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Comment: Re:Colorado site had this "bypass" option (Score 1) 499

by bdleonard (#45406853) Attached to: How 3 Young Coders Built a Better Portal To
Your SSN is needed to determine a number of things (legal residency, comparing 2014 income estimates to known 2012 data, etc), but most importantly it tracks any federal tax credits that you are given when/if you purchase a policy through the exchange. This way they can reconcile your actual income with your estimated income for the year that was used to determine your subsidy. If you got too small of a subsidy (estimated income higher than actual income), you would receive the rest as part of your income tax return (when your actual income is now a concrete number). If you received too large of a subsidy (estimated income was lower than actual income) you repay the overage when you file your taxes. The actual rules are a bit more complex, but that captures the gist of it.

Comment: Re:This isn't going to fix things. (Score 1) 582

by bdleonard (#42812739) Attached to: US Postal Service Discontinuing Saturday Mail Delivery
$11.1 billion of that $15.9 billion loss are accumulated pension pre-funding payments that they have not been able to make. $2 billion is a significant portion of the $4.8 billion in operational losses. That change combined with Congress relaxing the pension pre-funding rule to something a bit more sane, and allowing the USPS to shutter facilities that the USPS itself has said they do not need, should take care of most the current fiscal problems with a relatively small impact on actual services provided.

Comment: Re:Amazon Prime (Score 1) 488

by bdleonard (#36743694) Attached to: Netflix Announces Streaming Only Plans and Higher Prices for DVDs
I've used both, and I know Netflix has a much more extensive catalog. I'm confident both would love to have larger catalogs of titles to offer. My guess is that in the next 12-18 months, some of the studios will make a few sweet deals with 'other' streaming services in order to remind Netflix that they can take their ball and go home when the contracts run out.

Comment: Amazon Prime (Score 1) 488

by bdleonard (#36740494) Attached to: Netflix Announces Streaming Only Plans and Higher Prices for DVDs
I have a feeling that Netflix is about to create a whole bunch of Amazon Prime subscribers. It works out to about $6.50/mo for the Prime subscription, and you get fast shipping (with no $25 order minimum) on all of your purchases in addition to the streaming. Amazon's streaming library isn't great, but Netflix has holes in their streaming catalog. I'm sure both are working to add new content, and Amazon gives me a bunch of other nice perks.

Make it right before you make it faster.