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Herbert's sick joke

Published December 31, 2012 5:09 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rather than joining Obamacare, Gov. Gary Herbert has decided that Utah will use Avenue H, the state's health care exchange. He says the exchange is a good model for delivering health insurance. I strongly disagree.

Avenue H was fraught with internal problems. The exchange had such a poor reputation that the state had to seek help from consultants to re-brand it with a new name to erase perceptions of inefficiencies.

The exchange is currently only a marketplace for small-business owners. Less than 1 percent of small-business owners use the exchange.

Moreover, the concept behind the exchange is to provide insurance through employee workplaces. This assumption ignores the glaring fact that many uninsured and underinsured are not employed full time.

Avenue H is solely Web-based. Access to the exchange is limited to those with sufficient computer skills and digital machines. Extending the exchange to individuals is a nice concept, but not reaching those who lack computers or computer skills is far from a universal method.

Despite its lack of effectiveness, the disenfranchisement of those most in need, and limited access, the governor's decision to stay with Avenue H and recommend it as a model for the federal government is one sick joke.

Dennis Alexander

Murray