Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Remembrance Day 2018

The Revolution Continues blog editor has left Trumpland temporarily to visit friends and family in England. For the next couple of weeks, enjoy insights from an American Progressive Abroad.

Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not. So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.
--Kurt Vonnegut, WWII veteran

Remembrance Day 2018
by C.A. Matthews
photos by Adrian Matthews

At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the "war to end all wars" came to an end. Sadly, the killing continued. Over 800 British and Commonwealth service members and 1000 US Marines were killed before the ending of the official last day of World War I. The long road toward creating a lasting peace is paved with good intentions, or so it seems.

Celebrating the centenary of the First World War this year in a different country demonstrates to me how much the holiday has changed over the years. It first began as Armistice Day and was a celebration of peace and the ending of war--all wars--worldwide. But in 1954 at the height of the Cold War, Americans converted the celebration of ending all wars into one of honoring warriors instead. The eleventh of November was renamed Veterans' Day and emphasized the thanking of soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors for their sacrifice and service to the imperialist state in ridding the world of the Soviet Union and its allies.

In the UK, the eleventh of November is an altogether more meaningful experience. Yes, you are physically closer to where most of the fighting took place than in the US, but perhaps it is the intensity of emotion within the walls of Norwich Cathedral that made me realize viscerally how it wasn't all that long ago that an entire generation of young men marched off to their deaths--gruesome, gasping, bloody deaths in the trenches. Somehow the scars of that conflict still feel fresh nearer to the actual battlefields.

In the US, we've created two  holidays to commemorate those who have served in the armed forces: Memorial Day and Veterans' Day. They are better known as being excuses for the big box stores to have sales and for government workers to enjoy three day weekends, rather than for the veneration of soldiers and warfare. In the UK, they've renamed Armistice Day to Remembrance Day and combined elements from both American celebrations. The dead and the living are both honored--and their sacrifice lauded--but the wish for a world at peace is also remembered.

In Remembrance Day the true essence of Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Armistice Day come together. Could this be the reason why the UK isn't bucking to start a war with Iran, Russia, China, or Fill-in-the-Blank-Land as much as the current American administration is? How are the dead honored by killing more in their names? How are the survivors of warfare honored by killing more human beings in their names? How is peace served by endless bloodshed?

One hundred years after the "war to end all wars" and the US is helping to bomb school buses of children in Yemen. American drones regularly take out the innocent along with the "terrorists." Little children are stolen from their families as they cross the border into the US because of the "crime" of their skin color or country of origin. This is not peace. This is not honor. This is not worth remembering.

Americans must start remembering what Armistice Day originally was all about and pledge to work hard toward building a lasting peace in the world. Remembrance Day should be for remembering that peace is the objective--not the generation of endless profits for the military industrial complex. We should remember the lives lost in the pursuit of greed and vow to end the vicious cycle once and for all. Only then will we experience true peace both within ourselves and between our communities.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them. -- Laurence Binyan
Perhaps the best ending to a television series ever is the poignant ending of Blackadder Goes Forth. It sums up well the horror, utter insanity and uselessness of war (done in a World War I setting)https://youtu.be/vH3-Gt7mgyM

 
Related articles:

US is more comfortable with war than peace
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/11/us-observe-armistice-day-more-comfortable-war-than-peace

US calls for ceasfire--keeps attacking Yemen
https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/53299-rsn-us-calls-for-ceasefire-keeps-attacking-yemen 

Map shows were Obama dropped his 20,000 bombs
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-president-barack-obama-bomb-map-drone-wars-strikes-20000-pakistan-middle-east-afghanistan-a7534851.html

***
From Coalition to Protect America's Healthcare:

A soldier who lost his legs below the knees in Afghanistan — and enrolled in Harvard Medical School a few years later.

A doctor (and a veteran) who ran the Marine Corps Marathon in honor of his father, who fought at Iwo Jima.

A World War II physiotherapist who invented a device that helped veterans with disabilities feed themselves — and then gave it away, absolutely free.
 

These are just a handful of the medical professionals who are proud to serve the men and women of our armed forces. Their stories are incredible — read them today >>

And if you've served, or if you know someone who has, please accept our gratitude.

Thanks,

Coalition to Protect America's Health Care 



***

No to NATO — Yes to Peace

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) plans a summit, or at least a “celebration” in Washington, D.C., April 4, 2019, to mark 70 years since its creation on April 4, 1949.

We plan a peace festival to advocate the abolition of NATO, the promotion of peace, the redirection of resources to human and environmental needs, the demilitarization of our cultures, and the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech against war on April 4, 1967, as well as his assassination on April 4, 1968.

Plans are subject to change based on input from allies and updated information on what NATO plans to do. Tentatively, World BEYOND War plans to work with a coalition of other groups to organize events in downtown Washington, D.C., on April 3 to include nonviolence training, big art creation, a conference of speakers, and possibly a big demonstration; and on April 4 to be part of a major demonstration. One idea being considered is to form a procession to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and from there to where NATO is meeting and/or to a rally in Freedom Plaza.

The important thing now is to put this on your calendar. NATO was heartily unwelcomed by big crowds in Chicago in 2012, and we should be even bigger and more effective this time, with nonviolent actions and media outreach that communicate our opposition to militarism and our support for peace.

In 2012 in Chicago, Amnesty International put up big ads thanking NATO for its warmaking. This time we should put up big ads calling for an end to NATO and to war. Fund pro-peace billboards and other big ads here.

World BEYOND War has also endorsed a rally at 1 p.m. on March 30 at the White House with UNAC, and an event planned by Black Alliance for Peace on the evening of April 4. We will be strongest with all groups, across divergent ideologies and issue areas, working together.

How You and Your Organization Can Be Part of Saying No to NATO, Yes to Peace:
We’re lining up venues, which may include a venue where we can hold events and where people can choose to spend the night on April 3rd. We’ll have those details and further information on rides and lodging. If you’d like to offer or request lodging or rides, please do that here.

Endorsing Organizations:
World BEYOND War, Popular Resistance, CODE PINK, UFPJ, DSA Metro DC, A-APRP (GC), No to War No to NATO, International Peace Bureau, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Nuke Watch, Alliance for Global Justice, Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, U.S. Peace Council, Backbone Campaign,

Sponsoring Organizations and Individuals:
World BEYOND War,

Volunteering to Help:

Outreach that Individuals and Organizations Can Help With
We want to reach out to organizations and individuals in and around Washington, D.C., and any willing to come to Washington, D.C. These events are an opportunity to build the coalition we need. War and militarism kill, teach violence, drive racism, create refugees, destroy the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain budgets. There are no groups working for good causes that shouldn’t have an interest in opposing NATO and advocating for peace. All are welcome. Here’s a sample message you can modify and use.
Spread the word on social media:
   
The Case Against NATO:
While Donald Trump once blurted out the obvious: that NATO is obsolete, he subsequently professed his commitment to NATO and began pressuring NATO members to buy more weapons. So, the notion that somehow NATO is anti-Trump and therefore good would not only be silly and practically amoral on its own terms, it is also at odds with the facts of Trump’s behavior. We are planning an anti-NATO / pro-peace action at which opposition to the militarism of NATO’s dominant member is welcome and necessary.

NATO has pushed the weaponry and the hostility and the massive so-called war games right up to the border of Russia. NATO has waged aggressive wars far from the North Atlantic. NATO has added Colombia, abandoning all pretense of its purpose being in the North Atlantic. NATO is used to free the U.S. Congress from the responsibility and the right to oversee the atrocities of U.S. wars. NATO is used as cover by NATO member governments to join U.S. wars under the pretense that they are somehow more legal or acceptable. NATO is used as cover to illegally and recklessly share nuclear weapons with supposedly non-nuclear nations. NATO is used to assign nations the responsibility to go to war if other nations go to war, and therefore to be prepared for war. NATO’s militarism threatens the earth’s environment. NATO’s wars fuel racism and bigotry and erode our civil liberties while draining our wealth.

We must say: No to NATO, Yes to peace, Yes to prosperity, Yes to a sustainable environment, Yes to civil liberties, Yes to education, Yes to a culture of nonviolence and kindness and decency, Yes to remembering April 4th as a day associated with the work for peace of Martin Luther King Jr.

“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, ‘What about Vietnam?’ They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.” —MLK Jr.

Send us your ideas, questions, proposals!
***
In these dark times, you know what gives me hope? Next week, hundreds of students from across the country are attending the National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference at UCLA to learn from each other, celebrate their wins, and strategize on how to fight white supremacy and work for Palestinian rights. 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the students in SJP - they are thoughtful, ethical and smart. And they do their work despite an incredible amount of backlash. Canary Mission, the shadowy McCarthyite website, trolls them continually, and has already added SJP conference organizers to their blacklist. Now these students face threats that Canary Mission's lies will be shared with future employers, or the FBI, or that Israeli border guards will prevent Palestinian members from seeing their families. 

SJPs have been subject to a pattern of repression across the country. 
And now, a horrific smear campaign has been launched against their national conference. The campaigners are exploiting the tragedy in Pittsburgh by equating the white supremacist attack on a synagoge with SJP’s educational conference. 

This latest attack on SJP aims to get the conference canceled altogether. 
  Can you take a minute and send an email to UCLA Chancellor to support NSJP?

The smear campaign is getting picked up by media and even the LA City Council is getting swayed by these allegations. In fact they just passed a resolution urging UCLA to cancel the conference. 
This is a fundamental violation of free speech rights, and what’s worse is that they’re exploiting the devastating tragedy of the Pittsburgh shootings to get attention.

These brave students urgently need your help. 

Send an email to the UCLA administration now. Tell them to protect their students from harassment, smear attacks and assaults. Protect their rights to freedom of speech - and make sure the National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference is held as planned.

It’s sad and shameful to witness such a twisted response to our shared suffering around Pittsburgh. I hope you’ll join me in calling out this destructive campaign and supporting students who are actually doing incredible, inspiring work.
 

Thank you.

Tallie Ben-Daniel
Research and Education Manager, JVP

***

Let there be peace on Earth-- and help us to support the peacemakers by giving them a voice!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A True Public Servant

Remember--vote your conscience, not someone else's politics.  And when you get your ballot, always look for...
A True Public Servant
by C.A. Matthews

Once in a great while you might come across a true public servant. Why do they have to be so rare? Why can't we nurture and produce more of this endangered species?

If you don't know what I'm talking about, please check out this video by a very nice young man named Austin Bashore. Austin is the real deal. Austin wants to become a true servant of the people of his state house district. And, of course, every corporate-owned candidate and their corrupt party are going to make sure you never hear Austin's positive message of people, planet and peace over senseless polluting profits of the Big Oil & Gas frackers of Ohio. But his enthusiasm is contagious and oh-so-precious. Watch and see what I mean.



Instead of Austin, the citizens of Ohio house district 75 will probably be stuck with a corporate puppet who will allow more pipelines and fracking, among other crimes against humanity. It doesn't have to be like this, but Americans have allowed things to become this way. We've closed our eyes and bought into the lie that we can't change things. We just have to let the selfish, rich bastards run our government and our lives, right down to micromanaging a woman's womb and right to choose, no less.

Why did we give up so easily? Is it because we're lazy? Is it because we're scared of actually taking matters into our own hands? Think about it. If our forebears had acted half as lazy or afraid as Americans of today we wouldn't even be here as a nation 242 years later.

True public servants seem rarer than rubies (because in actuality diamonds are quite common, but DeBeers doesn't want you to know that fact). However, they don't have to become extinct if we work at preserving these unique and beautiful creatures. This blog has featured many other true public servants, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, Dr. Jill Stein, and Constance Gadell-Newton. We will continue to do so, but wouldn't it be nice if they became the rule and not the exception?

What can we do? How can we inspire a new generation of public servants? It's simple. We need to become the leaders we are waiting for. We can't afford to wait any longer. The planet is clearly giving us a countdown to permanent global climate change. It's happening even as you read this sentence. Fortunately, there are many civic leaders who act as public servants, both alone and in groups, in an un-elected capacity. These brave people are called activists. 

One such activist group is Toledoans for Safe Water. In spite of all kinds of legal chicanery to keep the Lake Erie Bill of Rights off the ballot this November, the "LEBOR" gang isn't giving up. They're protesting and picketing and petitioning--again--to get this first ever American Rights of Nature bill on the ballot sometime in the near future. At great personal cost and stress, they fight on. They are not giving up. They've vowed to keep fighting until safe, clean drinking water is available to all 11 million human beings who depend upon Lake Erie for life itself. They fight on to hold those responsible for polluting the lake accountable. (See their press release below.)

This midterm election might not quite turn out the way progressives hope for, but that doesn't mean we throw in the towel. We have to continue to fight. We have to find, nurture and cherish true public servants and encourage them to run for office. Above all else, it means we don't give in to the fear-mongers and naysayers.
We vote our conscience. We don't settle for "lesser evils." We vote for the future we believe in. To do anything less is to sell out our own souls. And why would we want to become soulless like those we oppose?

***


Will City Council Take Away the People’s Voice to Protect Lake Erie?
Lake Erie Bill of Rights is currently the only legal option that seeks to protect
Lake Erie and our drinking water


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2018

Contact Toledoans for Safe Water
Markie Miller, organizer
Crystal Jankowski, organizer

SafeWaterToledo@gmail.com
419-482-8470


Toledo, OH - Toledoans for Safe Water will hold a press conference Monday afternoon (November 5) at 4:00 PM in the lobby of One Government Center. For weeks Toledoans for Safe Water and supporters of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) have been contacting City Council telling them to put LEBOR on the special election ballot along with the jail initiative.

Council seems to be applying a double standard on initiatives proposed by the people and this is not what the people elected them to do. They should not be picking and choosing for political reasons which of the initiatives people get to vote on. Toledoans for Safe Water organizer Jeremy Crawford said, “I personally collected hundreds of signatures for the LEBOR effort. I am calling on Matt Cherry - fellow member of my union (Local 33) to represent my interests by voting in support of LEBOR and placing it on the ballot at the upcoming City Council meeting this Wednesday.” Mike Ferner, founder of Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie, said, “Mayor Kapszukiewicz must stand up for Lake Erie and advise the law department to recommend LEBOR be placed on the upcoming and costly special election ballot. Wade was a strong advocate for Lake Erie in his campaign - it’s time to deliver on his promises.”

Toledoans for Safe Water will continue to put pressure on City Council. Petitioners and supporters of LEBOR are urged to attend the next City Council meeting on Wednesday, November 7 at 4:00 PM. Currently, LEBOR is the only option that seeks to protect Lake Erie. 

Toledoans for Safe water organizer, Markie Miller, said, “City Council members have yet to give a firm commitment to passing an ordinance to put LEBOR on the ballot, instead they allude to the final determination to come from the Law Department. Who exactly do they represent? This gives me little faith that they will recognize the efforts and needs of their constituents, let alone the urgency of recognizing the rights of Lake Erie - which our current laws violate and ignore. We do not want a repeat of 2014 and 3 days without water.” 

Toledoans for Safe Water have a second petition prepared and ready to go should City Council fail to uphold the rights of the people and recognize the necessity of protecting Lake Erie. The people now realize that no one else is going to protect them or Lake Erie and so the effort will continue no matter how council votes. TSW encourage all residents concerned about Lake Erie to support this effort, by attending the city council meeting or contacting the group at www.LakeErieAction.org.

###

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights, a first-in-the-nation Ecosystem Rights of Nature initiative by the people, will enshrine in the Toledo City Charter that the Lake Erie watershed and ecosystem have legal rights, the right to exist and flourish. This will form the basis of a new legal framework for addressing environmental issues by giving citizen groups standing to sue major polluters on behalf of Lake Erie in civil court, enabling citizens to directly address pollution and harm to their drinking water before the harm occurs.

The initiative was drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) at the invitation of Toledoans for Safe Water as a result of frustration felt by Toledoans at years of inaction by the government. Since 2006, CELDF has partnered with dozens of communities across more than 10 states to enact Rights of Nature laws. It currently works in Nepal, India, Cameroon, Colombia, Australia, and other countries. The introduction of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights will establish Toledo as a leader in the growing national movement embracing Community Rights and Rights of Nature.
*** 



Former Ohio US Senatorial candidate Joseph DeMare shares these insights about the "spoiler argument" that is often bandied about during election time:

This is a post I made four years ago, but it's worth remembering today as we Greens again face pressure for daring to participate in our democracy when the D's and R's play their two party game.

Question: Was Ralph Nader a Spoiler in the 2000 Presidential Election?

Answer: No

For more than a decade now, Democrats have claimed that Ralph Nader "gave us George Bush" by "stealing" votes from Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election. For a long time, they used this idea to discourage voters from even considering voting Green. There's just one problem. It's a complete myth.

The truth is, Al Gore won the presidential election. Every full recount showed him beating George W. Bush in Florida by 20,000 to 30,000 votes.

What happened was that the Supreme Court stopped the recount when it was only partially finished and handed the presidency to Bush. The Republican Secretary of State in Florida then fraudulently certified the incorrect results. This was the real election theft.

The Democrats then went along with this theft. The Senate has to ratify the presidential election results. In the year 2000, the Democrats controlled the Senate. All that was required was a single objection by a Democratic Senator to put that ratification on hold until the full recount was finished. With Al Gore himself presiding over the Senate, and despite intense objections by Florida Democrats from the House of Representatives, the Democrats voted to give George Bush the presidency. Watch the first 10 minutes of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 for the actual footage of Democrats handing the government over to the Republicans.

Why haven't you heard of this before? It's much more convenient for the Democrats to blame the Greens for their refusal to stand up for Democracy. The problem is that in the following Presidential election in 2004, the Republicans did the same thing in Ohio. The Republican Secretary of State there again certified the election results while there were still questions over the numbers. But the Democrats did nothing. In fact, the Ohio Green Party was the only organization that insisted on a recount in the presidential election in 2004, but that recount was conducted by the same people who returned the questionable numbers in the first place.

So, in the end, Ralph Nader's campaign in 2000 did not spoil the election for Al Gore. However, the whole idea that a Green can be a "spoiler" assumes that only the two major parties have a "right" to people's votes. We Greens reject this idea. The essence of Democracy is that the people have a right to vote for the candidate of their choice. A vote for a Green is a vote for a Green, period. In 2014, there was a three way race for House of Representatives in the state of Maine. The Republican won, even though more people voted for the Democrat and Green in total than voted for the Republican. But, in this case, the Green got more votes than the Democrat. Was the Democrat a "spoiler" for the Green candidate? Should the Democrat have dropped out and tossed his support to the Green? Should Maine rewrite its election laws to have run offs and require a majority vote for the final winner? These are complicated questions. 

However the answer to the question, "Did Ralph Nader spoil the 2000 election?" is simply "No."

https://youtu.be/bgYEFxjJaUg
 
Jill Stein also addresses the "spoiler vote" argument and argues that ranked choice voting would solve this problem. So, why does the corrupt establishment parties block citizens' initiatives for ranked choice voting? Could it be they're afraid of losing?

https://youtu.be/YHR5a_1XtUM 

***
From Credo:

Just days after taking office, Donald Trump set into motion the revival of the dangerous Keystone XL pipeline project – the dirty oil pipeline that millions of us helped to defeat during the Obama administration.1,2

Now, the Trump administration is carrying through with its threat and requesting public comment on its latest sham "Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement," a hastily-produced document ludicrously claiming the pipeline would only have "minor" impacts on clean air and water, endangered species and sacred indigenous sites.

We must make our voices heard before the Nov. 8 public comment deadline. This is our opportunity once again to demand that the Trump administration drop this plan immediately.

Tell the State Department: No Keystone XL pipeline. Click here to send your public comment.

We already know the proposed Keystone XL pipeline will destroy habitat for endangered species, trample Native American rights, exacerbate the climate crisis and harm clean air and water. And if recent history is any guide, our fears are becoming reality. 

In Nov. 2017, more than 407,000 gallons of oil leaked from an existing portion of the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota, twice as much as was previously thought.3 Even at the time, Reuters found that the "Keystone pipeline has leaked substantially more oil, and more often, in the United States than indicated in risk assessments the company provided to regulators before the project began operating in 2010," making clear that not only is this pipeline unsafe, its operators are saying whatever it takes to seek approval.4

We defeated this pipeline once before, and we can defeat it again. We only have a few more days to submit public comments, so we must stand in solidarity once again with local people, Native communities and activists on the ground who are fighting this dirty and and unsafe pipeline.
Tell the State Department: No Keystone XL pipeline. Click the link below to send your public comment:

https://act.credoaction.com/letter/keystone_comments_2018?t=7&akid=30546%2E9999572%2EdvLSbU

Thanks for everything you do.
Josh Nelson, Co-Director CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Take action now ►
References:

  1. Samantha Page, "Trump uses executive action to revive Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines," ThinkProgress, Jan. 24, 2017.
  2. Elijah Zarlin, "We did it! Thank President Obama for hearing our calls and rejecting Keystone XL." CREDO Mobile, Nov. 6, 2015.
  3. Lorraine Chow, "Keystone Pipeline Spilled 407K Gallons in South Dakota, Double Previous Estimate," EcoWatch, Apr. 09, 2018.
  4. Valerie Volcovici and Richard Valdmanis, "Keystone's existing pipeline spills far more than predicted to regulators," Reuters, Nov. 27, 2017.
 ***
From UHCan Ohio:

Please do what you can to promote the Marketplace health care insurance enrollment. Enrollment is November 1st through December 15th for health care coverage starting on January 1st, 2019.

Individuals may enroll at HealthCare.gov   Spanish speaking consumers should visit CuidadoDeSalud.gov.

For those who already have coverage through HealthCare.gov, they need to know that they should come back and shop because plans and prices change every year and there might be a more affordable plan that meets their needs. 

24/7 Call Center for Enrollment Assistance: To enroll or get assistance, people can call the Marketplace call center 24/7 (except Thanksgiving) during Open Enrollment at 1(800) 318-2596 and talk to a trained enrollment specialist.

In-person assistance: Confidential, unbiased in-person assistance is available - you can make an appointment here. You can talk through your family’s individual situation with a trained enrollment specialist.

Find More In-Person Help: You can find free and confidential local help in your community by visiting: LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov.

Flyer: UHCAN Ohio has posted a flyer (How to Enroll on Your Own - flyer) and a fact sheet (How to Enroll on Your Own - fact sheet) that you can use to let people know about open enrollment.  Please get these or your own versions of flyers out to as many people and places as you can.  If you want versions that you can brand yourself, let me know.  We also have Spanish language versions, other variations of this information, twitter and Facebook graphics, and talking points.
Be Careful - Warnings for Consumers

  • Watch out for scammers and robocalls. Work only with navigators, certified application counselors and brokers listed on healthcare.gov
  • Don’t be fooled by short-term plans. They don't have to cover pre-existing conditions or essential health benefits. On average they spend only 67% of your premium on care but ACA Marketplace plans have to spend 85% on your care.
  • Enroll by the deadline.  Open enrollment ends on Saturday, December 15th.