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Readers of The Times write in to share their stories in this week's edition of letters to the editor.

Editor's note: Have a letter to share? Email your thoughts to Editor-in-Chief Mark Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Letters should be no more than 400 words. All submissions must include the name and hometown of the author. Submissions should not include profane or defamatory language. We may lightly edit submissions for style and clarity. We encourage writers to suggest their own headline when submitting a letter; otherwise, a headline may be generated based on the contents of the letter.

Working with organization makes real difference

Although I sat-in and protested during the 1960s, I found my new political voice with The Fund for Global Health, an organization with successes for its political advocacy.

When I recently advocated with Sen. Jeff Merkley's assistant for greater funding for comprehensive primary healthcare in developing countries, I felt the excitement that comes with having an impact.

The mission of The Fund for Global Health is maximum impact on improving health conditions in developing countries through:

1. Political advocacy

2. Health service delivery

The Fund for Global Health, a philanthropic agency, is guided and shaped by the abiding question,"How can we save more lives?" We invest our own funds and advocate with congress to provide health care to vulnerable communities, to avert preventable death and disability.

Another of our abiding questions is, "How can we improve our political advocacy so it has an even bigger impact on people's lives?"

And why do we need to? Well, for instance, at last count by UNICEF, there are about 120 physicians in all of South Sudan, a country of 12 million people. If I was a physician in South Sudan, I would be responsible for a line of people that stretches 38 miles long. It would take me nearly three years if I started seeing them every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day without a break. Impossible!

Nigeria is another among the worst conflict regions in the world and a difficult place to create a working health program. Yet The Fund for Global Health continues to focus in Nigeria because it has the highest number of unnecessary child deaths. We can save many of those lives.

"How can we have the greatest impact?" is always the question for The Fund for Global Health.

Sherri Zysk, Hillsboro

Why is getting health coverage such a hassle?

Three months prior to turning 65, I went online and signed up for Medicare Part A.

Part B, not so easy.

Since I was still with private insurance until July 1, things got more complicated, finally I called the Medicare/Social Security help line and explained my situation. I was trying to make an appointment to go to the Social Security office in Beaverton but was discouraged by a fairly helpful woman who explained to me that now that I was just about out of my early enrollment period, all I needed to do versus going in person was to fill out a form she emailed me. I printed and sent it to the California address in Richmond, California.

Since I was still a month out, so time would not be a factor, I got together with my insurance person to learn about the dreaded gaps. None of this except Part A is free. We figured out what I needed and the cost every three months — some sticker shock, but I already know I'll be working some sort of job until I'm dead, so OK, I guess.

Now here it is a month later, and Medicare and Social Security not only don't have me set up yet for Part B, I'm not sure there is even a record of what I sent in, except for the picture of the form I took before turning it over to the United States Postal Service. In a few days, I could very well be with zero insurance and scared to death of getting sick, despite doing my due diligence per what Medicare advised me to do over the phone.

I did everything I was supposed to do in a timely manner, and thus far I only have Medicare Part A. I don't know what I could have done differently. Now I'll be on hold for another eternity.

James Maass, Beaverton

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Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!

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