Roundtable: Obamacare Lurches Forward; Alarm Over Fire Alarms; Age Discrimination At NCTD
Friday, October 25, 2013
Aired 10/25/13 on KPBS News.
Megan Burks, KPBS News
JW August, 10News
Brad Racino, inewsource
Obamacare's Shaky Rollout
There were glitches on California’s Covered California portal during the rollout for the Affordable Care Act this month, but nothing like the serious problems the federal website exhibited.
Some of Covered California's quirks, like incorrect physician information, have reportedly already been fixed, but others remain.
Governor Jerry Brown asked for patience from the deluge of Californians trying to access information or enroll on the site, saying there are lots of rules and millions of people who are interested. Furthermore, the state is facing a backlog in hiring and training workers to deal with the avalanche of applicants and questions.
Criticism has also surfaced about the lack of quality ratings for insurers (they will not be available until 2015) and also the fact that the number of people actually currently enrolled is unknown.
Reporter Megan Burks has been addressing questions San Diegans have about the Affordable Care Act on the KPBS website. They range from who's eligible to what happens if illness strikes before the Act kicks in to dealing with current insurance plans.
The governor says the state is making steady progress addressing the problems of Covered California, compared to those states that have chosen to use only the federal exchanges.
Sweetwater's Broken Alarms Cause For Alarm
Just a little over two weeks ago, 10News reported that fire inspectors had discovered 326 fire alarms and 80 strobe lights were not working in schools in the Sweetwater Union High School District. The report caught the attention of the Chula Vista and National City Fire Departments.
Improvements to the district's fire safety system were listed as a spending priority for funds from Sweetwater's Proposition O, a $644 million bond issue passed by the voters in 2006.
Upgrades and improvements offered by the district were approved by the state some time ago, but have not yet been implemented by the district. 10News reported that the district has so far spent no Prop O funds on alarm repairs and upgrades. The district has denied the allegations.
The National City and Chula Vista Fire Departments looked into the condition of the district's fire alarms. National City FD concluded that indeed the condition of the district fire alarms is unacceptable and that the district must immediately deploy “Fire Watch personnel” to walk each campus every day to check trash cans and dumpsters for fire.
North County Transit District Sued For Discrimination
A former employee of the North County Transit District has filed a lawsuit against the agency and named its CEO, Matthew Tucker, alleging the agency systematically targeted female employees older than 40 years of age for firing or layoff and replaced them with younger women.
NCTD runs the county's Coaster, Sprinter, Breeze and Lift trains, as well as its bus service.
Virginia Moeller, a former NCTD Human Resources employee, filed her lawsuit in September. The suit alleges Tucker engaged in age and gender discrimination in violation of state law and that the NCTD failed to protect employees from Tucker's actions.
Moeller's is the second lawsuit filed against the NCTD for discrimination. Kim Stone filed a similar suit in April 2012.