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State to go live with new registration system for Covid-19 shots

The State House News Service reports that, starting Friday, people seeking a Covid-19 shot in Massachusetts will be able to register at a state site and then get notified when a shot slot becomes available near them. Assuming the system actually works, it will end the current frustration of people who repeatedly refresh various Web sites to see if a slot is available and then rush to fill in personal information before the slot disappears because somebody was even faster in registering.

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An infectious disease expert at MGH has become Director of the CDC. At the same time distribution of vaccine in a public health emergency is run by hacked-up associates of Charlie Baker and the unindicted co-conspirators in the State House. Shouldn't the Massachusetts medical establishment have been in charge of what they obviously know how to do?

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I'm so happy with the strong leadership of our technocratic genius governor to be able to roll out such a good idea only [checks notes] 3 months after the vaccine was announced.

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Don't forget ... healthcare-oriented

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Let's not forget, he had 9 months or so before that to think about the ideas of "how will we handle the distribution of a vaccine once one is available".

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I get the complaints, but I also don't. The system is being overloaded by demand. The supply is vastly lower than the demand. The website, despite its shortcomings, is at this time getting the shots out as fast as we can inject them into people.

This does indeed need to become more of a priority however as more and more of the population becomes eligible and supply increases. The website is not currently a barrier to getting shots into arms, it may very well be if things do not change soon tho.

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I fully appreciate that the supply is a huge challenge but that's why setting up a useful prioritization system which is accessible to various stakeholders immediately would have been so helpful. Put in your SSN and if you're over 75, then you're on a distribution list vs. having to shop around to find a spot. Etc...

We all have healthcare insurance which clearly shows if we have 2+ co-mordbilities, are over 75, over 65, etc...

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I don't buy that crap.

I'm still waiting for an answer to "If health insurance is such a great product, why does government have to bully its citizens into buying it?"

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health insurance is a necessity for everybody, so that when people have serious illnesses and/or injuries, especially when they get older, they won't end up breaking the bank and going into financial ruin so that they can get the necessary medical care.

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Where’s the provision in the ACA that makes the services cost less?

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If you buy insurance, you’re paying into the system that covers any of us who get sick. If you don’t pay into the system, and you get sick, we’re not going to leave you to die in the street. We just aren’t. It’s just not who we are. And so we’ll cover the cost of your care. Which means that if you don’t buy insurance you’re free riding on the rest of us. Which is why compelling you to pull your own weight is a reasonable policy.

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I have some money. I don’t need help until I ask for it.

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... but if I did, I’d be happy to exempt from the requirement to carry health insurance, anyone who can demonstrate the commitment and ability to self-pay the typical cost of a catastrophic illness, and who secures that commitment by posting bond.

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Okay, where does my bond go? My "bond" sits in the stock market, where it's quadrupled in value in 12 years. Will the state invest my bond at an equal or better return?

We both know the answer to that. Stop rooting for corporations and government to force reduced wealth on working people.

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You convince a bonding company that you're good for the total amount. You put up a fraction of that. The bonding company takes the risk.

Personally, I favor medicare for all or some other public single payer option that cuts out the more-or-less parasitic profit of the health insurance system. But that's subject to the same arguments you are making: "why should I have to pay into the system; I'll just take my chances?" I answered that question; quit moving the goalposts.

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...that you are an exceptionally enlightened and superior being, just like all the Ayn Rand fanbois. Now that we've got that out of the way, perhaps you should just excuse yourself from any further discussions about public health, public infrastructure, public education or public anything, and just go live in John Galt Land with the other superior beings where the free market will solve everything. We get your shtick already; endless tiresome whiny comments about how it all doesn't apply to you really are not necessary.

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The decades-old author, because that's the only argument that you have against breaking a duopoly which rips you off anyway.

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if you could actually point out where you disagree with said decades-old author.

Right down to "complaining about a system that you'll surely use when it benefits you to do so".

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that's the only argument that you have against breaking a duopoly which rips you off anyway

(stage whisper) You're not breaking anything, Will. You're just freeloading.

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I paid $0 for health services last year. I used $0 in medical services.

What's 0 - 0?

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You're ignoring the part where the state pays for there to be a support system in place to handle life-saving medical services for you in the event that you're not able to pay because we consider it a bad thing for people to be dying in the street. But you know, if you're really determined to opt out of that part, you're free to move to a cabin in the woods somewhere where you won't have to worry about interacting with the rest of society.

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The state gets money from?

Hint: I've lived here since 2003, and have paid income taxes every year.

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if you slip on some ice walking along, and you get knocked unconscious? You're not in any position to ask for help - should we as a society just leave you on the curb somewhere and you'll just heal yourself back to full health by your own bootstraps? After all, the absolute worst outcome is that you'd have to lose some portion of your hard-earned money, right?

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It isn't a great product. But just like homeowners insurance and car insurance, you don't want to see what your bills would look like if you don't have insurance coverage and you need to use necessary services.

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Works so far. I haven’t bought health insurance since 2007, the last time a job offered it to me.

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You say “take my chances” but what you’re actually doing is free riding on us, since we’re the ones taking the risk of needing to pay the cost of your care if your health goes sideways.

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Send me the bill. Might take 30 years to pay it, but I'll get it done.

Stop simping for corporations and Republicans at the expense of working people.

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Because, among other things, nurses and hospital janitors gotta eat and pay rent, the costs of your care would need to be paid now, not 30 years from now. So someone would need to lend the money into the system for 30 years, thereby foregoing the "quadruples every 12 years in the stock market" returns you were talking about in another post.

Not to mention the question of how you would generate the income to pay off a substantial medical bill if a catastrophic illness were to leave you unable to work.

Part of the high cost of medical care is, indeed, systematic grift at the top. I don't disagree with you there at all. But another, significant part, is that the cost of providing "free" care to the uninsured is shifted onto those of use who carry insurance.

Stop free-riding on the rest of us. Pay your own freight.

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I'm not rewarding a greedy, hypochondriac populace by participating in their fraud.

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We should all be such shining specimens of physical and mental health as thou.

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You want no part of that, fella.

The maker made a trade-off with me: One sick day since I started working in 1999, but Asperger's. I still feel like I got the long end of the stick.

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...it’s a goddamn scam.

62% of personal bankruptcies in this country stem from medical bills. +75% of those bankruptcies are people who are “covered” by health insurance.

Remember that story of the 7-year-old Alabama girl who recently came to Boston for brain surgery that she funded by selling lemonade? She was “covered” by two insurance policies and still had to beg the public to help.

I do buy insurance on the MA Connector, but, if I’m going to file bankruptcy someday anyway, why not put my $300 monthly premium in my own bank account ($100 office visit co pay, $1750 ER, $4000 deductible) instead of paying the salaries of the people who administer this scam?

GoFundMe is a better health insurance provider than anything that’s offered through the state’s exchange.

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So either you 1)pay a tax penalty to own the libs every month 2)you’re too poor to be taxed that penalty or 3) you’re lying

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And it's not owning libs, it was a Republican governor who drew this up.

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The web site may not have been a barrier to getting shots into ANY arms, but it was certainly a barrier to those arms belonging to people who were technically challenged (many elderly) and/or did not have the time to devote to spending hours refreshing web sites (people with jobs that do not entail sitting in front of a computer). Not to mention the hours of productivity lost by those who were fortunate to get through. And it absolutely did not need to that way - anyone with common sense could have predicted the problems with the way it was set up.

I do give the governor props for a major change to set this right - but I wonder how much that cost the state financially.

My worry is that the delay in getting the huge increase in vaccines, from March to April, may result in so many at once that the throughput of the vaccine sites will not be large enough to keep up. That seems more likely to me than the new pre-registration system not beeing able to keep up. I don't know if the state has any plans to open more sites if that occurs. It would be a shame to have vaccine sitting there in freezers.

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Supply/demand is not causing the scheduling problems. Inadequate system is. A better system (than what we've had so far) would be one centralized registration, that you do ONCE, that registers priorities (comorbidities, essential workers), that registers proximity/access to distribution points, that then lets you know when a slot is available.

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A full draft of the statewide vaccination plan was ready by October 16, 2020, so you'd think they were fully up to speed on the challenges they would need to overcome by that point in time...

https://www.mass.gov/doc/massachusetts-interim-draft-plan/download

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that the Globe said Charlie didn't use?

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I don't think the public health people want people being picky about which vaccine. They want to maximize the number of people who get any reasonably effective vaccine.

But I think that population-level focus is also why they aren't going to say that vaccine A is preferable to B, at an individual level.

So people who've seen a friend have a rough reaction from B, and heard chatter elsewhere, can only go on that anecdata, and will be tempted to wait until they're sure they can get A instead.

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According to the Globe, “Residents will only be matched with the site that’s closest to them.” (Apparently regardless of whether you might want to choose a different site that is easier for you to access, or less disruptive to your work schedule?) So it sounds like anyone using just the preregistration system can’t pick a site based on which vaccine it has - you get one site and whatever vaccine it has.

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Someone must have told Charlie his reelection chances are in jeopardy.

Now, if this one crashes too ...

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...it did, right on schedule.

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I wouldn't be quick to give Charlie credit for it, but Massachusetts has now vaccinated more of its population than all but six states, and it has a considerably larger population than any of those six. We started badly, but have caught up. It definitely seems like a mess, but it's a mess pretty much everywhere, suggesting that it's really difficult to do it well.

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If you have enough metrics to pick and choose, of course you'll find one that fits your argument. But the extreme difficulties getting a vaccine here aren't a problem in other states.

Everyone I know in New York was vaccinated weeks ago. Meanwhile, I waste all day reloading several web pages. And New York allowed 65 year olds long before we did, and they require only one comorbidity while we require two.

Walgreens in Rhode Island has plenty of availability at multiple locations. No pharmacies in Massachusetts have had any appointments for a long time.

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But the data says otherwise.

I'm just going to assume that everyone you know in New York is in the medical field, living in a nursing home, or are incarcerated. Still, good that they've got the shots. Too bad New York trails Massachusetts in percentage of residents who share in their good fortune.

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All New Yorkers I know have been fully or partially vaccinated.
That includes someone with mild hypertension in his fifties, a college professor in her fifties on sabbatical, a college librarian below age on a campus with zero cases of Covid reported whose library is closed to all but staff and a person who just became of age and got vaccinated the day before his birthday.
Only one had to travel far from their workplace or home.

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...isn't data.

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Or are we to extrapolate that everyone in New York who wants to be vaccinated has been, but it’s just a case of no one wanting the shot. Now, that would be an interesting assumption.

There was an interesting documentary on Comedy Central about how easy it is to get vaccinated last night.

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You don't need a very long list of metrics to come up with "proportion of population vaccinated". If you are interested in discovering objective truth, you need objective metrics. "Proportion of people I know" does not qualify. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island (one of the six states I mentioned), 23% of the population has received at least one dose. In New York, the proportion is 19%. There are presumably errors in these statistics, but they still constitute a better representation of reality than your anecdotes.

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There have been makeup palette roll-outs (Urban Decay Naked 2 and 3, for starts) that have been more efficient than this. This is a joke from a state that loves to tout itself as #1 for healthcare in the US...but that's what you get when you have a former health insurance industry exec in the governor's seat. No care for the people in the system, and a total disconnect from actual healthcare delivery. Good luck to all of us.

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...higher education workers, bottled beverage workers, and veterinarians are specifically mentioned for Phase 3 of the vaccination effort, which is when shots are supposed to be available for EVERYBODY WHO WANTS ONE. I mean, I'm sure they are happy to know they are included in the state's definition of the general public, but WTF?

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It's pretty clear to me, one of the people in those categories; to make sure we know that we aren't essential, regardless of any other designation as an essential worker.

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Maybe it's to clarify that these groups aren't in Phase 2?

To me, it's like seeing a sign that says, "No pets allowed inside, including hamsters, tortoises, and llamas."

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Yeah I have 0 faith in this system too.
Just give the doses to doctors' offices like any flu vaccine.

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Once the J&J vaccine becomes available in large enough supply.

People need to understand there are going to be tight limitations with distribution until supply is increased. That's coming but it won't be for at least another 6+ weeks.

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Sorry, Adam, I missed the next line of the piece as the whole room was laughing too hard.

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"What does that mean, 'to vaccinate people?' I don't know what that means."

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... our governor. His hair may ignite again and he may shed a tear.

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Virginia is using this system, and it is working well. The wait is long, but when you finally get to the front of the line, the entire process is smooth and easy. You don't have fight the masses for limited appointment slots. I had my choice of times/dates. Things weren't crashing from the overload of people on infinite refresh.

This system also gives the county (in VA's case, not sure how MA is allocating), a handy list of people next up to contact last minute in cases of unused vaccine.

People who still want to play vaccine hunger games while waiting can get their thrills trying to schedule at CVS or Walgreens or some other private entity, though all recipients are still required to be registered on the state list. So there's something for everyone!

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On my Facebook page, people are reporting that if they use a mobile device to fill out the pre-registration form, they cannot type in their date of birth.

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