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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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83 Responses

  1. Plinko says:

    They make whiskey in Oregon? I might have to keep up with these in case you find yourself incredulous at something that turns out to be true.

    FWIW: This blog post was already the top Google news search result when I searched for “33 page change of address form”, just beating out a James Fallows post that starts out on the topic.Report

  2. M.A. says:

    Sadly I think I have to debunk.

    The Atlantic says on the story:

    Romney on the stump, at a historic iron furnace in Cornwall, near Lebanon, using the hoagie-ordering experience at the WaWa as a parable for what’s right and wrong in America. (Wrong: a doctor told him that he had to fill out a 33-page change-of-address form, several times, to get the post office to send his mail — including reimbursement checks — to his new location. That is what happens with government-run organizations where you have “no competition.” Right: at WaWa, great hoagies. Also, very efficient touch-pad ordering system. This is what you get with competition.)

    So I went to the USPS website. A list of all forms the USPS has, in PDF.

    PS3572, address change (traditional): 1 page.
    PS3573, address change (onecode ACS): 1 page.
    PS 6015, Nonprofit Database Change Request: 1 page.
    PS 8176, Premium Forwarding Service: 6 pages.

    PS 8076, Authorization to Hold Mail: 1/2 page.

    PS 1583, Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent – 2 pages if you include the back-side’s privacy statement.

    PS 1509, Sender’s Request for USPS Package Intercept™ Service – 2 pages.

    PS 3615, Mailing Permit Application and Customer Profile – 2 pages.

    I can’t find a single one anywhere in that list that’s 33 pages. United Parcel Service doesn’t do change-of-address forms, neither does FedEx.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to M.A. says:

      The USPS isn’t the only government agency that might ask you for a change of address form.

      The IRS corporate change of address form? Two pages. Really 1.5, and the .5 is just instructions and garbage required by the Paperwork “Reduction” Act.

      There are others, of course, but I should really get to work this morning…Report

      • M.A. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        You’re late to the party. And you’re boring.

        I was going by The Atlantic’s reporting, and I admitted such. KenB went back to the original speech and was correct in that The Atlantic’s reporting was not entirely correct. There we are. I was proven wrong in narrowing the search to this level.

        Happy I’ve admitted it? Great. Leave me alone.Report

  3. James Hanley says:

    How about a case of Henry’s?Report

  4. Tom Van Dyke says:

    I have always maintained our national problem is epistemological.

    I don’t even feel like reading this BS about the BS about the BS. Send me the whiskey not out of merit but out of mercy, man. It’s a long way to November.

    I do love how you framed your challenge, though, Tod, that one of these things will actually turn out to be true [rather than simply false]! Unfortunately, I can think 0f no issue where everyone will be satisfied. The new saying on the right is that there are facts, and then there are PolitiFacts. As for the left, between Robert Rector and Faux News and everything in between, that shit gets choked in the crib.

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      This is a good point. But I’ve decided that I’m not going to do these for questions where there is room for argument. (e.g.: will HCR increase or decrease the deficit?) I’ll stick with claims that are easy to prove. (If a 33 page pdf exists, the whiskey’s on me!)

      And I bet one of them turns out to be true. I’d have made that North Carolina school lunch story a challenge story, and I’d have lost.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      Dude, your supermexican link agrees that Romney made the 33 page change of address claim. He’s in epistemological agreement with our Tod.

      What do you think you’re disputing here?

      Do you even bother to read the articles you link to anymore to see what they actually say?Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to James Hanley says:

        I don’t think Tom was disputing what I said. I think Tom was simply pointing out that if I’m going to be wading through bullshit in an election year, I should wear very high waders.Report

        • M.A. in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          I think the issue is, nobody noticed Romney’s comment in among the canned outrage about where the video got cut, supposedly to make Romney look “out of touch” that he hasn’t seen a touch-screen ordering system before.

          Which I don’t get, because I don’t think I’ve ever entered a truck-stop that used a touch-screen ordering system either. Most truck-stops I’ve been in they have either a teenager or someone of Indian (India, not Amerindian) descent running the cash register, a latino mopping the floor, and maybe a surly looking 50-something waitress with a giant hairy mole on her face chain-smoking in the attached restaurant.Report

      • I wrote, “I don’t even feel like reading this BS about the BS about the BS.” You were warned, and that was my point. I asked Tod for the whiskey out of mercy, not merit because he’s my pal. So go fight with somebody else, OK?Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      I have always maintained our national problem is epistemological.

      I agree, Tom. I really do. But when one half (almost) of US political culture is comprised of people think (eg) that Young Earth Creationism is a legitimate theory of Origins, I think the finger gets pointed in primarily one direction. I know you disagree, acourse, but it just seems incoherent – and ironic – to me that anti-empirical conservatives are pointing it in any other direction than themselves.Report

      • I can’t go there, Still, that creationism means the right is wrong and the left wins by default. I’ve actually had some heavy sledge against some history scholars on precisely that tactic. Perhaps I’ll show you my other life sometime.


        [I’m not a creationist, BTW, although I shouldn’t have to say that.]Report

    • What’s amazing about that video isn’t just that it’s misleadingly edited, it’s that there’s nothing at all embarrassing about what Romney said, even if you take it out of context like they did. I say this as someone who despises Romney with an unbridled passion. The selectively edited video was one of the first things Romney’s ever said that’s actually been relatable to me. WaWa really is that fishing amazing.

      It was a bit cringe-inducing to hear him say “Wawa’s” rather than “WaWa” or “the WaWa,” but that doesn’t even rate in the top 50 gaffes made by Presidential candidates trying to “be local” in the greater Philly area.Report

      • Snarky McSnarkSnark in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        How does “Wawa’s” sound different that “WaWa’s”?Report

      • M.A. in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Comparing a government-required form to apply for status as a medical provider, with all the anti-fraud provisions in the system, to the 2-minute process of ordering a sandwich at a truck stop.

        And then missing that the US Government actually does have an online system so you don’t have to do whatever-many pages of the form:

        Keep in mind that typed forms are easier for Medicare to process, but the most efficient method for submitting your enrollment application is to use the Internet –Based Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS). PECOS guides you through the enrollment application so you only supply information relevant to your application.

        Romney has never had to worry about healthcare in his life, so it’s no surprise he’s so out of touch that he thinks fulfilling the anti-fraud provisions of the medical system is the same thing as ordering a sandwich… AND he’s so goddamn out of touch he can’t be bothered to see whether government already does the thing he’s insisting it doesn’t do.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      I don’t even feel like reading this BS about the BS about the BS. Send me the whiskey not out of merit but out of mercy, man. It’s a long way to November.

      Welfare queen.Report

  5. KenB says:

    If you listen to the original speech, you’ll hear that he was telling a story specifically about an optometrist who needed to submit the forms to get “reimbursed by the federal government,” so presumably a Medicare provider. As I understand it, to change Medicare provider info, you actually have to fill out form 855B, which is the same form the that’s used to enroll as a new Medicare provider. Since it’s a multi-purpose form, it’s pretty lengthy — the PDF in that link is 49 pages.

    • M.A. in reply to KenB says:

      I wonder about that one. You’re right about the speech, the blog coverage isn’t doing it justice – but again, they’re all on the “oh look MSNBC cut it off to make him look back” talking point and not even questioning Romney’s statements.

      If it’s a medicare/medicaid related form, then you’re likely to have a whole lot more regulation involved. Some in the name of preventing fraud, some in the name of medical privacy laws.

      Certainly it’s more security-sensitive than ordering a turkey on rye at the Stuckey’s deli.Report

      • M.A. in reply to M.A. says:

        Ok, CMS-855I is 27 pages. Getting warmer…

        Here’s the list of CMS-855 applications.

        CMS-855a, 59 pages.
        CMS-855B, 49 pages.
        CMS-855I, 27 pages.
        CMS-855R, 8 pages.
        CMS-855O, 13 pages.
        CMS-855S, 37 pages.

        No 33-pager in the lot.Report

        • M.A. in reply to M.A. says:

          Keep in mind that typed forms are easier for Medicare to process, but the most efficient method for submitting your enrollment application is to use the Internet –Based Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS). PECOS guides you through the enrollment application so you only supply information relevant to your application. PECOS also reduces the need for follow-up because of incomplete applications. Using Internet-based PECOS results in a more accurate application and saves you time and administrative costs. Click on the Internet- Based PECOS tab on the left to learn more.

          Right from the CMS-855 page! Looks like the USGOV does compete…Report

    • Snarky McSnarkSnark in reply to KenB says:

      Hope you’re thirsty…Report

      • RTod in reply to Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

        So as not to be a dick, I’ll tell everyone here what I told Pinko to save people from spending too much time going down this rabbit hole:

        These are all insurance enrollment forms. They are not – in any way – a change of address form. An enrollment form will not be a winning submissions, even if you can find and insurance enrollment form that is 33 pages long.Report

        • RTod in reply to RTod says:

          For any curious, the form for any provider that has already been through the enrollment process and is changing address can be found here:

          It is a five page form – two pages to fill out, plus legal stuff, and additional pages to answer questions about how to fill it out.Report

        • cfpete in reply to RTod says:

          Physicians and non-physician practitioners who are enrolled in the Medicare program, but have not submitted the CMS 855I since 2003, are required to submit a Medicare enrollment application (i.e., Internet-based PECOS or the CMS 855I) as an initial application when reporting a change for the first time.

          Complete this application if you are an individual practitioner who plans to bill Medicare and you are:
          Currently enrolled in Medicare and need to make changes to your enrollment information (e.g., you have added or changed a practice location).

          Form 855i was revised on 07-11-2011, an older version could have been 33 pages.Report

    • cfpete in reply to KenB says:

      There are actually three different forms to change Medicare info dependent on provider type:
      855I – 28 pages, 855B 49 pages, and 855A – 60 pagesReport

  6. Wardsmith says:

    See Tod? Shoulda stuck with the inequality symposium and left off with the political infighting. Ken let us know how that OR booze tastes. I’m very partial to Oregon pinots myselfReport

  7. Tod Kelly says:

    A note for the hive: After looking at the medicare forms more thoroughly, I am not sure that there is a winner at this point. I will check with a medicare person tomorrow, and if it turns out that I am reading it incorrectly than we will have a winner in Plinko. However, since it does not look that way to me, I would encourage others who think they have the correct non-medicare docs to send them in. You may be the winner!Report

    • kenB in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      FWIW, I think this is true the way most such things are true — technically accurate but stripped of most context for maximum effect, and then exaggerated and/or stripped of even more context in the retelling. Whichever way you go on this one is what you should expect for every other entry in the series.Report

  8. wardsmith says:

    I still think KenB wins because he pointed to the speech, and surmised a Medicare practitioner but Plinko may well have said something in private email correspondence that didn’t show up here in the comments.

    Looking at this law firms’ .pdf:
    According to HCFA, when an entity that enrolled by
    submitting the 855 experiences a change of
    information, the entity’s 855 information must be
    updated. A change of information includes changes
    to already reported information
    . It also includes new
    and additional information requested on the 855
    Application, but which was not previously reported
    on the form.

    A 28 page form plus a 5 page form does equal 33, “close enough for government work”.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to wardsmith says:

      I’m inclined to think Ken wins it too.

      If it matters, I’m not voting for Romney.Report

    • Plinko in reply to wardsmith says:

      I think the important question is – is this really a change of address form? I agree with Tod that it’s not.

      The question is – are we verifying the story that some guy told Mitt, or are we verifying the Bizarro-world talk radio version where the gub’mint says you gotta fill out all this paperwork before we allow you to move your office?

      To put on the Politi-Fact hat for a minute,
      I think the CMS 855 is pretty clear that it’s not only possible, but probable, that the unnamed doctor told Romney a true story. Now, as Rudy helpfully explains below, the forms themselves are mostly legalese explaining how to fill the form out, there’s very little actual work to be done to complete this thing. Not to mention that there’s a web portal they could be using to provide the same information if they so choose.
      If the gentleman in question thinks that’s a silver bullet about how government can impede private enterprise, he’s got a very, very small imagination.

      I am not sure what talk-radio story Tod heard, but I’ve listened to enough of the major right-leaning hosts to know how those things get distorted. I would be completely surprised to hear that the phrase “we’ve got to fill out 33 page forms before the government will let you get your mail forwarded to a new address, no wonder the economy isn’t growing!” wasn’t bandied about every 10 minutes for an hour or two.
      I find it hard to call that claim anything but false until someone pulls out the type of form Tod was asking for in the OP. Asking a vendor to submit a new enrollment form when they make a major change doesn’t seem particularly burdensome to me when you’re talking about being able to bill the government for services rendered under a program that spends nearly a trillion dollars a year.

      Lastly, KenB beat my e-mail to Tod by two minutes according to the comment timestamp!Report

      • M.A. in reply to Plinko says:

        Asking a vendor to submit a new enrollment form when they make a major change doesn’t seem particularly burdensome to me when you’re talking about being able to bill the government for services rendered under a program that spends nearly a trillion dollars a year.

        And as was pointed out earlier, the requirement to use the long form (rather than a 5-page shorter form) is only required if you haven’t moved your practice or billing address since before 2003, which is when a whole host of “anti medicare fraud” changes were made by a republican Congress and President.

        I think this speaks to a larger issue: security and anti-fraud provisions necessarily increase the amount of paperwork involved in anything.

        WaWa’s probably doesn’t care too much if someone taps in an order on the touch screen and wanders off without picking it up. I know people who could put that order in, get distracted by a shiny bit of foil or a girl with a nice rear end, and then just completely miss that the PA system is calling their name. When you get into medical care – medicare fraudsters are engaged in seriously hefty theft, we’re talking millions of dollars.

        Mitt Romney is seriously out of touch if he thinks comparing Medicare physician registration to ordering a sandwich is a valid comparison. But then again, Mitt Romney has never had to worry about healthcare in his life, and probably didn’t read his own Romneycare bill before signing only one page of it.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to M.A. says:

          So what you’re saying here is that A: Romney is totally wrong about what he’s saying and B: even if he’s right there’s a good reason for it so he’s still wrong.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to wardsmith says:

      Since Plinko was first to get his in (his email arrived before kenB’s post went up) he will have the option to call heads or tails prior.

      If it were my contest, I’d award it to Plinko. Plinko complied with the rules (which specified e-mail rather than posting) and got his answer in sooner. Of course, it’s Tod‘s contest so if he wants to go with the coin flip that’s his ruling.

      I am a lawyer, and it does seem to me in that capacity that a prudent contest sponsor would indeed execute reasonable efforts to confirm that the contest winner is over 21 years of age before using an interstate delivery service to (even inadvertently) provide alchoholic beverages to a minor. The box should be marked “Requires Adult Signature” and I’m very curious about the taste of Oregon whiskey so I’ll be on the lookout for future bullshit challenges.Report

  9. stuhlmann says:

    I am not a lawyer, but I still advise you to limit your offer of free alcohol only to those who are legally able to consume it. If I were a lawyer, then I would advise you to have the winners sign a 33 page release of liability form prior to getting the whiskey/vodka/Pinot Noir.Report

  10. Rudy says:

    Hey that was kind of fun!

    Page 5, check box for Practice Location Information which says complete:
    1,2A,3,4(only things changing), 13, and 15.

    Section 1 you already partially did above.
    Also need to check another box and add your Medicare # and NPI

    Section 2A
    Name, license and certification info
    7 lines of hard to complete stuff like SSN, DOB, 2 more check boxes
    Another check box for specialty

    Section 3
    Any adverse legal actions? If no, got to 4, if yes fill in.

    Section 4 (C) Practice Location Information
    Address, Tax ID, etc. 7 lines, check box and date
    Section 4 (E) Where to send the paperwork (funds are via EFT)
    Check box same as above
    Section 4 (G) Location of patient records
    Nothing if same as above

    Section 13 Contact Person if different

    Section 15 Signature line

    So… in total (without the NPI form):
    7 boxes to check
    15 lines of very top line data like name and address
    Signature (only thing your administrator couldn’t easily/legally do)

    Doesn’t look that unreasonable once broken down.
    It’s like saying simple 1040EZ tax forms are 47 pages long.
    No, the booklet is, the form is one page.
    You’re certainly not ‘filling out 33 pages’. Romney didn’t actually say that, he said the form is 33 pages which appears true, but this form is used for many things besides simple change of address.
    Meh, semantics.Report

    • Fnord in reply to Rudy says:

      And speaking of having to read a bunch of legalese for a minor transaction, that’s hardly something that’s unique to government sector. Purchase any software recently?Report

  11. Remo says:

    Looks like i am late, but well…

    You are able to change your address online on the US postal service, paying a U$1 fee.Report

  12. J.L. Wall says:

    You know how to write a headline that gets my attention, Tod. But I’m afraid this contest would require that I pay too much attention to the absurdities of the election — and that would mean I’d drink far more whiskey than I stand a chance of winning. Bad for my liver, my wallet, my sanity.
    Maybe after the trade deadline passes….Report

  13. Tod Kelly says:

    Challenge participants: Please see update in the OP!Report

  14. BlaiseP says:

    This is nonsense. I just did a Form 8822 for corporate change of address.Report

  15. Kazzy says:


    Might be helpful to put your email address in each of these posts so folks can easily send you their responses.Report

  16. DensityDuck says:

    “After having perused the document, the degree to which it is “pretty easy” is highly subjective.”

    Which, incidentally, is why “shovel-ready” was such a joke. People who’ve spent their entire lives working in government bureaucracy think that dealing with government bureaucracy is very easy. People who haven’t find it impenetrable at best and maddeningly capricious at worst.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Perhaps we need a “Bureau of Ease” tasked with making dealing with bureaucracies easier. I see absolutely ZERO drawbacks to this plan. It is 100% shovel-ready.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

        haha, yeah, we need to regulate the regulatory process!

        Or maybe just establish a Bureau Of Sabotage.Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to DensityDuck says:

          One of the interesting things about the documents I saw was that it seemed like for every box you had to fill out for, say, COMANY NAME, there was a paragraph later giving very explicit details about how that was where you put the name of the company. Which I guess I can see for a Medicare recipient form; after all, might as well prepare for the lowest common denominator, right?

          But it seemed weird to have on a form for a provider. If a provider needs that much help knowing what goes in the MAILING ADDRESS line, maybe it’s not such a good idea to have them be a provider.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            I’m pretty sure that we all know from meeting Russ’s writing that the ONLY requirement to becoming a doctor is the ability to properly fill out a form. It’s a long form, mind you. I mean, not EVERYONE can fill it out. But that is really all there is to it.Report

            • Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

              If what to put in the address box fills you with confusion, or if you are inclined to put “Russell!” or a smiley face in that box, I do not want you opening me up and fiddling with my organs.Report

        • Kimmi in reply to DensityDuck says:

          I prefer a bureau of “burn everything else to the ground”
          More decapitations would make this world more fun.
          (sidenote: it takes a lot of alcohol to decapitate yourself with a tent).Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck says:

          This is an entirely sensible proposition. It is an area where machine intelligence could be of great use.

          What is a form but a parade ground for rules to march around? Let the bureaucrats and the bureau-cratted sit down to devise the rules. Let’s take an aircraft engine as a case in point: nobody wants unsafe aircraft.

          It stands to reason we must have inspections. Under some circumstances, an extensive write-up might be warranted and the bureau-cratted would want that data preserved: how long has a given impeller set been spinning before a crack appeared? Nothing but data will give us any clear vision of when a replacement is warranted.

          Most of what I do is build just such rule sets. I believe every sort of regulation is amenable to this sort of simplification.Report

        • MikeSchilling in reply to DensityDuck says:

          We need an administrator in charge of administrative affairs. I know just the guy.Report