my notes from Today’s FSSA forum

I went to a forum today about FSSA’s recent privitization of the administration of Indiana’s food stamp, medicade, and other benefits. Here are my notes from the forum. I tried to be as accurate as I could, but in many cases, couldn’t keep up with names, positions, or people’s entire stories/statements.

Before I offer my notes, I wanted to give a little of my own analysis. The panel of experts represented various township and state government officials who were presented as experts. While one panelist aknowledged that they were only experts because they had heard so many criticisms and seen so many problems faced by their constituents, I still thought that the lack of people directly affected by the FSSA privitization on the panel was very telling of a system that continues to fail to put people using the services at the center of the disucssion and in control of driving the program’s future. There were a few people who had personally struggled trying to maintain FSSA benefits through the privitization rollout, but many of the voices were from people who worked through agencies or informally as advocates or who were friends, like myself, of people who had to deal with FSSA privatization. The sheer number of people affiliated with agencies or other nonprofits was encouraging because there seemed to be such a consensus that the current system was very flawed.

On the other hand, I think the non-profit to individual ratio represents how voices get masked behind the web of non-profits in Bloomington. Ideally, I would love to see people, not just represented by the non-profits that serve them, but representing themselves, with support (childcare, transportation, media access, employment) from the social services to allow people who are affected by issues of healthcare access or food security to direct their own voices to decision makers. The reason for this seems complicated. Bloomington non-profits definitely lack the resources to be both service providers and support for communities organizing themselves. Still, I think many non-profits are trapped in the mindset of helping the less fortunate or “humanizing the system”, as one commenter stated, rather than being part of more radical and fundamental change by helping those most affected be at the forfront of the dialog and the decision making or critically reshaping the social values and assumptions that underly inequality in Monroe and the policies that preserve it.

The role of non-profits remains a difficult one. As many people at the forum explained, the privitization of FSSA services also involved the removal of local FSSA caseworkers from communities across Indiana. This created a situation where the FSSA representatives that most people dealt with (mostly over the phone) were both unfamiliar with their cases and could not effectively help with problems. Charlotte Zietlow, who works with the Middleway House, made the additional analysis that removing local caseworkers has placed the burden of casework on other local agencies that are already struggling to find the resources to do the work that they’re doing. Exaserbating resource scarcity for supporting people in Bloomington creates a fearful and competitive atmosphere, where non-profits don’t communicate or collaborate and where they choose to hold the course of their work rather than pushing the boundaries of what could be or expanding their work to challenge root causes instead of helping people survive.

Here are the notes:


  • Vi Simpson
  • Peggy Welch
  • Matt Pierce
  • Dan Combs
  • Linda Sievers?
  • Zach Main – FSSA – “The guy in charge of the project”

Comments from agencies

Luanne Morrow (Fiscal Coordinator w/ Stonebelt)

  • Deals with developmental disabilities who live in group homes and who are medicade funded.
  • Notices from FSSA come from P.O. Box, look like junk mail and are often thrown away.
  • Only one phone number for the whole state
  • Used to deal with local agencies
  • Recently the FSSA line has also been used for natural disaster issues, which has hurt access
  • Why can’t regional and local offices have seperate phone #’s
  • Monroe co. Medicade office moved and was hard to locate.
  • Need e-mail address contacts
  • 800# menu is really confusing
  • Records are accessed by case # (not medicade #). It’s hard to find this case # because it’s only on the mailings.
  • 10+ minute wait on 800 #.
  • Can only talk about 3 “consumers” at a time.
  • Her caseload is 66+ “consumers”
  • Have different points of contact so the same situation has to be explained over and over again.
  • FSSA reps wouldn’t talk to her as “consumer” representative because paperwork wasn’t filed
  • No phone number for offices.
  • Would only allow phone interview
  • Only called office phone, when she wasn’t there.
  • Thrown into reactive mode for advocating for her consumers
    • Forced to neglect other duties

Q (Peggy Welch): What has gotten better? What should we preserve in the system?
A (Luanne Morrow): Hasn’t seen anything that works better yet. “Everything has caused more work.”

Q (Vi Simpson): Why do you have to contact the office so frequently?
A : Each consumer has to have annual review with Medicade. Consumers have expenses with Stonebelt that they owe. This is funded through FSSA. Also, income, child support, etc. changes frequently.

Q (Dan Combs): Is there a specific group or contact for developmentally disabled individuals?
A: There used to be at the local office. There is allegedly a contact at the 800# who is a specific contact for group homes, but she hasn’t contacted them.

Q: Are there some people who navigate this w/o professional advocates?
A: Yes.

Comment (Linda Sievers): Works for an agency that has gotten access to the system to be able to pull up the FSSA records and pull up individual info by case #. This has been able to help some people.

Comment (Zach Main): Not here to argue or defend the system. “We’re working very hard.” Listening to feedback.

Chris Holly – Private advocate for medicade

  • Lots of people shouldn’t need me (if the system worked)
  • Personally likes to use the internet and feels tech savy, but the web forms on the FSSA site doesn’t work well.
  • FSSA doesn’t honor paper applications from the old days, even when the computer system doesn’t work.
    • This is important because things are time sensitive.
  • Biggest problem is that we can’t call someone at FSSA to finish a case.
  • Appointed rep doesn’t get notices.
  • For him, phone interviews are okay but
    • Reps aren’t familiar with the part of program he’s dealing with. He gets bumped to a specialist but can’t contact them directly.
  • Reps haven’t looked at documentation
  • Only get one chance for a call in a 2 hour window and one callback in 10 minutes.

Q: Peggy Welch: Does “failure to cooporate” describe people’s rejections from FSSA? Call doesn’t come through, often call the next morning instead, don’t reach the person, and the client get’s “failure to cooperate”. What does failure to cooporate mean?
(Lots of people in crowd raised hands in response to the first question)

A (Zach Main): Defined failure to cooperate as when reps say that they’ve sent them multiple notices and people haven’t met their responsibilities.

Q: Peggy Welch: In the past people could call to respond to find out why they got a failure to cooperate (what signature was missing, etc.). Now they can’t. What we’re missing is caseworkers (or a person responsible for a person). This is what missing, not the online forms.

A: Chris: This is a problem. There isn’t one person who understands the case and one person who is responsible. Social security has undergone similar modernizations but still has case workers.

Jody from Community Health and Wellness center in Bedford (also does WIC program)

  • One postive thing – likes being able to check WIC eligibility on the Internet
  • 17/52 prenatal patients are ineligible
  • One patient has applied 3 times.
    • Internet form didn’t let her enter info
  • Another patient is Asian and there are head of household communication issues
    • Jody has tried to support this family
    • Has had wrong doctor and wrong managed care assigned to her
    • Has been billed for ultrasound personally when she was eligible
  • Computer issue, website issues, enrollment center training issues, local agencies aren’t trained, provider issues, panel issues, accurate adding of people to
  • Using federal grant money to cover charges for ineligible folks “Who’s going to pay for them anyway.”

Vi: Why are they ineligible?

Vi: What about being in the 3rd trimester?

Jody: Yes

Tara Doyan: Crisis Pregnancy Center

  • Previously an enrollment site. Weren’t given info on how to do this in transition.
  • Needs caseworkers with knowledge of TANIF, childcare, hoosier healthwise, etc. that is a broad knowledge instead of having to be bounced around
  • Only given notification of interview call for 2 hour time frame a day before or 2 days before. This doesn’t work for working moms.

? from Southern Indiana Pediatrics

  • services thousands of kids (like 9000) on medicade
  • wants to provide same level of service to kids regardless of payer
  • Things have improved
    • Can now work with Anthem, MDWise, MHS, (Maybe one other)
    • Reimbursement rates improved under privitization because rates can be negotiated based on quality of care, level of utilization,
    • They’ve worked hard to develop relationships
    • Anthem and MHS works well (communication and websites)
  • Decrease in caseworkers has hurts patients
  • Autoassignment hurts patients
    • Assigned to care in a different county
    • Switched from provider they’ve used for years.

    Walked away from plans who have been bad business partners. They’ve steered parents away from MDWise because they haven’t gotten paid correctly from MDWise.

Jason Karns – Caseworker for Baron Hill’s office

  • Since conversion 2-3 issues a week (vs. 2-3 issues a month before)
  • 812.336.3000 – Contact Baron Hill’s office if you’re having a problem

Steve Sharp – Indiana Legal Services

  • 1.800.822.4774 – ILS contact # for help
  • Read letter from coworker who is a lawyer and wasn’t able to make the forum
    • Since mid may saw a sig. increase in cases due to clients losing benefits
    • Due to “Failure to cooporate”
    • In most of the cases of “failure to cooperate” people sent requried documents by deadline
      • i.e. document blurred in fax transaction = ‘failure to cooperate’
        • rejection letter was returned to sender so she never got the notice
        • didn’t find out until she tried to buy food and didn’t have funds
        • reapplied for expedited food stamps in May but never got a response
        • took a week for the release form to allow advocate to represent him
        • Call center rep verified that person had sent the required documents but couldn’t fix the error
      • No prompt way to resolve even agency errors
      • Old system: caseworker could solve this
      • New system: explainers and fixers but people can’t do both.
      • In the old system caseworkers could contact people when there was a problem. In the new system, people don’t run into problems.

Response (Zach): If a case takes too long to resolve, it does count against the error rate for IBM. If IBM’s success rate drops below 95%, they could lose funding

? – Rep from Area 10/2-1-1

  • Questions, need help, call 2-1-1
  • Calls, faxes, computer data gets “lost”
  • Better results when things are “wireless” (I assume she means face to face communication)
  • Food stamps is a big problem
  • Monroe county had a flood but even worse in Owen county
  • “Hispanic” community in Owen county even more vulnerable (esp. homes condemmed)
  • Dan Denny with HT has been able to get help for people by contacting FSSA directly
    • FSSA Ombudsman hasn’t been as helpful
  • Ever since the transition 2-1-1 has seen more calls.

Liz Jones – Area 10/2-1-1

  • Immediately on rollout got calls
  • Confused about system
  • Confused about lack of caseworker
  • 2-10 calls a day related to FSSA services
  • Mostly foodstamps
  • Lost benefits
  • Ultimately refered to local food pantries

Janet ? – Bloomington Housing Authority

  • 1350 section 8 families served by BHA
  • 17% (~945 familes) are disabled or elderly
  • “volumes you can’t believe” of folks coming with stacks of paperwork asking BHA to send (fax) paperwork for them
  • HT has been helpful
  • Not getting info from FSSA in a timely manner because these benefits effect people’s standing with BHA
  • Don’t always have case #, used to accessing by SSN#

Jacob ? – Legal aid coordinator w/ Shalom

  • As soon as the rollout happened, Shalom inundated with calls for assistance
  • IU law student has dedicated his summer to help folks with understanding the system and dealing with appeals
  • 20 cases active in last week
  • 3 “areas of concern”
    • Lack of local caseworkers
      • Frequent complaint from people the shalom center works with
      • Forms themselves are way too complex.
      • Folks need local caseworker to help understand forms
    • Homeless folks don’t have phone or internet, phone number to receive call back
      • This is the biggest concern
      • Rollout was handled by mass mailing
      • Transient population didn’t get the notice.
        • I.e. family lost housing so they didn’t get packet
        • lost benefits for them and their kids, still working to get benefits back.
    • In the past time between application and interview was ~ 2 days, now it’s 20 (even with expedited application)
      • Also, 7 day “limbo period” after app. submission
        • can’t confirm receipt or any errors

Charlotte Zeitlow – Case manager w/ Middleway House

  • Burden for caseworking has effectively been transferred to local agencies at a time when their resources are even more limited.
  • Women who get services from MWH need services but aren’t sophisticated electronically.
    • Don’t have time to get access to computers or needed training
    • Many women don’t have telephones
  • Asking people with the fewest resources to do the most complicated things technologically.

John Cardwell – Indiana Home Care Task Force, Generations project (looks at privitization issues)

  • Problems articulated at this forum have been articulated in Muncie/Anderson/Kokomo particularly affected because they are the last community affected by the rollout
  • People affected by this should work with caseworkers or representatives to file a “formal complaint:to “Food and Nutrition Service of U.S. Department of Agriculture” (Tim English, I think he said). Chicago office. Send foodstamp complaints here.
  • Center for Medicade and Medicare Services (CMMS) – has Chicago office. Will take formal complaints.* Above 2 orgs initiates fed investigation into Indiana problems.
  • Biggest problem is lack of caseworkers
  • As a test, gave highly educated people the 16 page app. They would have all received a failure to cooperate notice because they couldn’t interpret the application
  • Thinks IBM/ACS contract needs a “thorough public audit”.
  • Federal law
  • How $’s are being used
  • Staff in Marion call center aren’t trained
  • Caseworkers who were transferred have left
  • Wants formal legislative hearings on this.

Comments from individuals

Mike Biggs – interested in this issue

  • Indiana didn’t knock people off rolls initially and was successful and keeping good track of who should/shouldn’t be on the rolls. This got worse with privatization.
  • Replacing trained FSSA staff with IBM workers and volunteers. This change hasn’t helped people. One state number instead of local service. Offices inaccessible because they’re hard to find and harder to get to.
  • Goal of this was to knock people off of the rolls

Mary – Medicade User

  • Forum balance on agencies rather than users
  • Spent 2 hours on phone this morning and was referred to 6 different numbers to get one medicade answer
  • Can’t have a needed procedure until another (lower cost) procedure was done first
    • Trying to be a good steward of medicare money, response was “just do the procedure anyway”.
  • Couldn’t get info about restricitons and her particular case
  • Given the run-around on the phone
  • Don’t know what department to direct her to on the phone
  • Wants to find a caseworker.

Catherine – Restuarant Owner

  • Crime in neighborhood has increased since FSSA changes
  • Increase in mentally ill people visiting her restaurant
    • Feels these people are getting knocked off of FSSA rolls
  • “I’ve never seen poverty like I’ve seen in Indiana”
  • There’s a “war on the poor people in Indiana”.
  • IN should find a model in other states that works and be adopted in IN.
  • Case workers are very important to bring back.

? – Received foodstamps and medicade services for children

  • Ivy tech student, had to miss classes to attend forum
  • Didn’t receive call at the time that they said.
    • Threatened with loss of job

? – Works with immigrants

  • Children (even undocumented) are able to have some benefits
  • When calling, call center doesn’t speak spanish, asks for SSN which people can’t give (even though their undocumented kids are eligible)
  • Technology difficult to navigate, even for those with computers
  • Need computers and tech support at local offices
  • Need people who can interpret different languages

Dianna Goodman – Ivy tech student

  • Classmate couldn’t take full course load, so she lost eligibility

Bob – medicade user

  • Dyslexic, found out today that he was denied for 2 years for his medicade

Panelist Comments

Linda (Panelist) – Township Trustee

  • Township can help
    • Food pantry
    • Rent/mortgage assistance
      • Makes decision about this in 72 horus
    • Shelter

Vi Simpson (Panelist) – State rep

  • Thanked FSSA for their flood relief, esp. one stop shop for Brown county
    • Flood relief proves that we can accomplish things when we work together
  • system faced “sudden and emotional changes”
  • system is broken
  • Because so many lives and vulnerable people depend on these programs working well and efficiently, by working together we can improve things. This is really the reason for today’s meeting.
  • Hope that by bringing caseworkers here today, they could solve specific problems, but also wants to identify systemic problems
  • I learned today: 2 page document to apply for children’s health service -> 18 page document
    • Vi was on comittee that recommended a 2 page app.
  • This summer there will be hearings on this issue
  • Contract needs to be funded in the budget so this could come into play in the budget hearings
  • FSSA has suspended rollout to further counties

Matt Pierce (Panel) – Rep

  • The way we serve the neediest members of our soceity is the fundamental gauge of our government
  • General assembly must provide oversight
    • Understand what’s happening in system
    • ensure that changes are made if needed
    • Hearings this summer, this is the beginning of the process.
  •  Goal: to have as few people as possible slip through the cracks -> contact his office if you need help
  • Biggest concern: people reduced to data points. We might have moved into a structural system that has caused this to happen.
Peggy Welch (Panel)
  •  Panel of “experts” because they’ve heard from so many people about this
  • There’s been an increase in calls. This represents some kind of systemic problem.
  • Peggy serves on ways and means committee. Not sure if current contract represents the most efficient use of taxpayer money in terms of people getting services. These questions will be asked during the summer.
  • This forum will be broadcast on CATS.

Dan Combs (panel) – township?

  •  Most disturbing forum he’s ever been at
  • Developmentally disabled left on their own w/o advocate.
  • Sees this as a result of deinstitutionalization
  • Vendors don’t neccessarily want to work in this area. They’re in it to make money.
  • Has taken 20+ years to build relationships with vendors
    • Local mortuary was going to stop taking medicade burials because they couldn’t get paid
  • Township couldn’t get ahold of FSSA via phone number after rollout
  • Media coverage changed this and the township was able to get a direct contact
  • Direct contact is key, this doesn’t exist for client
  • Social services will never be cheap or cost effective
  • Good people in Indiana, not out to do a bad job, but we need to look and see if the job we’re supposed to be doing is what we’re doing.
  • Low income people couldn’t have made a later meeting either because of non 9-5 hours of many workers* “Maybe it’s even bigger than what I thought it was”.

Zach Main (panel) – FSSA

  • Changes in the last 3 years had the goal of making life better for neediest Hoosiers
  • “It’s not a perfect system”
  • Local office channel of communication is still available (his answer for call to casework)
  • Changes
    • FSSA will increase staffing of local offices
    • FSSA local office will be able to handle cases from beginning to end
    • FSSA will remind people of local office option
  • Goal wasn’t to force people to use phone/Internet
  • FSSA working on forming closer partnerships with advocate organizations
  • “Today is not the end, it is the beginning”

A New Jail?!: Exploring Alternatives to Incarceration in Monroe County

May 3 Jail Education Banner
Saturday, May 3, 2008
A New Jail?!: Exploring Alternatives to Incarceration in Monroe County

Events At:

Boxcar Books
310A S. Washington St.
Bloomington, IN 47401
(812) 339-8710


The Cinemat
123 S. Walnut St.
(812) 333-4700
Bloomington, IN 47401

A day of popular education that will explore alternatives to the current proposal of building new adult and youth jails in Bloomington. Through interactive workshops featuring community members, non-profits, experienced activists, and YOU, we will explore: What is the history of incarceration in Monroe County? What are some existing community alternatives to incarceration in Bloomington and other parts of the country? What have successful campaigns to challenge other jail constructions looked like? Several workshops will offer education, training, and networking opportunities for local folks questioning the need for new jails. The day’s events will culminate with special guest speaker Kai Barrow from Critical Resistance. This is an open event, with people from all backgrounds and political beliefs encouraged to attend.

Workshop One- 11:00 am, Boxcar Books
A discussion and Presentation on the History of the Monroe County Jail System

This workshop will begin with an interview from Indiana University Criminal Justice Department faculty member, Hal Pepinsky. Following the interview will be a facilitated discussion on the history of the jail, encouraging input from community members in piecing together the jail’s history and the sharing of personal and familial experiences with the jail.

Workshop Two- 2:00 pm, Boxcar Books
A Panel Discussion on Alternatives to Incarceration

This workshop will explore community alternatives to incarceration in Bloomington, as well as highlight successful initiatives from around the country. Representatives from different organizations will speak briefly about how their work keeps people out of jail by offering positive responses to poverty, homelessness, hunger, and conflict that enrich and restore community. Workshop attendees will be able to offer their own perspectives on what makes a community safe and whole.

Film Screening- 4:00 pm, The Cinemat
Yes, In My Backyard, A documentary by Tracy Huling

Financially-strapped communities are now begging for prisons to be built in their backyards. With plundering agribusiness, military-base closings and major industry relocation, incarceration is seen as the salvation of rural communities. Through the eyes of one farming-community-turned-prison-town, this hour documentary explores the increasing and multi-layered dependence of rural America on prison industries and subtly probes the profound implications of this dependence for both the keepers and the kept, and for our society’s understanding of and response to crime.

Workshop Three- 6:00 pm, Boxcar Books
Potluck Dinner and Discussion with Kai Barrow from Critical Resistance

Kai Barrow, one of five paid staff persons for Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization committed to ending society’s use of prisons and policing as an answer to social problems, will lead a discussion

For more press, interview, or further contact information, please use information below:

Judah Schept
(812) 219-3611

Download a flyer for this event (PDF)

Jail Resistence in Bloomington

Some folks have started organizing to plan resistance to plans to organize against a proposed “justice campus” in Bloomington that would include a new, larger jail (as the jail is notoriously overcrowded and there is a federal lawsuit about conditions in the jail), a juvenile “treatment” facility (as youth from Monroe County who are sentenced to one of these facilities have to be sent out of county), and court and administrative facilities (to make transport of inmates between the jail and the courts (and other services?) easier).  Ideologically, I am opposed to the expansion of the number of incarcerated people and a sad reality in most communities is that larger prisons and jails are quickly filled (either by sentencing or by the moving of inmates to take advantage of available space or recover costs), but there needs to be some remediation of the conditions at the existing jail for the inmates and the Federal lawsuit may require some kind of action in the end.

So, I don’t want to frame this issue solely in terms of supporting or opposing jail construction.  If I oppose the jail construction and lose on this and don’t manage to push for increased programming and services for people in the jail and the community at large or assurances that the capacity of the jail will not be used to import people from elsewhere, this is a failure.  Similarly, calls for increased support of social services, to end injustices that are connected with incarceration, and to change the court system or make other changes to incarcerate fewer people are not dependent on jail construction either way.  These things need to be part of the dialog and I think it will be a failure if focusing on jail construction as the sole issue means there isn’t space for talking about things.

My personal goals when it comes to this issue are:

  • Empower incarcerated people, their friends and family to have a central role in the dialog and policy shaping of the jail and criminal justice in Monroe County
  • Include the voice of youth in the dialog about juvenile justice facilities
  • Accurately depict the reasons that people are incarcerated in Monroe County and explode the cultural mythologies of crime and incarceration
  • Explore alternatives to incarceration in Monroe County and move towards expanding and implementing them
  • Address prejudices and stigma about crime, “criminals”, and incarceration
  • Connect issues of economic and racial privilege in Monroe County, support (or lack there of) for social services or grassroots community-based support, and development policies and paradigms with incarceration

Ideally, achieving these things would result in a decision to not expand the jail or build a juvenile facility.  However,  because I see these things as important, I wouldn’t see the defeat of the jail proposal on fiscal grounds (as is the position of many Republican county government officials/candidates) as a victory because it would be likely that there would community support or support from the county officials who rejected jail construction for the things I mentioned above.


I’m always a little skeptical about new businesses opening in Bloomington, but Amy gave Rachael’s high marks:

So I wanted to alert you to a couple of cool things going on in town
that haven’t received much press yet and a couple of venues/locations
that should probably be added to the Let’s Go! Calendar. One of them
is Rachael’s Café, located at 300 E. 3rd Street, 812 330-1882. Rachael
is a member of the Indiana GLBT community, a huge supporter of the
arts, and a complete and utter sweetheart. Everyone should meet her.

She’s got a mission statement, but I’ll just put the first part here.

“Rachael’s Café grew out of a desire to create a friendly, inclusive,
peaceful atmosphere for all. Our mission is to bring understanding,
education and acceptance over a cup of coffee.”

Rachael’s Café serves gourmet coffees and drinks, homemade soups,
salads, sandwiches and entrees. She loves ethnic foods and healthy
nutritional options. I’ve been working with her to develop a more
extensive vegan menu. I bake vegan treats for her and have convinced
her to work more with raw foods, live/slow foods (homemade) like
smoothies, kombucha and saurkraut. The best part is that she’s going
to start serving loaded vegan hotdogs and vegan chili dogs!!! (Can you
tell that I’m excited?) I’m quite sure that she’s the only business
doing this from here to Chicago. So basically, I’m stoked that there
will be a new late-night, cheap food destination in town. The café has
wireless internet, good lighting, lots of walls and a large floor
space, perfect for music, dancing, movies, art shows or pretty much

Here are the dates for upcoming things at Rachel’s Café (missed the
deadline for last month, but I’ll post them anyway)

THURS 13th Shalom Writers Circle – Poetry Reading, 7:30-8:30pm
FRI 14th Bob Dylan Talent Show & Friday Night Open Mic (hosted by Alan
Ginsberg), 6pm
TUES 18th Gretchen Clearwater (Democrat for Congress, Indiana – 9th
District) hosts a political discussion about the pros/cons of the
Clinton and Obama campaigns, 7pm
WED 19th Verbal Terrorism Poetry by Jada B, 7pm
THURS 20th Babbling Banshee Dinner Theatre, serving @ 6:30pm, starting
at 7pm. Irish Stew and Boxters (Irish Potato Pancake) served.
FRI Friday Night Open Mic, 6pm
SAT 22nd Babbling Banshee Dinner Theatre, serving @ 6:30pm, starting
at 7pm. Irish Stew and Boxters (Irish Potato Pancake) served.
THURS 27th Babbling Banshee Dinner Theatre, serving @ 6:30pm, starting
at 7pm. Irish Stew and Boxters (Irish Potato Pancake) served.
FRI 28th Friday Night Open Mic, 6pm
SAT 29th Babbling Banshee Dinner Theatre, serving @ 6:30pm, starting
at 7pm. Irish Stew and Boxters (Irish Potato Pancake) served.

March Let’s Go! calendar

Crystal made this month’s Let’s Go! calendar of Bloomington events and it’s awesome.  She included a lot of free films and lots of diverse events that span outside the punk scene.  She was kind enough to send me a scan of the calendar:

Link to full sized scan of calendar.

yard signs and zounds

 Keep Out All That I Fear Yard Sign

The yard signs that Chiara and I made are getting distributed this week as part of IU’s Arts Week.  I saw the actual signs last night for the first time,  I guess their appearance around town is going to be tracked using a google map.  Today, I’ve been listening to Zounds and the song Fear is another articulation of ideas I connect to these signs:

Sing a song of violence and listen for the sound
All the little soldiers start to come around
Start it with a rumour, a whisper in an ear
Suspision don’t take very long before it turns to fear
??? Said I need a reason, made of up and low ???
??? Feel what they’re fighting, just tell them where to go ???
Give the chance of glory, give the chance of fame
Give the boy an enemy, give the dog a name
Keep the factions fighting, start them off the school
Keep the factions fighting so you divide and rule
Football teams are splendid and fashion just a tool
Keep the factions fighting so you divide and rule

Fear can be a bum thing
A silly and a dumb thing
Fear can be the one thing
That keeps us all apart

Frightened of the humans and frightened of their stares
Frightened of the poisons they pump into the air
Frightened of the chemicals they spray upon the land
Frightened of the power they hold within their hands
Frightened of bureaucracy and frightened of the law
Frightened of the government and who it’s working for
Frightened of the children who won’t know who to cope
With a world in rack and ruin from their technocratic dope, dope, dope

Fear can be a bum thing
A silly and a dumb thing
Fear can be the one thing
That keeps us in the dark

Frightened of the humans, frightened of their stares
Frightened of the poisons pumped into the air
Frightened of the chemicals they spray upon the land
Frightened of the power they hold within their hands
Frightened of bureaucracy and frightened of the law
Frightened of the government and who it’s working for
Frightened of the children who won’t know who to cope
With a world in rack and ruin from their technocratic dope, dope, dope

Fear can be a bum thing
A silly and a dumb thing
Fear can be the one thing
That keeps us in the dark

Fear can be a bum thing
A silly and a dumb thing
Fear can be the one thing
That keeps us all apart

Frightened of the humans, frightened of their stares
Frightened of the poisons pumped into your air
Frightened of the chemicals spayed upon my land
Frightened of the power hold within their hands
Frightened of bureaucracy, frightened of the law
Frightened of the government who’s actions lead to war
Frightened of the children who won’t know who to cope
With a world in rack and ruin from their technocratic dope, dope, dope

Fear can be a bum thing
A silly and a dumb thing
Fear can be the one thing
That keeps us in the dark

Fear can be a bum thing
A silly and a dumb thing
Fear can be the one thing
That keeps us all apart

Your Campaign Here

Keep Out All That I Fear Yard Sign

One of the yard sign designs that Chiara and I submitted for the Your Campaign Here project, titled Keep Out All That I Fear was selected for production and distribution.


Update: The IDS did a very, very short story on the Your Campaign Here project and Chiara was interviewed:

The first winning sign was a collaboration of two artists, Chiara Galimberti and Geoffrey Hing. Galimberti, an Italian native, said since she is not a U.S. citizen and therefore ineligible to vote, the contest was a chance for her to participate in the campaign.

“Just seeing all the debate, I thought it was a strong avenue for politics without being a part of it,” Galimberti said. “I’m an outsider, but I still have strong political ideas.”

Link to IDS article.Update: I saw this minimalist campaign sign on Boing Boing:

Link to Boing Boing post about the sign.

Healthy Indiana Plan

Currently, I don’t have any health insurance. I think this is true for most of my peers, and for many low-income people, whether they’re low-income because of lifestyle and career choices, like me, or because they lack the economic mobility to obtain incomes that would allow for jobs that get a whole life policy with dividends and health coverage. None of them have incomes that would allow the purchase of individual insurance.

Currently, I have access to some medical care through the Monroe County Volunteers in Medicine clinic, which offers free medical and dental care, similar to what you would receive from an Atlanta orthodontist  or a family doctor or dentist to residents of Monroe County who are below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL). This is certainly a good resource, but I’m not sure how far the care extends for advanced procedures, or in the event of some kind of emergency or catastrophic illness or injury.

Indiana recently introduced the Healthy Indiana Plan which is state-subsidized health insurance for low-income Indiana residents. Again, to qualify for this, one must be a legal Indiana resident, between 19 and 64, and make less than 200% of the FPLwhich amounts to:

Family Size Maximum Annual Income* Approximate Maximum Monthly Income
1 $20,400 $1,700
2 $27,360 $2,280
3 $34,320 $2,860
4 $41,280 $3,440
5 $48,240 $4,020

The cost of this insurance will be between 2 and 5% of the gross family income for qualifying people, and according to the HIP website, the coverage includes:

physician services, prescriptions, diagnostic exams, home health services, outpatient hospital, inpatient hospital, hospice, preventive services, family planning, and case and disease management.Mental health coverage is also included and is similar to coverage for physical health, and includes substance abuse treatment, inpatient, outpatient, and prescription drugs.

The HIP coverage is 3-tiered and structured like this:

  • A POWER Account valued at $1,100 per adult to pay for medical costs. Contributions to the account are made by the State and each participant (based on ability to pay). No participant will pay more than 5% of his/her gross family income on the plan.
  • A basic commercial benefits package once annual medical costs exceed $1,100.
  • Coverage for preventive services up to $500 a year at no cost to participants.

This seems very Republican (relative to some of the rhethoric I’ve heard in the news about different suggestions for health coverage policies) in it’s design because of the inclusion of the POWER Account (which I assume is what I’ve heard called a medical savings account) and because the plan seems to be administered by two private carriers: Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and MDWise with AmeriChoice.

I believe that coverage will be limited to around 30,000 people (due to limitations on funding) and the plan will be funded by an increased tax on cigarette sales, but haven’t confirmed this in the actual release of the plan.

Of personal interest to me is the fact that it seems that much of the plan information is accessed and administered via the Internet. All plan participants must have an e-mail account (or will be given one if they do not) and both carriers list “Community Resource Centers” with internet access as part of their “Enhanced Services”. I think that more and more social services are using Internet technologies because they allow for cost savings. However, I fear that the costs of home Internet access (particularly for people with bad/no credit), unfamiliarity or discomfort with using Internet services, and the restrictions on access to public Internet resources like libraries or community resource centers (hours that the facilities are open may not match work schedules, no childcare options) may make the navigation of social services more alienating for their users.

In any case, I’m going to apply for the HIP and blog about my experiences.

Link to HIP home page
to summary of HIP