Says local health exchanges working

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 22, 2013 

We are in the midst of a GOP and media feeding frenzy over the roll-out of the federal healthcare website, but I have seen very little information on how well our state's health exchange is doing or where people can get help in signing up. The L.A. Times (Nov. 12) "How Washington State is Making Health Exchange Work" shows that we are far ahead of other states in sign-ups. Locally, help is available at Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement, Mount Baker Planned Parenthood, Interfaith Community Health Center, Opportunity Council and Sea-Mar Community Health Clinic. I recently talked with neighbors who went to the Alliance, were signed up in 20 minutes and were pleasantly surprised at how low their premiums will be.

It is unfortunate that the federal website is in so much trouble, but I believe a big part of the problem was caused by the 26 Republican governors who refused to set up exchanges in their states forcing the federal government to do it for them. The federal website must interface with too many different insurance companies and too many different state regulations adding a totally unnecessary level of complexity. Many of those governors also refused to allow an expansion of Medicaid in their states. I hope their citizens will realize how poorly served they've been by the GOP and will vote Democratic in the next election.

Sharon Alford

Bellingham

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