Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Applying for health insurance under the new Affordable Health Care Act


—Evan A. Belknap

I made an attempt to sign up for health insurance recently. I went online ( and filled in the colorful bubbles. It asked if I wanted to see if I was eligible for Medicaid. This being mandatory and all, I clicked Yes and then filled in more information about my income. Not married. No children. Not sick very often. Not very much money. I typed in my signature, pressed the magic green button, and crossed my fingers for—could you imagine?—free health care! That sure would be great.

A file with my “results” was downloaded onto my desktop. I opened it and discovered 11 pages of question marks. This document was extremely confused. I knew it had been too easy.

I called the help line and talked to a Marcus for a while. He pulled up my file and said that I had done everything right. I was eligible to apply for Medicaid, and the government would contact me within a week. I thanked him for his help and hung up. It was snowing outside, and I felt very special thinking that I had a personalized call from the government coming.

The cool thing about this, so far, is that my friends and I will be able to go to the doctors when we get sick. One friend of mine, who has more pressing medical needs than I, is now paying $85 dollars a month since signing up for Obamacare, whereas she used to pay $165. I will be paying around the same as I used to pay for my $5,000 dollar deductible insurance, $68 dollars per month (if Medicaid doesn’t work out). My dad’s catastrophic insurance went from one hundred dollars a month to $355 a month, and so he cancelled it and now hopes the VA hospital will take care of him. My mom will continue to pay the same high premium for excellent coverage.

I haven’t been to see a doctor in years. I don’t get sick very often, but I know people who do and who struggle to make enough money for medicine. That is a frustrating thing to see—this negative feedback loop that has been making life harder and harder for minorities, the poor, the sick, and the young. The Affordable Care Act is a breath of fresh air; finally we see a break in the soulless capitalistic trends that have made this country such a crapshoot. On the other hand, maybe I’m one of those loafing Millennials that is bankrupting America. Either way, I’m super excited to go get a physical, or something equally fun, soon.

Meet Sandoval County’s new Agriculture Agent

—Lynda Garvin

I am thrilled to be the new Agriculture Agent for Sandoval County. The cultural, historical, and geographic diversity of Sandoval County appeals to my adventurous nature. For the past 27 years, I have worked in small-scale organic agriculture, food security, and livelihood projects in Africa, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. In my undergraduate work at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, I studied botany and geology, working many co-operative education jobs as a field botanist, environmental educator, and naturalist.

To feed my desire to travel to exotic places and to serve others, I joined the Peace Corps in 1985 and served two years as a community forestry volunteer in Burkina Faso, West Africa and another two years as an Environmental Education volunteer in Jamaica. I then went on to earn my Master’s degree in Crop Protection from Colorado State University. I went back to Africa and worked managing agriculture and food security projects in Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Liberia.

Somewhere between Mozambique and Liberia, I lived in Tampa, Florida, first working for the extension service as the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Agent.

In my position as the Agriculture Agent, I will manage the Master Gardener program and handle urban horticulture issues. My other program responsibilities focus on small-scale agriculture and growing and marketing local products in a sustainable and economical manner. I will work to bring the needs of growers to the extension specialists and new technologies and resources to growers. Together, we can build a resilient and profitable local food system, preserving and promoting appropriate and environmentally sound farming practices. Stop by and visit.

Training for the Master Gardener Program begins January 7. Spaces are still available. For more information, contact Sandoval County Extension 867-2582, or email to

Sandoval Regional Medical Center offers hope to women with pelvic floor disorders

—Cindy Foster

Overactive bladder. Incontinence. Pelvic organ prolapse. The National Institutes of Health estimates that one in four women will experience some form of pelvic floor disorder at some point in their lives. Yet, while the numbers of those affected is huge, most will suffer needlessly, too self-conscious and ashamed to reach out for help.

Here is a link to an article on how physicians at the SRMC are working with women to overcome this common—but embarrassing—problem:

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