Working As An Obamacare Navigator Was Cool, Except They Never Paid Me

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An email popped in from a woman who wanted to buy health insurance through Covered California. She was having trouble creating an account password, a process that can be difficult if you’re not into following on-screen instructions. I wanted to call her right away, as she asked, but I was home with my kids--three wild toddlers who typically don’t allow me to verbally communicate with others. I suggested that we correct the problem via email or text. She wrote back: “HERE’S A THOUGHT...HIRE MORE PEOPLE.” I replied with a short e-lecture on rudeness. She quickly answered, “EAT SHIT.” As a distinguished representative of the state of California, I maintained my professionalism and wrote back, “Your mama.”

I became a certified enrollment counselor for Covered California after 15 hours of online training. My job was to provide assistance to people looking to purchase health insurance through the exchange, or sign up for free Medi-Cal, my state’s version of Medicaid. The pay was commission only, $58 per successful enrollment. Despite the meager reimbursement, I was excited about the job. I had a decade of experience in community healthcare and was a passionate advocate and Facebook debater for the Affordable Care Act. More importantly, I figured I could make good money if I signed up just a small percentage of the 200,000 plus San Diego County residents who enrolled last year.

I developed an outreach plan in summer of 2014 for that winter’s open enrollment period. It was based on barriers to insurance enrollment that I had seen while working on similar projects: transportation, computer illiteracy, and lack of enrollment counselors available during evenings and weekends. My services would be mobile, especially since I was unable to afford a real office, and I would assist clients any time of the day or week. I’d also target places where the unemployed and underemployed tend to be during working hours, like libraries and malls and living room couches.

I had my first client within a week, a woman in her early 50s who lived in South San Diego. She found me on the Covered California website. Her husband had lost his job as an executive in the defense industry and she needed help figuring out this “Obamacare thing.” I had learned in training to never say Obamacare, and had received a stern follow-up email telling me to scrub the term from my website. “Sure, I can answer questions about the Affordable Care Act,” I said. I drove to her house that same day.

I walked on to the client’s porch and saw what I was hoping to avoid: a damn dog. He jumped and barked and looked like he wanted to start some shit. The client called us both inside and told me to have a seat. She asked if I wanted something to eat or drink. I refused. According to Covered California rules, I was not to accept any sort of payment or gift from enrollees. But my mouth was dry from nervousness, so I changed my mind, “Mind if I have some water?”

I hurried through my spiel: “Open enrollment has yet to start, so your premium would be based on the current year’s income. If your family’s employment situation does not change in the near future you’ll qualify for Medi-Cal. Whatever the case, you’re likely find a much better deal on the exchange than you would by accepting COBRA from your husband’s former employer...”

The woman scoffed at Medi-Cal. “As I much as I don’t like going to the doctor, I want to keep the one I have,” she said. I collected her personal information as we made our way through the application, filtering through tangents about politics and personal finance. “If my husband doesn’t find a job that pays as much as his last, we’ll lose the house and I’m not sure if he can at his age.” It was a spacious, elegant house that I could buy if I enrolled about 17,000 people for Obamacare. I had little to say besides “Sorry to hear that” and later, a very corny, “It gets better.”

We took an hour to complete an insurance application that should have taken 30 minutes. The client chose a health plan that cost around $400 a month. Despite the price I think she felt a bit better by the time I left. The dog did, too. He didn’t even bother to look as I hurried past. I received an email from the woman days later. Her husband had a big interview coming up.
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Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Suggested Valentine’s Gift For Men: ‘Chocolate Butthole’

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The chocolates are sold in boxes of five and cost about $40.00, though if you know your way around Craigslist you can get the real thing for about half of that. From Cosmopolitan:

What do you get for the man who has everything? How about a chocolate version of your butthole! Now, of course Edible Anus chocolates aren't modeled after your specific anus (if you want something like that, you could always get your anus bronzed), but they may as well be, because who could tell the difference?

-Dewan Gibson

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R. Kelly Celebrated His 48th Birthday Like A Hardup 18-Year-Old Virgin

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I'd call this a Young Thug ripoff, but since R. Kelly did it, let's call it a dedication. He's the master of many styles, especially whichever style is with the young folks. Well, the song does makes me feel a bit better about approaching 40 in the next five years. "Happy birthday, BITCH!"

-Dewan Gibson

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Maybe Marshawn Lynch Is Just Another Privileged Rich Guy Acting An Ass

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Marshawn Lynch has a relatively simple job. He is required to: 1) Run with a football while other men with similar mutant-like powers try to hit him as hard as possible; 2) Stay out of trouble when not running the football; 3) Answer trite questions from the media describing what it was like to run said football, while wearing clothing that is sponsored by corporations who have financial relationships with the NFL. For these tasks, which carry the risk of debilitating injury and/or sheer boredom and aggravation, Lynch was awarded a four-year $31 million dollar contract with a six million dollar signing bonus. A pretty good gig if you can get one of 1,696 such positions that exist in the world.

As far as job task number one, Marshawn Lynch is great. A man his size shouldn't be so fast and nimble, and for the sake of his opponents, angry when carrying the ball. He reminds me of Bo Jackson, by that I mean Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl. Sometimes he makes opposing defensive backs look like toddlers playfully trying to bring down their father in a game of living room football. He's pretty damn good.

However, off the field, probably a bit more so than most of us, he's been so-so at best. In 2008, he pulled a punk move and drove away after hitting a woman with his car while leaving Buffalo's entertainment district. He says he didn't know he hit anyone, which tends to be the case when you're drunk. Then he caught a gun charge, followed by a DUI a few years later, which caused him to miss his foundation's (Fam 1st Family Foundation) football camp, which is the organization's big event. Anyhow, no one was hurt in the incident and Lynch issued an apology shortly after.

But he struggles with the media, recently reminding them of his dislike by repeating "I'm here so I won't get fined." And football fans largely respond in two ways. They either eat it up, as if Lynch is the defiant employee sticking it to The Man, or just see him as another spoiled athlete. (There's also a small but vocal-behind-the-safety-of-a-computer minority who call him a thug, which is pretty much today's N-word, just not the one with the cool "a" ending.)

I align more with the second group. I've had a bunch of jobs that required me to do monotonous bullshit that served a larger purpose. For example, I was the rare heterosexual greeter at The Gap. My job was to say "Welcome to The Gap," like it was a damn amusement park, and wear Gap clothes while doing so. Silly? Of course. But I had to follow the rules of the job, rules that I knew existed when I signed up for the gig.

This continued in Corporate America. I worked for a Roger Goodell type (talk about an asshole) in the healthcare field who micromanaged me and assigned tasks that I felt were below pay grade and capabilities. But he made the rules. And I knew that when I sent him a resume to get the job that he was offering. Despite the minor stresses, I was glad to have the job, much more so when he fired my black ass for carrying out the tasks with an attitude that I considered silly, sort of like Lynch is doing now.

I'm no sympathetic figure and neither is Lynch. He's a millionaire who doesn't enjoy a relatively minute part of his job. It's not social anxiety. If so, he probably wouldn't give a Skittles press conference or accept endorsements that require him to speak. It's not just about wanting teammates to get credit for their play. If so, he wouldn't celebrate touchdowns by grabbing his nuts--which is hilarious but also attracts attention to himself that he supposedly doesn't want, as does the way he carries himself during pressers.

Lynch's interaction with the media is simply rich guy privilege. He possesses a rare athletic talent that helps to produce a lot of money for a lot of people, though the dreaded media also has a hand in that. In America, this means Lynch and others can avoid showing basic human respect to those well below his pay grade and generally get away with things that we commoners can not. It's not admirable. It's not deep.  It's not even interesting anymore. It just reeks of another rich guy acting an ass.

-Dewan Gibson

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Some Fool At The Beach Hacked Into My Camera

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I hate it when I'm at the beach taking pictures of my boys and my camera just starts taking pictures of random people and their ass cheeks all by itself. Sorry, Boo. I was hacked. Blame the NSA. Blame Obama.

-Dewan Gibson

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Underwhelming Contest Held For New York City’s Best Butt

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For the most part, New York's Best Butt Contest appears to be more like, "Oh, she has a nice butt," than "Damn! She got a big ass!" Only 68 women showed up, maybe because the prize money is just $2,000, which in New York will only get you a value meal, a week's stay at the YMCA, and one of those fake gold choker chains that Puerto Ricans wear when they're playing stickball.

The contest was sponsored by a plastic surgeon who's looking for a new model, though contestants had to be natural. I bet they would have gotten a much better response if Juicy J would have hosted it. Anyway, the winner (who I feel is pictured directly below) will be announced later this month. (New York Post)

finalist

possible.finalist

Oh, OK.

not.a.finalist

-Dewan Gibson

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Raekwon & Ghostface Perform ‘Daytona 500,’ Minus A Key Lyric

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Good stuff. Reminds of their far under-priced $20 shows. At the 2:13 mark you'll notice that Raekwon and Ghostface no longer say Jesus or Joseph during the classic line: "I slap box with Jesus, lick shots at Joseph." Besides that they're the same ol' Wu, in rhymes and attire. That vest is never coming off Ghost.

Also, Raekwon and Ghost are trying to crowdfund an Only Built 4 Cuban Linx documentary. More info is available at FanBack.

-Dewan Gibson

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