the previous posters are you calling "a-holes", which of us do you believe to be "rich" (however you want to define it), and which of us do you think want to "stop the non-rich, underprivileged, people of need", etc.? Because I didn't see that in any of the posts.

I think it's safe/fair to say that at least some of the posters are opposed to Obamacare, but that doesn't equate to any of the above. As someone above noted, people without insurance receive health care today. They either pay for it themselves, if they have money to do so, or they receive essentially free care. In fact, one of the "selling points" of Obama is that by forcing more people to pay for insurance, it will drive down the number of people who obtain it for "free". And frankly, I like some aspects of that part of Obamacare. In any case, being opposed to Obamacare as a means for solving healthcare issues can be for any number of reasons (one of which is a belief that the government doesn't do things efficiently), and is NOT the same thing as kicking poor people out of hospitals. Actually, the only mention I saw of "kicking people out of hospitals" came from Huh?, who was also (like you) accusing people of things that they never said. There WERE some negative comments made about the call center(s) that are being set up, but those comments hardly seem "hateful". Please enlighten us as to what you saw in the posts that I didn't.

Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Oct 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm

sWhy do those who disagree with an opinion immediately start labeling and saying the rich in Danville or wherever are jerks (not their words)? Again, it is telling that many resent those who are successful and have reached economic stability by hard work and saving. Those used to be noble pursuits and goals. Now with the changing of the guard and administration, many are brainwashed to hate the rich and get on the bandwagon of wanting to increase taxes so that the government can spend it and spread it. We will keep spreading the wealth around to the point that we will run out of those making it. Just a matter of time. France, Italy, Spain and England tried it for last 50 years and they are on the brink of economic collapse.

Posted by History Buff
a resident of Danville
on Oct 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Didn't we break away from England to have the our freedom from the King and his horrible treatment?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

The Democrats in this country have allowed the current White House resident to use his power unchecked and impose things that interfere with all of our freedoms. When history writes about him, and his "reign" is picked apart, he will not be remembered kindly.

Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Oct 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm


As a 'historical expert', you should know that history is quite a hard thing to predict.

Take the period words written about one notable President by his conservative and Republican critics during the time of his presidency,

"...William Dudley Pelley called the President the "lowest form of human worm - according to Gentile standards." One critic accused him of "blathering platitudes like a parson on vacation." and another wrote to him savagely, "If you were a good honest man, Jesus Christ would not have crippled you." ...a United States Senator from Minnesota did not hesitate to liken [him] to the beast of the Apocalypse," "who set his slimy mark on everything.""

One would think history would surely crush this man. Hmm?

Again, funny thing about history is that time often gives a very different vantage point then what is afforded in the moment.

Take the contemporary words of George Will, an unquestionably staunch Republican and conservative writing on the centennial of this man's birth, "what [he] lacked made him great. He lacked the capacity even to imagine that things might end up badly. He had a Christian's faith that the universe is well constituted and an American's faith that history is a rising road. . . . Radiating an infectious zest, he did the most important thing a President can do: he gave the nation a hopeful, and hence creative, stance toward the future."

I suppose that history has treated Franklin D. Roosevelt, our 32nd President, much better then you propose we treat our current one.

Of course, I'm sure your expertise ensures you'll be right....(Source of quotes: Web Link

Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Oct 3, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Louise, I'm financially secure, by dint of working hard enough and saving enough, and not screwing up too badly or having any serious bad breaks, like ill health or being the victim of financial fraud and the like. Of course, while I didn't inherit any cash money, I did have the good fortune to be born into a well-educated middle class white family in America, and enjoying an affordable education in schools and colleges that were well funded by the California taxpayers. And I'm very much aware that if you changed any of those "bequests" I was given I'd have had to work harder, save more, and screw up less in order to be in the position I'm in today. I haven't squandered my good fortune, but I don't pretend it didn't exist.

Unlike you, I don't consider myself a victim. I don't wrap myself in self-pity and bleat about people being "brainwashed" or "hating me." I don't complain about being asked to pay taxes, and I'm even aware of the fact that affluent folks today pay less of their income in taxes than affluent folks did in our parents' and grandparents' day.

I don't think many people resent anyone simply for being successful. But a lot of people are less than impressed with people who have a lot and yet whine constantly, fulminating about anything and everything that might help the less fortunate or lessen the constantly increasing gap between the wealthy and the working class and poor.

Do you own a mirror?

Posted by John
a resident of Danville
on Oct 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Agree with Huh.

The GOP(Great Old Phonies), led by the Tea Bangers, are ruining the country one step at a time. I come to realized that they are so brainwashed by FOX and other far right media outlets that it is useless to have a intellectual conversation with them.

My only question for them is "How is your healthcare premiums currently being subsidized?"

Everyone of you are being subsidized either by various government means i.e. medicare or through corporate welfare, i.e. benefit.

Both of these above groups are also basically sheltered from the tremendous rate increase of 20% to 40% that Individual policy holders have paid over the past decades. These two groups also tend to be sheltered from huge deductibles and Copays that come with Individual type policies.

My answer to the Obamacare haters is don't take your subsidy. I am tired of paying for your insurance when my wife and I have paid on average 40K each year out-of-pocket.

Until these whiners begin to pay their fair share, they will not get my sympathy.

Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Oct 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm


I'm confused by your comment that employer-provided health insurance is somehow being subsidized by you. If a private company chooses to pay a portion (or even all) of the costs of health insurance for their employees, that is their decision (or at least it has been...). They either do it, in the interests of attracting employees, or they decide it's not necessary, and don't. The total costs of employer-provided policies have gone up in more or less mirrored fashion, along with the costs of individual policies.

Rising health insurance costs are indeed an issue, and there are varied schools of thought on what can be done about this, and what the side effects would be. But have you looked to see what the cost of the Obamacare exchange offerings will be for you, versus the cost of the policy (or policies) you have been using? From what I have seen (so far, anyway), is that it is folks in your situation (individual policy holders, buying their policies on the open market) who are seeing, or going to see, the largest increases, in moving to a policy from the Obamacare exchange. (Unless your income is low enough that you will qualify for a govt.-subsidized rate.)

Despite your apparent antipathy for people who believe that they are "Taxed Enough Already" (and putting aside the name-calling), you might want to be a bit careful about what you wish for! Because it is likely that you are going to be one of the biggest "losers" in the Obamacare world, as a self-employed person (I'm guessing here) who isn't part of an employer-provided plan, and also isn't old enough to qualify for Medicare. Unless of course, as stated above, you qualify for the sort of subsidy that you were complaining about....

Posted by Lisa Abrams
a resident of Danville
on Oct 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Can't wait for "Citizen Paine" to get denied services under Obamakill!!!! YES!!!!
He fails to explain why gov employees inc congress get an exemption. Boehner up Reid's butt double dealing and needs to go. Denial of treatment is part of the Obama Soylent green plan.

Posted by Amy Divita
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Hope John buys the "cheapest" bronze plan and finds that in addition to the monthly payment, the fine print will give him a deductible of $5000!!! And Johnny, the gov will be watching you just like 1984's big brother--they already do----and you will be denied care based on how you voted or what connections you don't have. Low information CNN MSNBC troll-----aka idiot.

Posted by Randy Wilson
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm

The Obama lovers will soon see what kind of poorly trained doctors are waiting to treat them. Special program MD's are ready to practice on you. Practice! Low MCAT's didn't matter, sub par grades didn't matter, no research didn't matter, they take the boards in teensy pieces over MONTHS after being tutored to the tests!! The med schools get a BUNDLE of cash for pushing through the unqualified and dumping them in the "diversity" pool. Even a name like Stanford doesn't mean quality anymore---The cash was too good.

Posted by Farmer Dave
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Farmer Dave is a registered user.

Hard to believe some of the "opinions" posted here as anti-Obamacare rants.

Lisa Abrams, turn off Fox and educate yourself on the topic. Congress and other federal employees are NOT exempt from Obamacare. They are ineligible for subsidies, but do get some financial assistance from their employer in purchasing a policy through the Obamacare exchanges.

Amy Divita, participants in the Obamacare exchanges have choices between low premiums and high deductibles, or higher premiums and lower deductible. Private insurance companies are implementing the policies. Your degree of cynicism regarding healthcare and the way you voted is troubling. Please see a health care professional quickly.

Posted by Farmer Dave
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Farmer Dave is a registered user.

For Lisa Abrams:

Web Link

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Oct 5, 2013 at 11:27 am

Hi Lisa: let's suspend, for the moment, the question of whether you are right or wrong about 'denial of service' (you're wrong, as Farmer Dave's link points-out, but regardless): you gleefully wish me ill ('YESSSS!'), or worse, because we disagree about health care policy?

Where does that kind of frenzied hatred come from, Lisa? Did something happen to you, or did you always angrily wish bad things on other people you don't even know? And are you aware of what that kind of gut-twisting hostility does to your physical health, much less your mental health?

Tell you what: I'll gladly bear the risk of my own death panel verdict if you will vary your television viewing habits, away from the reality-free zone of the Fox News propagandists. I'm pretty sure that, between us, there'll be a net gain in good health.

Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Oct 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm

The fear mongers have done a spectacular job of distributing their ridiculous rhetoric around the new health care regs, so much so that even in the face of a reasoned response/rebuttal (thank you CP, Farmer Dave, etc...) there is a knee jerk reaction to completely deny the obvious benefits of the new system. It’s a real shame that opinions that were based on such obvious distortions and outright lies have not altered based on the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

This isn’t a case of “to each their own” in terms of beliefs– it is downright dangerous to hang on to one’s erroneous assumptions, therefore supporting the tea partyers who have essentially forced the shut-down of our federal government in order to stop this new system from completely rolling out.

CP, on the bright side – if any of Lisa’s sinister wishes for your ill health take flight, you will have health coverage options. And maybe she can take advantage of the mental health benefit. It’s a win-win.

Signed – Diane from Danville (and please don’t confuse me with Diane from Alamo….)

Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Oct 7, 2013 at 9:55 am

Why do the many on the left of the aisle believe that only Fox is lying or giving out misinformation? What about mainstream media like CNN, NBC, they are not unbiased either. Do you really believe they are giving you subjective opinions and reality on those stations? If you listen to all stations you might get some glimmer of truth and be able to sift through the partisanship, anger and vitriol that has become part our media and make up your own minds. Each side continues to blame the other, but the solutions and answers are hard to come by when our leaders are thinking of their own legacies.

Posted by Dan Galindo
a resident of Danville
on Oct 7, 2013 at 11:05 am

Ha ha ha--some Obamabots are quoted in today's San Jose Mercury news
That under the ACA (joke!) annual premiums going UP $10,000!!
Ha ha ha ha!!! Serves them right! Uninformed voters like the pseudo intellectuals on these boards!

Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Oct 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Louise, the argument you posit has empowered Fox to deliberately lie to you. You're excuse: "They all do it." is wrong as a matter of intent - mainstream media which are not overtly devoted to advancing a specific agenda, unlike Fox and MSNBC - actually work at being objectively truthful. If they fail, it's not because they have a cadre of "loyal veiwers" like you who have decided that it's OK for them to lie to you "because they all do it."

You have an ideological viewpoint, and you've decided to feed that bias from media which will willfully lie to you to support and reinforce that viewpoint. There is nothing on Fox News but vitriol and partisanship. The mainstream media actually try to avoid that. Your inability to see that is a result of your blinders, not their "bias."

Is it any wonder you believe that you are a victim? The first stage of propaganda is to convince the faithful that they are victims, that "others" are getting things that they're not, that the "others" are preaching hate of the poor victims, who need to band together to crush the "others." The funny thing is that your posts exemplify that which you claim to oppose.

Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Oct 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm

My apologies - the above post obviously was not written by "Louise", but by me.

Posted by Danville Indendent
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 8, 2013 at 7:25 am

Thank you, "Huh?" confused me for a moment.

Louise: it is only natural that you watch "news" programs that validate your thoughts and opinions. But let me share something with you: being a "news junkie" (to the consternation of my poor wife!), I DO watch as many news programs as possible, up to and including FOX. I also (still!) subscribe to several print news magazines (...and yes, 2 of them can be considered Ultra-Right). FOX news channel's mantra of being "Fair & Balanced" is only partially correct. As far as being "fair," they are what they are: a political-propaganda machine dedicated to misinforming their viewers to further their agenda. On the Left, MSNBC more or less does the same thing, although the latter station doesn't even come CLOSE to the misinformation spewed by FOX (Google is such a wonderful tool for those that want to investigate any particular news-story!). I invite you investigate the majority of stories on FOX, and you'll soon come to the conclusion that the "whole truth" is very seldom explained in their presentations. The ACA (of which I am a STRONG advocate!) is a prime example of their misleading "order-of-business." IMO

Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Oct 8, 2013 at 7:43 am

I think the more we all discuss and educate ourselves, the better off we'd all be and we'd find we actually agree more than we disagree if we had all the facts and less of the propaganda. Everybody seems so sure that Obamacare is either good or bad, will fail or will succeed. The reality/fact of the matter is that nobody knows for sure. Anybody that is sure of an outcome that hasn't happened yet is lying/ignorant/arrogant. Where do I stand? For everyone, I hope it succeeds. That's where I stand. I have no idea what the outcome will be. Am I rooting for it to fail? Why in the world would I do that? We should all be rooting for it to succeed. What does it matter whether it was passed during a Democratic presidency. The issue is that our current healthcare system is bankrupting this country. It is an indisputable fact that this country spends twice as much on healthcare than the average cost in all other Westernized nations with a far lower level of quality and outcomes (higher death rate). The rate at which it has been increasing is unsustainable. It is the single largest drag on our economy, by a large margin. Anyone that cares about fiscal responsibility should be rooting for Obamacare to succeed because there are no alternatives on the table. Going back to the status quo will continue to drive our economy into the ground. Like any major legislation, should we expect everything to be perfect and wonderful from day 1? Of course not. Does that mean that at the first sign of any problems or challenges, we should hold that up as evidence that it is a failure? Only if you are rooting for it to fail. And why in the world would you do that?

Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Oct 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

Danville Indendent (did you mean Independent?) - You mentioned that you subscribed to several print news magazines, including two that were "Ultra-Right". I'm curious as to which news magazines these are? Not just the two "Ultra-Right", but the others that you find interesting and informative enough to subscribe to. Just curious. News magazines tend to have more in-depth articles than can be found in newspapers, or on web sites, although they all have some degree of editorial position, it seems. So I'm interested in your opinions on various print news mags.

I would agree with you that both Fox News and MSNBC both have a distinct viewpoint, although I would disagree with your take on the relative merits, etc. Actually, I would say that some Fox News shows are basically the polar opposite of MSNBC, whereas some other portions of Fox News are more comparable to things on CNN (i.e., a conservative-leaving version of CNN). But obviously opinions on that differ.

Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Oct 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Something else I find ironic as so many people are so eager to blame Obamacare for "killing" jobs, when there aren't actually any facts to back that up, is that the unsustainable cost of rising healthcare has been a huge contributor to why so many US corporations over the past 10-15 years have outsourced white collar jobs overseas. The value proposition of outsourcing is not just about sending a $75k job to India where the cost might be $15k instead, but you have to also factor in the healthcare costs for that corporation for that $75k job. When you outsource, you don't pay healthcare at all (among other related employee costs), so each year that those costs rise, it makes outsourcing that much more attractive and we lose more and more jobs. As healthcare costs have continued to rise at such alarming rates, that has squeezed corporate profit margins and put them in a position where they were looking at ways to re-gain or at least hold onto the margins they had. If annual healthcare is rising at anywhere from 5-15% every year, year upon year as they have, at some point something's got to give. As much as I hate outsourcing with a passion, I can at least understand how rising healthcare costs have contributed to it. So again, I applaud that the Obama administration, for the first time in my 46 years of life, for being able to pass some form of healthcare reform. I'd rather see an administration try to do something, even if flawed, than do nothing. Something to think about for those of you anti-Obamacare people out there.

Posted by Danville Independent
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Hi C.R!

Certainly I'll tell you! Newsmax and the National Review (definitely) lean to the Far Right. Then I also subscribe to Time (have since my early 20's - this one I just can't seem to let go), The Economist and New Yorker magazines. (I know, I know,...I can get most of these on-line, but for some reason I'm old-school, and I LOVE sitting in my backyard reading the print copies.

And Dan Parnas: well stated - I couldn't agree with you more!

Posted by John
a resident of Danville
on Oct 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm

C.R. Mudgeon:

I am responding to your 10-4-13 statement of why I think your medical is being subsidized.

I thought you knew this, but apparently not. The company paying your premiums has every right to give you a raise or attract employees. However, the problem I have is that this should be included in your income and taxed.

Your medical expenses are being subsidized by tax payers, both state and federal.

Your ignorance of the facts are on display.

I am so tired of subsidizing you.

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