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June 14, 2017     The Goldendale Sentinel
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June 14, 2017
 

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a----JuNE 14, 2017 GOLDENDALE, WASHINGTON Dwindling health insurance options in the indi- vidual market have been a troubling trend under Obamac-are in rural communities like Klickitat County. Last week, Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced that not a single insurance provider had filed to sell individual plans in Klickitat or Grays Harbor Counties in 2018. It's my sincere hope that relief can be found for af- fected residents--and I'm actively seeking solutions. Unfortunately, this development does not come as a surprise to anyone who has paid attention to trends in rural counties since the Obamacare exchanges were fully implemented. From the very beginning of the exchanges, rural residents had few options. In 2014, Klickitat had two insurance carriers offer- ing plans. This year, the county is down to only one, and next year there will be none at all if a solution isr 't found. And with this most recent troubling announcement, we now learn that number of counties with only one the insurance carrier "option" has grown three-fold, from two to six of Wash- ington's 39 counties. Now, Skamania County, also in the district I re is on this unfortunate list. In 2018, when the last insurer is gone from Klickitat County, more than 1,100 of its residents who pur-chase their health care insurance in the individual market--including 626 on the Obamacare exchange--have no options. Further demonstrating the poor treatment of rural commu- nities under Obamacare, indi:viduats in Klickitat will not be eligible for tax credits to help offset the cost of premiums; the law stipu-lates that only plans purchased through the exchange are eligible. If that weren't enough, individuals in these coun- ties-through no fault of their own--will still be subject to the individual mandate penalty imposed by Obamacare if they don't purchase insurance. In other words, these rural residents who have just been stripped of all health insurance options and the tax credits must now pay a minimum $695 penalty, eventhough they did nothing wrong. When Obam- acare proponents tout its "successes" in Washington State, they ignore residents in rural communities like Goldendale, Dallesport, and Lyle and turn them into second-class citizens when it comes to their health care. Particularly troubling is that in the face of all these predictable trends, state officials have engaged in af-ter-the-fact shifting of lame and pointing to "uncertainty, stemmin , Qm the last presidential electi 'ii', d eTr'a]'bil']' cl ted in the past few months. We've had a new President less than six months, while the state exchanges in rural areas have been deteriorating since their inception. At- tempts to fault recent developments aren't just disin- genuous; they raise fears that the state officials who hold a direct role in ensuring residents have health insurance options would rather avoid blame than do what is necessary to fix the problem. There are some options that would provide re- lief. I have supported legislation in Congress called the Health Care Options Act of 2017 that would allow folks in Klickitat County to purchase a state- approved insurance plan in the individual market. They would also have the subsidies that will help low-er their premiums--the same subsidies avail- able in other counties under Obamacare available to them. Additionally, this bill would protect them from being forced to pay a penalty for not purchas- ing insur-ance. These same relief measures would be available to residents of any county where Obam- acare has collapsed and no options are available. State officials like Commissioner Kreidler need to take swift action to restore Klickitat County resi- THE GOLDENDALE SENTINEL OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF KLICKITAT COUNTY WASHINGTON ESTABLISHED 1879' PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY FROM OFFICES AT 117 W. MAiN STREET, GOLDENDALE WA98620 ..TELEPHONE: 509) 773-3777 FAX: (509) 314-4201 EDITORIAL: Lou MARZELES. EDITOR & PUBLISHER JARYD CLINE SPORTS EDITOR EMAIL: NEWS@GOLDENDALESENTIN EL.COM (NEWS. EDITORIAL. OBITUARIES. LETTERS) CALENDAR @GOLDENDALESENTINEL.COM (EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES~ ADS @GOLDENDALESENTINEL.COM (DISPLAY ADVERTISING INFORMATION AND INQUIRIES) CLASSIFIEDS @GOLDENDALESENTINEL.COM (CLASSIFIED ADS INQUIRIES] LEGALS @GOLDEN DALESENTINEL.COM (LEGAL AND PUBLIC NOTICES) BUSINESS AND OFFICE STAFF: LESLIE GEATCHES. CO-PUBLIsHER, AD DESIGN KARIE ELLIS. CIRCULATION MANAGER AMY REEVES. AD SALES ANNE ANDERSON BOOKKEEPING dents' ability to purchase health insurance as soon as possible. Upon hearing this news, I've urged the commissioner to do whatever isnecessary to reverse this troubling trend so that ad- ditional counties are not stripped of health insurance options going forward (You can read my full letter to Commissioner Kreidler on my website: jhb.house.gov). The commissioner's office has reported that he would be having conversations with insur- ance carriers about the lack of options in Klickitat County, If only urgent action had been taken sooner, we wouldn't be in a situation where whole counties are without options in the first place. I simply can't imagine the panic hundreds of rural residents are feeling after hearing that no insurance options will be available to them on the individual market. I'm committed to doing everything in my power to assist them. Everybody deserves access to quality, affordable health care--regardless of where they live. I will stay on top of this issue and continue fighting to make this a reality. KIDS KNOW IF THI Y I VI P. HIlleD ANYTHING, ALLTHI Y DO IS ASK OL' DAD... .. BUT, ONE THING THI Y NI VI R ASK FOI IS AI)VIC ! Chamber too cozy on Nestld On May 23, 2017, a group of 25 Goldendale citizens who are con- cerned about the lack of infor- mation and transparency regard- ing the hypothetical Nestl6 water bottling plant submitted a Pub-lic Records Request to the City of Gol- dendale. Under RCW 42.56 et seq. we requested "copies of public records, including preliminary find-ings, committee reports and studies, and correspondence, both written and electronic, by the mayor, city council members, and city administrator regard- ing a proposed invitation to the Nestl6 Corporation, or any other company, for a water resource bot- tling venture." We received the requested docu- ments on June 2, 2017. The docu- ments include: Initial communication with the Nestl6 Corporation from a pri- vate citizen that contains prelimi- nary water source need estimates. 61 Letters opposing the sale of our water to a corporation and a proposed water bottling plant. Many letters contain background information and documented research on Nestl6 and the water- bottling industry, as well as spe- cific questions about the City's proposal. There were no docu- mented responses from the mayor to questions. 0 (zero) Letters of Support. The City's action plan for recruiting Nestl6 and creating an image of community support through limited public input from "community leaders". Of great concern is the pattern revealed of access and influence that the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce has with the mayor regarding this issue. Documents show the Chamber has: Monitored a community Face- book page to ' valuate' opposition. Provided the mayor and city administrator with outside busi- ness contacts who they present as 'more credible' than local citizens. Provided a contact list of 26 water bottling companies from the NW Bottling Association for so-licitation. Communicated talking points and strategy plans with a small group of (un-elected) insiders, to the exclusion of the city council members. Most disturbingly, what the documents do not include are any water studies or analyses ,of po- tential impacts to city water users, downstream wells, local agricul- tural water users, or wildlife resources. There is no evidence that the mayor has contacted other communities who have been impacted by a Nestl6 bottling facility. And in contrast to Mayor Canon's repeated statements during city council meetings, as recorded by the local newspaper, and in conversa-tions with private citizens there is nothing to show that the mayor, city administra- tor, or the city council have done the due diligence of researching the issue and communicating that research to the community in a transparent process. People who live in and love Gold- endale have been waiting for seven months to hear from the mayor. Therefore, we have formed a cit- izens group to actively respond to the lack of information and trans- parency: Our H20 Goldendale Water Coalition. We are encouraging the com- munity to join Our H20 at the Gol- dendale city council meeting on June 19 at 7 p.m. Mayor Canon has repeatedly stated that he will pre- sent his 'report' in June, and this final June meeting of the council will be his opportunity. MB Condon Goldendale Home With Heroes was great I would like to share with the readers our volunteer experi- ence last Memorial weekend-- the Home With Heroes featured annual 5K run and gun shoot. The weather was hot but beau- tiful for this day of running and then shooting at the various stations. Afterwards, winners received beautiful trophies. Food and beverages were provided for everyone. There was live music, raffle tickets and large assortment of prizes. The Grand Prize was a pair of 20-gauge shotguns for one youth and one adult which were donated by Home With Heroes. This was our first participation/ volunteering. There were 100 par- ticipants ranging in age from 13 to 70 and older. Their goal is to have 200 participants for 2018. If the enthusiasm of this year is any gauge, we have no doubt they will reach their goal for 2018. Home With Heroes was a day of fun for families, friends and meet- ing veterans who have served and are serving. As a volunteer it was a wonder- ful feeling, and we thoroughly enjoyed being a part of such a worthwhile cause. Volunteers are always welcome. Check out the web page: www. homewithheroes.com. We write this with much appre- ciation for our U.S. veterans. Andy and Donna Marx White Salmon Deadlines: News and letters: Noon Monday Display Advertising: 5 p.m. Friday Classified Advertising: Noon Monday Legal Notices: 5 p.m. Friday Subscriptions: 1 Year. Goldendale Carrier: $32 2 Year. Goldendale Carrier: $52 Same prices within Klickitat County. Outside Klickitat County: $45. $75 USPS 2213-6000 WEEKLY. Periodical postage paid at Goldendale Post Office, Goldendale. WA 98620. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Goldendale Sentinel 117 W. Main Street. Golden- dale, WA 98620-9526. Requests to keep letters be honored. nsigned (incl signatures, or copies Please keep with fictious bstanti- be refused Writers must include name, city/town of residence, and phone number for verifica- tion purposes. (Str, eet address is not required, only city or town.)