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Lucy
 Lucy
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April 26, 2012 4:59 pm  

The Act may help in some ways, but not for Medicaid in the territories. So it appears you can't have it both ways?

http://www.governordejongh.com/assets/documents/governor/2012/04-24-12-territorial-governors-letter-on-medicaid.pdf

I wonder if all are still enthusiastic about the Act now?


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Neil
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April 26, 2012 8:36 pm  

I agree Lucy...it's sad that some provisions don't affect the island. Another example of the cost of living there.
Now let's get it changed.

Having recently moved and switched jobs, I'm THRILLED with Obamacare for two very important reasons:

1) My young adult was able to get needed medical coverage under our policy, -which prior to the healthcare act, she couldn't have.

2) We were able to get pre-existing condition coverage with a new employer.

Under the old rules, we would have been screwed.

My theory is that the only people who are against universal health care (or something like it) are those who:

a) aren't sick (yet)
b) can afford $30,000 for a week's stay in the hospital
c) have never had to switch plans and try to get pre-existing conditions covered (like back problems)
d) or, are just plain stupid.

Furthermore, if anyone thinks the private health insurance industry is on their side, it probably means they've never had a problem with it.

One story:
In 2008 our private health ins provider authorized a "minor" $13,000 surgery --in writing to both us and our doctor, then the day after the surgery "upon further review" they changed their mind and de-authorized it. Didn't know they could do that! But they can. It's a rigged game.


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onthespot
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April 26, 2012 9:08 pm  

why are the signatures cut and glued to the letter?


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Uttica
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April 27, 2012 1:04 am  

Obama care is not just bad for the VI but the US as well. I know two doctors personally who were great in their field but had to leave their expertise field for more general medicine because of the new laws.

I would rather keep the doctors in their field of excellence.


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Ms Information
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April 27, 2012 4:17 am  

Hey Lucy...I like your energy ideas, but healthcare is another thing entirely. First of all I hate the "OBama Care" title that the radical right wing has used as a pejorative for the recent healthcare legislation. This healthcare plan( proposed by republicans in the past) is a first step towards helping us all survive a financial healthcare Armageddon. There is no doubt in my mind that the healthcare industry ( insurance, pharmaceutical and providers) will eventually bankrupt and destroy our economy. (the golden goose).

Unless average people are given some healthcare cost relief this whole country including these islands will go under. I agree that the first draft of the healthcare bill has some defects. They can and will be corrected if we have a few brave souls left in congress and President Obama as the leader.

Yes, I am a full supporter of a single payer health insurance plan. I would much rather our government spent money to assure that all people have good health insurance rather than a new bridge or fighter plane. I know that I will not get the President or many of the bought and paid for republicans to agree, but join me in my quest.


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A Davis
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April 27, 2012 11:29 am  

affordable health care as a movement has been a part of the political scene since truman. yes, republicans contributed greatly to it until president obama came along, now anything he signs on to is to be opposed.

adding the title "obamacare" scuttles the true intent of the legislation in the mind of the public and that's the intent of slapping the label on.

the health insurance industry will be fed millions of new customers once everything rolls out. already 10's of thousands of lives are being saved thanks to the new pool created for those with pre-existing conditions. seniors now have better access to ongoing care. children get to stay on their parents' policies while they are in undergrad school (college or university)...

the single payer was roundly defeated, but it would have been the best way possible. already the very people in congress who fight tooth and nail enjoy single payer coverage ... paid for, of course, by tax payers, whom they don't care enough about to give them the same opportunity. rick santorum found himself in a poopstorm when he declared that he declined to give large charitable donation because he has a special needs child and we should all understand that this takes a lot out of him financially. oddly, the average person is not the millionaire that rick santorum is, and how do they get by when a broken leg can mean losing the mortgage. something as simple as that.

the supreme court has yet to decide the constitutionality of the mandate (which will enrich the insurance industry, i repeat)... but what i find odd is that the party of "personal responsibility" is against asking americans who are able-bodied, to pay their own way from now on and not make the public pay when they end up in the e.r. because they know they have no insurance and the community is forced to pay for their health care when they skip the bill. ironic.

as for the u.s. virgin islands, our standing in terms of status determines a lot of what we get here. again, muddying the waters. i believe in the affordable health care plan wholeheartedly. can it be made better? of course. but that won't happen if we don't start in the first place.

note the following timeline: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/timeline/full.html and see what's already in effect and how americans are benefiting.

best to you,
anita.
"do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind."
--- scott nearing


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terry
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April 27, 2012 2:54 pm  

When has the government ran anything right?
Post office? Look at what trouble it is in!
Look at the economy with all of the bank bailouts and then they refuse to help people get loans, and give themselves big bonuses!
Cash for clunkers? They gave money to people who bought cars and trucks made in other countries!

This bill is so long that it was not read by the people who voted it in, Proposed by a president who smokes, will add millions of people to the health care system but will lose doctors, and is endorsed by a surgeon general who is grossly overweight.

Who do you think is going to pay for all of this?
You like the European health care system so well? They do have flights that will take you there!
This president wants to bring us down to the level of the rest of the world.
I guess he was right when he campained---"this is the best country in the world. Help me change it!!"


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Linda J
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April 27, 2012 3:16 pm  

Terry, the government doesn't run the Post office anymore.


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rhstoo
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April 27, 2012 4:55 pm  

I totally agree with Ms Information in every respect. Medicare for might be a politically palatable middle ground except for the "Get your stinking government hands off my MedIcare" idiots.


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Neil
 Neil
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April 27, 2012 5:13 pm  

It's all a political football and "entitlement" until you need the surgery.


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Lucy
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April 27, 2012 6:06 pm  

MS - My post of this was basically neutral. Just providing fodder for discussion. Including more people into the health care system is fine and so I no have beef about the act .... as long as the standard of care stays the same or improves (in general) and that it can be paid for. There in lies the "devil in the details". Most parts of the act do not kick in for some time, so we can not predict how it will all end.


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rhstoo
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April 27, 2012 7:25 pm  

That would be "Medicare for ALL". And the government runs many many MANY things well -- ill-informed cherry-picking of a few problematic programs is just echoing Fox and Rush. If you want to drown the government in a bathtub, they have flights to plenty of low- tax undeveloped countries


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watruw8ing4
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April 28, 2012 1:25 am  

Sorry to hear about the Medicaid caps. That's going to hurt.

Last I checked, the exchanges will still apply to the VI. To those who can't get insurance on the island now, that's a boost. Just another thing "Obamacare" will help with. Another improvement is that un- or under-insured patients can no longer be charged a higher amount than the insured whose charges are negotiated down by their insurance companies. And to those who don't want to be forced to buy insurance, I'm OK with that, as long as you all sign a waiver accepting responsibility for your own medical bills, so I'm not forced to pay taxes to do that for you.

This bill is by no means perfect - but it is absolutely necessary that we do more than what conservatives were offering. All the "how will we pay for it?" moaning is silly. We're already paying for the uninsured, many of whom can afford health care. And if that's not enough, take the rest out of the budget for those military toys that even the military says are unecessary.

As for the specialists who can't be specialists anymore. There's a glut of specialists and not enough GPs. Supply and demand and common sense have to rule. The cream will rise to the top as it does in any industry.


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terry
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April 28, 2012 2:00 pm  

If obamacare is so great, and for that matter Medicare, why did the clowns in Washington who saddled us with this exempt themselves and their staff?


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MissJustice
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April 28, 2012 2:30 pm  

Obamacare is great for me. My daughter who is in law school is on my plan. She is 24 and would not ore wise have coverage. My youngest who has asthma did not lose coverage when I recently switched jobs. Vaccinations and pap smears are fully covered. And my mammograms have been free since the new law. Compared to my European friends, we had terrible coverage before Obamacare. My doctors love it because many of their 18-26 year olds used to not have coverage. And they sat that the insurance coverage gives them less hassle. And the best thing is, my brother is now able to get a tax credit for all the premiums he pays for his employees. He uses form 8941 to get his credit as a small business owner.


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dougtamjj
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April 29, 2012 12:26 am  

Thirty three years ago I had my first child. No medical insurance. I had no clue about medicaid, welfare, wick or any of those things. I went to the local clinic. I paid $80.00 a month and waited hours for my monthly appointment. I had to have a $500.00 deposit for the hospital and I did not have an epidural or so much as an aspirin while in the hospital because I could not afford it. After giving birth I had to make payment arrangements with the hospital for the balance of what I owed. I didn't cost the taxpayers anything. They didn't get me pregnant. I took responsibility. I have 5 adult children and I am also a small business owner. I have always been able to take a deduction for the medical premiums I pay for my employees that is nothing new with Obamacare. I have been very poor in my life and have been lucky in my life. I have never depended on anyone to provide insurance or anything else I could not pay for. I have never been on welfare not even when I was without a home. I have always found a way to feed myself and my children. My children became adults at 18. They support their selves, their families and their children. I do not provide medical insurance for them nor did I pay for their college. They did. Some have loans for college but it was their decision. They are adults. I never asked my parents for anything once I became an adult but I did take care of them when they needed a home or care. Most recently I have been taking care of my terminally ill mother. She was sick for about 10 years. Like me she paid into the system but never took from it. When she became too ill she retired and took her social security. She had no savings as she was a single mother for years and took care of us. When the time came we took care of her. After Obama passed his health care bill. Not the people, HE, passed it, my mothers benefits were so lowered that it became very difficult to provide the care she needed. We had home health care a few hours a day but the hours were severely cut. After her last hospital visit the doctors said they could do no more for her and we should call hospice or put her in a nursing home. Her family doctor who came to our house once a month told us that that was the way it was now. He said she could live many more years and there were medicines that would give her good quality of life but this new health care made her expendable. He was so right. Now it is give the old ones morphine and make them comfortable. It is amazing how many are OK with that. My mother read to my son every night. She folded towels when I did laundry because it made her feel life she was contributing to the house. At the end of her life she was writing down all her recipes so I would not forget them. She wasn't done yet She was expendable however. Now shes dead. I am disgusted.

I have no clue why I am even bothering to post on the USVI relocation message board ANYTHING about politics, religion or anything else I would not discuss with total strangers but I am absolutely astounded at people that I have the highest respect and admiration for are so incredibly miserably blind. America has become me, me, me. Take care of me. Take care of yourself people. Don't destroy the wealth creators, the businesses that employ people. America had great programs to take care of the poor. Poor people get FREE everything. Medical, food, education and childcare. Middle class that fell in between the cracks and could not afford insurance could get very affordable catastrophic insurance if they became ill with a horrible illness. It was cheap. You had to pay for doctor visits or emergency visits but all would make a payment plan. You know like making payments on a car or furniture. No one complains about that. Maybe that is next. Everyone deserves decent furniture. The country should provide it for those who cannot afford it. The wealthy pay for their own. They also create companies who hire people and provide insurance for them. Have none of you studied history or economics. Socialism does not work for very long. The only ones who prosper in the long run is the senators. Kinda like the Virgin Islands. Big government countries eventually die. Some teeter for a long time. My sister in law is Canadian. She has lived in the US for most of her adult life. When ever she complains about anything American I always tell her to go back to her own country. She laughs and says no way. She said that both of her parents were killed by socialized medicine and she wants to spend the end of her life here and get good medical care. After my own mother passed she said well I guess it is no different here now. She's right.


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watruw8ing4
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April 29, 2012 12:50 am  

@terry: They didn't. http://factcheck.org/2010/01/congress-exempt-from-health-bill/


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divinggirl
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April 29, 2012 12:52 am  

Tami, thank you for telling your story. I am so sorry about your Mother's experience and your loss. If this true life story opens someones eyes it was worth the telling. I get so tired of people saying how great it's going to be but when I ask if they have read the bill the answer is no. I have read a large portion of "Obamacare" and many of the provisions are downright scary. There were plenty of other options to help lower healthcare costs that would have been much better for everyone. Most of the people I know in the healthcare industry are very much against the bill - from nurses to doctors to medical records professionals. I appreciate your attitude of self support and wish more people felt that way.


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Neil
 Neil
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April 29, 2012 1:31 am  

DTami, your rant against the poor is misplaced. And your theory that people can just make payments may have worked when costs were much lower 30 yea ago, but none of us live in that world anymore.

We either need a system that grants access to everyone and makes everyone pay (just like taxes make everyone pay for other services, like fire and military), OR we need a system and stomach for denying healthcare to those who can't or chose not to pay.

Obamacare is not just about making people pay for insurance they need some day, it's also about reforming pre-existing conditions coverage, affordable care for our young adults, transportability for the rest of us when we switch jobs, , and trying to reign in healthcare cost which are bankrupting people, businesses, and states.

Btw, we should pay for it all by heavily sin taxing SUGAR.


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dougtamjj
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April 29, 2012 3:38 am  

Neil, It's Tammy. I wasn't ranting. Hot flashing most likely but not ranting especially against the poor. I have been just as poor as those poor people you see sleeping on the side of the road. Health care cost are not bankrupting my small business and I pay 100% of my employees medical. Taxes and government regulations are the greatest hardship on my company. This has been the worst year yet. However, because we are self reliant and anticipated we were able to divirsify, overcome, hire new people, keep our private insurance so if someone needs an MRI they can get it, not to mention that one new hire has epilepsy and is covered with this condition under our private insurance policy after 3 months of employment. So, I am doing my part. I believe that most small businesses have been unable to do that because our tax rate just went sky high and the first thing to go was benefits for employees. Both our insurance broker and CPA have told us that we are the only company that they do business with still providing 100% medical coverage. This year because I was nursing my dying mother who could not get the medical care she needed no matter how much I was willing to pay,(because she was old and expendable), I didn't keep on top of the changing laws and though I pay 40% of my income to the government, I got blindsided by a huge tax bill as a result of a NEW law that was carefully tacked on some obscure bill passed through congress. That NEW law created some serious scrambling to keep my business up and running. Every year on December 30th we have a big office party were I give my employees the profits of our company. No profit sharing investments. We pay all the bills for January and then the rest get split up among the employees. We all look forward to that day. We all work hard for it. I explained to them all what happened and that there would be no bonus and they RALLIED! We found that if we split the company into 3 different companies that we could overcome the NEW tax law, hire more people for each company, (have to have a certain amount to get private insurance), make more profit and at the same time lower our costs by moving into an economically depressed area called a hub zone. Did I mention that all my employees with the exception of my oldest daughter is under 30.

Twelve years ago, I lost everything I had and was nailing shingles on a roof in 100 degree heat. I didn't go on welfare, I fed my children and I worked. I am not a rocket scientist and if I can survive anyone who is not physically or mentally challenged can. All the while you think I am on my rich fat capitalistic high horse here in the beautiful virgin islands, I am wearing my $1.50 Walmart flipflops, driving my 12 year old pickup truck, with my gray hair in a very unflattering pony tail, replastering my leaking swimming pool in god awful heat cause I cannot find any unemployed young people who want to do it for me at a decent wage with food included. It is much easier for them to collect a check from the government, deal drugs and lay on the beach.

End of rant Neil. Good night.

PS. I have a great but not an orginal idea about reigning in insurance cost. Just have them compete across state lines. The costs will come way down.


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A Davis
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April 29, 2012 2:54 pm  

i think a lot of people think of the affordable health care plan as something free, when in reality it seeks to make everyone accountable for their own health care coverage (those who are capable - for all who qualify there are medicaid and medicare already).

the assigned risk pool (think auto insurance) helps those at high risk to enter the health insurance market. cost may be higher, but better than footing the 20k bill for catastrophic care.

those who already have insurance plans can stay on them, but self employed, pre-existing conditions, and those with jobs where insurance is not offered, would now be able to buy in so we don't all end up paying for them later.

it's affordable. it's not free.

best to you,
anita.
"do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind."
--- scott nearing


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divinggirl
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April 29, 2012 6:47 pm  

those who already have insurance plans can stay on them.

This is not an accurate statement. I personally know of at least 6 companies who are eliminating the healthcare benefit for employees. My husbands "benefits" advisor indicated that they will save thousands a year by dropping the coverage & just paying the fine. Again, I advise everyone to READ the bill - it's long and involved but read it...that's more than the people who voted for it did.


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A Davis
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April 29, 2012 8:21 pm  

those who already have insurance plans can stay on them.

This is not an accurate statement. I personally know of at least 6 companies who are eliminating the healthcare benefit for employees. My husbands "benefits" advisor indicated that they will save thousands a year by dropping the coverage & just paying the fine. Again, I advise everyone to READ the bill - it's long and involved but read it...that's more than the people who voted for it did.

i was referring to those who are paying for their own insurance. companies can save a lot of money by letting their employees pay for their own insurance. those that want to attract the best and brightest, will make this a perk if they are smart. just as it always was. we are in the earlies, and i believe that with the economy still so poor for many, they will seek to 'trim the fat' in this area, just as they lay off people and re-consolidate retirement and pension plans (usually to the detriment of employees). i don't see this as a reason to panic away from affordable health care.

as with any transition, people will re-position themselves and paradigms will shift. that is part of life. and coping is part of life as well.

best to you,
anita.
"do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind."
--- scott nearing


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watruw8ing4
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April 29, 2012 8:48 pm  

@Anita: And the $200K catastophic illness bill - not out of line in this day and age- would be devastating. What provider is going to let you pay that over time, knowing you'll be dead before the final installment?

@divinggirl: A lot of analysis has been done on this and the impact is expected to be small. Health Insurance coverage is a perk. Companies add and drop perks all the time, based on financial impact and the need to draw and keep good employees. Some of those companies dropping coverage will subsidize the exchanges, or opt to pay the employee their savings so the employee can obtain coverage. My husband's tiny company does not even qualify for group coverage, because of geographical issues. We have to buy as direct bill until 2014 (which, given that it's not offerred in the VI, is why we are not full time VI residents yet). If supply and demand warrants retaining employees by offering health insurance, companies will do that. Capitalism at work. If not, welcome to my world.

@ those who think I and others are blind: Personally, I'm retired from over 30 years in the health insurance industry, starting in customer service for group and direct bill accounts, and ending up with 9 years working as an analyst on Medicare Part B. In between, worked on large, national accounts, Congressional account, Fed Employees Program, and even a 1 year stint on my state's Worker's Compensation program. Note, no Medicaid. I worked on "responsible", working people's policies.

I watched the medical charges and premiums rise with inflation, technology advances, new drugs, mandates and customer demand. I watched more than enough new programs and payment structures try and fail to hold down costs. And I've seen enough heartbreak brought on by pre-existing condition abuse, lifetime caps being maxed, denied services, and stopped coverage to depress anyone. And I know enough about "drop in" insurance companies - those who move state to state, scoop up the low risk business for below rate premiums, then drop the business and move on, or raise prices - to see clearly what would happen with the selling-across-state-lines plan. My vision is just fine, thank you. I just have a different perspective.

As for the VI, the Medicaid cuts, if passed, would drastically increase the islands' financial burden. When I look at the title and opening post, I realized how incorrect it was. If "Obamacare" were to be left alone, there would be an increase in funds. This effort is part of the repeal attempt.


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Neil
 Neil
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April 30, 2012 1:40 pm  

those who already have insurance plans can stay on them.

This is not an accurate statement. I personally know of at least 6 companies who are eliminating the healthcare benefit for employees. My husbands "benefits" advisor indicated that they will save thousands a year by dropping the coverage & just paying the fine. Again, I advise everyone to READ the bill - it's long and involved but read it...that's more than the people who voted for it did.

You'd be hard pressed to find a major piece of legislation that didn't have unintended consequences which needed to be fixed.
It will continue to be modified. That's the way it works.

But I find it interesting that a business would rather pay a fine than provide their employees with life-saving care. Not very American of them. And I'm sure their employees will respond by giving that company their just due for the lack of loyalty.

@Tammy:
Sounds like you've been through it, and you should probably not be paying 100% of your employees' healthcare -as that doesn't seem fair either. However, I can't accept your complaint about not being able to find laborers to "plaster your pool" on the Caribbean island you have chosen to live on --even if your flipflops are budget. It's sad for sure, but you knew going in the "price of paradise". That's really what this board is about, isn't it? Btw.... PM ViCanuck. He recently had his pool plaster fixed and could tell you who on STX can did it for him.


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