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Letter: There are alternatives to the Affordable Care Act tax penalties

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Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 12:00 am

This letter is intended for people of Lodi and the surrounding area who can no longer afford health insurance and seek alternatives to Obamacare’s consequences. This is just one of various options.

Unfortunately, everyone is forced to pay tax penalties if they do not buy insurance for their own reasons. There are some exceptions.

I have in the last six years spent three to four months each year traveling throughout Thailand to become familiar with the customs, culture, laws and to discover if it was safe to travel here. I also wanted to determine the quality of health care so if any medical concerns came to be, I could get quality treatments by professional providers of care.

One of the exceptions in Obamacare, to avoid the tax penalties of having no health insurance, is granted when one lives out of country for six or more months per year. I have explored this possibility in Thailand and here are the results:

One age 50 and older can buy a comfortable condo, have 24-hour maid service, pay for food, clothing, utilities and basic costs of living, and buy an international policy covering your health care in Thailand and for accidents in USA all for less monthly cost than the premiums you would pay for the platinum plan in Obamacare.

Imagine living in a tropical paradise near world-famous beaches for six months, and back to USA for the remainder of the year — even if you only have $2,000 of retirement income.

But what about the health care?

Recently, I was hospitalized in Thailand for 48 hours for severe pain. I had a series of tests, including but not limited to ECG, blood panel, X-rays and urinalysis. I was visited by a physician on eight occasions, had round-the-clock nurses and received six prescribed drugs to treat what I was diagnosed with. Results were outstanding. After discharge, I noticed a dental center there in which I had a crown installed by a quality, gentle dentist. Final bill was $598.88 for dental and medical services.

Thinking outside the box can bear fruit. Many countries are suitable. Pick one and investigate the possibility.

Darrell Baumbach


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:46 am on Thu, Mar 6, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Oh, that's 3 million per year.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:46 am on Thu, Mar 6, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Cuba has over 3 million people who go for medical treatment.

    I guess they are all, according to YOU, dissatisfied customers.


  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:42 am on Thu, Mar 6, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    I think that's FORMER Congressman Allen West.

    SERIOUSLY - Allen West? Even as crackpot as Floridians are - even THEY voted this NUT out of Congress.

    Who cares WHAT he has to say - except his employers at FOX News.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 8:14 am on Thu, Mar 6, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Wow, my minions again, eh, Doctor?

    Guess what? They are all coming over today to grovel at my feet and groom the landscape in my yard - maybe paint the house if the weather holds up.

    You can run, but you can't hide, Doctor!

  • Brian Dockter posted at 7:22 am on Thu, Mar 6, 2014.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2865

    Communists and Progressive Liberals: Comrades for Life


    A clip:

    Two weeks ago, Congressman Allen West remarked that he believed about 80 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party, specifically referring to the Congressional Progressive Caucus. When the policies and principles of the Communist Party and liberal progressives are compared, it’s disturbingly apparent that both groups are scholars of the same school of big government and social justice.
    So who are these modern-day comrades and what exactly do they want? According to the Communist Party USA’s “constitution,” they are a party “of and for the U.S working class” that believes abolishing capitalism and instituting a “socialist reorganization of society” will solve just about everything—“exploitation of human beings by others, the evils of oppression, war, racism, environmental degradation, and poverty.” The constitution goes on to state that the party “fights for jobs and economic security, a decent and rising standard of living, peace, justice, equality, a sustainable environment, gay rights, health care, education, affordable housing, the needs of seniors, democracy, and a fulfilling life for everyone, with socialism as our goal.” In short, they want it all. And the Party believes that by giving government control of major industries, redistributing wealth, and by keeping all citizens at the same level of mediocrity for the sake of fairness, this idealistic utopia can be attained.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 6:12 pm on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2865

    Cuban healthcare system sucks, according to leaked cable


    A clip:

    - During chemotherapy and radiation treatments, patients receive little in the way of symptom or side-effects care (i.e., severe nausea, vomiting, low blood counts, fever, diarrhea, radiation burns, mouth sores, peripheral neuropathies,etc.) that is critically important in being able to continue treatments, let alone provide comfort to an already emotionally distraught victim. Cancer patients are not provided with, nor can they find locally, simple medications such as Aspirin, Tylenol, skin lotions, vitamins, etc. Most Cuban patients are not offered Hospice Care or any social support programs for children, adults, or their care providers.

    -- HIV positive patients have had the letters ‘SIDA’ (AIDS)
    HAVANA 00000103 002 OF 006
    stamped on their national ID cards. Needless to say, in a country where the national ID card must be shown for everything from getting monthly rations to buying a train ticket, the person is stigmatized for life. There is no patient/doctor confidentiality and discrimination is very strong. (Note: According to Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) officials in Havana, stamping ID cards used to be the case but is no longer the practice in Cuba, something we could not independently corroborate. End Note.)

    -- Some newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS patients are held in what has come to be known as “Prision de Pacientes con SIDA de San Jose” (Prison for AIDS patients). There they are started on antiretrovirals AZT, D4T, 3TC. It is unclear to them why they were put in this prison-like facility but believe it is plain discrimination due to their homosexuality. The average period spent at this facility seems to be 18-24 months.

    -- AIDS patients are not given prophylaxis medication for the prevention of PCP (Pneumocysti carinii pneumonia), and for lack of newer medicines some patients are re-started on antiretroviral regimens that were stopped due to significant side effects. The Cuban family physicians who care for these patients’ primary care needs do not have the authority to treat their HIV/AIDS disease. There is only one facility in Cuba, Instituto Pedro Kouri, located in Havana, where HIV positive patients can receive their specialty care, antiretroviral medications and treatments. According to HIV positive Cubans known to FSHP, one usually waits for months for an appointment, but can often move ahead in line by offering a gift or hard currency. We are told five Cuban convertible pesos (approximately USD 5.40) can get one an x-ray and more can get one a CD4 count. Patients on the island must travel to the capital city for their specialist visits and medication. Due to the lack of island-wide transportation and the cost of travel, many HIV-positive patients may be seen only once per year.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 6:08 pm on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2865

    Some crackpot organization Ms. Bobbin? If that's the case then the information you provided should have revealed Cuba's healthcare system is not what it makes it self out to be even more.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 6:04 pm on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2865

    Ms. Bobbin,

    As usual, you totally missed the point. That being, Liberals have attempted to make a case that Cuba's healthcare system is superior to ours.All the while ignoring what the Cuban government does to hide the real facts about it's healthcare system. This is intellectual dishonesty at it's finest. And then you go on to portray Darrell as someone who completely ingnores Thailand's woes and only focuses on their healthcare system.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 1:28 pm on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Any complaints, Mr. Birch? Have you NOT noticed that Brian Dockter is fixated on me and HAS MADE THREATS?

    Get busy or Mr. Dockter will REALLY be making problems for YOU by hs harassment of ME.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 1:26 pm on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Doctor wrote: "Chuckle,

    Ms. Bobbin just couldn't bring herself to acknowledging there are many other countries that manage to provide healthcare at much lower costs than the U.S. BECAUSE she just had to disparage Darrell one more time."

    Great, Mr. Doctor. Why did you NOT reply to Mr. Chang's quite EXTENSIVE post about what to really expect in Thailand? Your bullying of me is not ignored. You are making a career of it.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:26 am on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Doctor stated: "Ms. Bobbin - you can run, but you can't hide"

    Isn't there anyone else in this forum that you can address? Or is your tactic intimidation and threats, bullying women because you think you can?

    What a joke!

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:22 am on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Marco Rubio tried to claim that HIS parents were refugees of Castro and the Cuban Revolution but he was eventually EXPOSED AS A FAKE REFUGEE.

    His parents left Cuba BEFORE the revolution.

    Ted Cruz's father was a Castro supporter - Well he supported Castro before HE DIDN'T support Castro.

    What a joke.

    BTW - the info I had previously stated on Cuba was from the WHO - not some crackpot organization, Doctor.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 7:29 am on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2865


    Why would we believe the Cuban government's health statistics?

    Cuba claims it has low infant mortality, but doctors tell us that Cuban obstetricians abort a fetus when they think there might be a problem. Dr. Julio Alfonso told us he used to do 70-80 abortions a day. And here's an even more devious way of distorting infant-mortality data: Some doctors tell us that if a baby dies within a few hours of birth, Cuban doctors don't count him or her as ever having lived.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 7:20 am on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2865


    Why do Democrats praise Communism?

    -You have to watch the video of Marco Rubio responding to Tom Harkin's trip to

  • Brian Dockter posted at 7:03 am on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2865


    Ms. Bobbin just couldn't bring herself to acknowledging there are many other countries that manage to provide healthcare at much lower costs than the U.S. BECAUSE she just had to disparage Darrell one more time. The funny thing is, Liberals have all too often tried to make the case that Cuba's healthcare system is far superior to ours all the while refusing to acknowlledge all the problems Cuba has. Ah, the double standards of Ms. Bobbin and her minions.

  • Joe Baxter posted at 5:55 am on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1913

    Mr. Baumbach, there is yet another way to avoid ACA penalties. Simply get hard working taxpayers to fund your healthcare 100% even though you did absolutely nothing to earn the entitlement. You can own your home, cars, have a job and still get FREE healthcare. Should be illegal.

  • Walter Chang posted at 6:05 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Walt Posts: 1184

    "This letter is intended…"

    To entertain.

    Darrell's a master of sophistry. Again using his standard motif, cleverly misleads by omission and obfuscation. But at least he admits that his choice (think: an eccentric’s choice) is just one of the “various options”. He does fail to mention any of the more viable exemptions that one can easily find on HealthCare.gov web site.

    But clearly leaving rational thought behind...

    Darrell is solely focused on Thailand. So let's start there.


  • Walter Chang posted at 6:04 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Walt Posts: 1184

    Thailand on 100 baht a day

    Thailand is a beautiful country with a kind and gentle populace. It also is quite affordable and one can stay there comfortably for about 100 baht a day ($3 US). No, I'm not talking time share condos, expat communities, bars, brothels and strip clubs. These are not Thai. Instead, imagine a remote and quiet place in the country (jungle), where time virtually stands still and nobody knows your name. If your needs are simple, you’ll find the accommodations quite suitable (think: thatch hut with shared outhouse). Bring you own mat. Yes, the beaches are fantastic but you won't be anywhere near them.

    During the monsoon season it's rather uncomfortable but there’s nothing is more refreshing then enjoying a cool "Chang" beer (elephant beer) in the shade on a hot afternoon. Shopping in the village market can also be a real treat if one tends to enjoy the more exotic delicacies of the pallet (think: bugs and worms) but you’ll also find "meat" (monkey perhaps but never dog). Bagged rice (from China), tropical fruits, fresh fish and fowl are available too. As is, Ya Ba, the Thai street drug of choice.

    The locals can be quite hospitable and dining with them is always enjoyable. It might be best to refrain from asking questions about the meal and focus on enjoying. It's all going to be covered in curry anyway and will taste great. Trust me. A loud after meal belch will sufficiently convey your appreciation to the chef.

    Local health care is provided by the village herbalist. Thai traditional medicine or indigenous herbal medicine is based on "ancient knowledge" that is still passed on from generation to generation. They collect herbs, seeds and other plant products from the jungle, as well as cultivate plants of their own for medicine. Eat this, drink that and meditate. Something more serious? It's 10 to 50 kilometer trip to the nearest location with a basic clinic. Bit by dreaded Thai coral snake? Don't worry, you won't feel a thing.


  • Walter Chang posted at 6:02 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Walt Posts: 1184

    "Recently, I was hospitalized in Thailand"

    Darrell, I'm sincerely sorry to hear that.

    The "artistry" displayed in this letter indicates that you're feeling fine. But I'm having trouble buying your story.

    My opinion: It feels more like a concoction of baloney, something you created just to deliver a desired message rather then a description of the actual events. And as usual, you really don't provide any details.

    Just a generic laundry list: 48 hours of severe pain. A doctor who visits every 6 hours. A battery of "including but not limited to" lab test. 24 hour round the clock nursing staff. A speedy diagnosis, 6 prescribed drugs and outstanding results. Ok, it sounds like any Sutter or Kaiser facility.

    "dental center"

    This is where the story falls apart...

    You want us to believe: that after a multiple day hospital stay (think: 48 hours of severe pain, multiple test, 6 prescriptions, hospital food, quick diagnosis et al.) and that after you were discharged, that you voluntarily sat in a dentist chair for a crown replacement??????????


  • Joanne Bobin posted at 2:26 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    I personally think that Darrell Baumbach should have place a PAID advertisement in the Lodi News Sentinel rather than use the Letters page to advertise his health/travel insurance business.

  • Todd Cronin posted at 8:38 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Todd Posts: 143

    Gee, must be nice to be able to travel the
    world looking for wellness....
    If I can afford to travel to Thailand or some
    other exotic local for healthcare then I certainly
    can afford healthcare here.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 8:08 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Figured I would say it before anyone else did. IF they can't afford Health Care, HOW are they going to afford living in TWO different Countries and the Travel that would entail

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 6:20 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Seems that peaceful tropical paridise went into the toilet about five months ago.

    This from Februarly 28, 2014:

    "Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Thailand's bitter political crisis intensified Tuesday as five people were killed in clashes between anti-government protesters and police, and the country's anti-corruption commission filed charges against the Prime Minister.

    The violence erupted in the heart of Bangkok after months of protests against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra that have deepened political divisions in the Southeast Asian nation.

    A police officer died after he was shot in the head, and four other people -- at least two of them protesters -- were also killed, officials said.

    Seventy-three people, both police officers and protesters, were wounded in the clashes Tuesday, according to the Erawan Emergency Center, a medical unit monitoring the unrest in Thailand."

    I also recall Mr. Baumbach "praising" Thailand for electing a woman prime minister and how "progressive" Thatland was for doing so.

    Seems that PM is now facing serious corruption charges tied to her family's long history of corruption in the Thai government:

    "Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra can't order a police crackdown for fear of triggering a military coup. And she is now facing a serious legal threat: The country's anti-corruption commission has announced that it will probe her handling of a controversial rice policy, an investigation that could force her from office if she is found guilty"

    I think I'd have second thoughts about that cozy condo - but with the violence happening in Thailand, the medical policy is REALLY a must!


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