E-mail letters, January 21, 2011
Tipton and his constituents
should learn health care truth
Rep. Scott Tipton’s phone “town meeting” last week was non-inclusive. I received my phone call well into the session. It was my impression that robo-calls were made to registered Republicans when not enough people dialed in to ask questions.
As a Republican, I am appalled at the suspect statements being repeated ad nauseum regarding the “job-killing” healthcare reform bill. What about the people-killing bill offered by opponents to any health care reform? There is no “bill’ at all.
As a health care provider, I continue to be disconcerted by the number of people in Tipton’s district who remain misinformed. This country has “illness” care and NOT healthcare. “Health” care is preventative care and education to prevent, foil and thwart and/or inhibit a disease process. It is time we practice ‘health” care.
To know for yourself, and to make an informed decision, the following web sites are trusted and informed entities: AARP and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation sites are easy to follow and are not in lock-step with either political party.
Scott Tipton would be well served to access both of these sites to gain a better understanding of the evolving healthcare attributes.
Tipton and other congressmen
should ‘refudiate’ health coverage
Instead of standing in the U.S.House of Representatives, tilting at windmills while aping the copperheaded John Boehner, Rep. Scott Tipton would better have synopsized his new, personal health care coverage.
“Colorado, here is my coverage. The co-pays, the exclusions and, most important, how it is paid for. I like it and I want every Coloradan to have access to the same, and I want it paid for in exactly the same way.”
All congressmen must love their socialized medicine. Not a single one has, in the immortal word of America’s great comedienne, Sarah Palin, “refudiated” it.
David L. McWilliams
Thorough review of costs
needed with Obamacare
Democrats claim Obamacare increases competition. Republicans claim increasing government control and restricting free markets limits competition. To increase competition, Republicans suggest allowing sales of health insurance across state lines. Debate of such issues was obstructed by Democrats before passing Obamacare.
A thorough review of costs and benefits makes sense. It was common sense that led most voters to reject the idea that creating a major new government entitlement will led to cost reductions and improved care. They also questioned the rush to get this bill passed. We still have time to add up all the costs. Most provisions don’t kick in until after 2012.
Everyone was in agreement that our system of paying for medical care needed to be reformed, but nobody wanted that reform to damage to our health care system itself. In a new Thompson Reuters survey 65 percent of physicians believe the quality of care will deteriorate over the next five years. Only 18 percent think it will improve. Ask your doctor.
Obama Care does contain many good provisions, but those provisions do not require the administrative monster it creates. The better provisions will get bipartisan support and be included in a simplified bipartisan law. There are many other good ideas that can be added, like provisions that allow workers to take their health care from job to job.
In the Senate, Democrats are still able to obstruct bipartisan debate. If the bill is so good, why are Democrats blocking a thorough review? Let both sides make their case and vote.
Electric rate increases
show problems with HB 1365
When House Bill 1365 was passed by the Colorado Legislature last year, essentially promoting the closure of coal-fired power plants and escalating future electrical rates, I thought the citizens of Colorado would demand an explanation.
The story was that converting from coal to natural gas would preempt an intervention by the EPA. We don’t know what the changes, if any, will be but the state has decided that increasing electrical rates as much as four times to Colorado consumers is a small price to pay, just in case the EPA might do something, someday?
Xcel jumped on this bandwagon for an obvious reasons: increased profit. Xcel stated, before the PUC in 2007, that switching to natural gas would be much too expensive. I suppose if you guarantee profits and allow for basically unopposed rate increases, any company could change its mind as to what is efficient and what is not.
On Jan. 19, Patrick Bahr’s article in The Daily Sentinel offered confirmation as to where electrical rates are headed, thanks to deals made between Xcel, the PUC, and the state Government. Specifically, the Grand Mesa Little League’s power bill “has risen from $500 to $2,000 a month from August to March.” The jump will increase their power bill by $12,000 a year. The disturbing part is that these rates are not even close to peaking. Xcel is not half way to the 30 percent renewable position and gas prices are still relatively low considering historic numbers.
As reported by The Denver Post on Jan. 21, Colorado legislators are now seeking an audit of the PUC in light of recent decisions, including HB 1365. It is starting to look like profit motivations, a green-energy agenda, and an effort to target coal use has been carefully structured and implemented. Unfortunately, all this will be at the expense of the consumer, the people who live and work in Colorado.
Careful consideration needed
before changing Social Security
Alan Simpson, former U.S. Senator and Republican co-chair of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, called Social Security “a milk cow with 310 million teats” last year.
Social Security is not a “fat cat” retirement plan — the average annual payout is $12,132 for women and $15,744 for men. It is the main retirement program for older women in the U.S. Fifty-seven percent of all beneficiaries age 62 and older are women, and 68 percent of all beneficiaries are 85 and older.
Simpson’s attack was intended to call attention to the commission report released in December, which recommended increasing the retirement age and cutting benefits to reduce our national debt. Social Security has run a surplus for decades but the problem is the U.S. borrows from the trust fund, leaving it filled with empty IOUs.
Attacks on Social Security are nothing new. President George W. Bush tried it with his privatization plan, which went down in defeat.
Privatization involves diverting the money we pay into Social Security to private stock accounts which, theoretically, would provide a richer retirement. Stock market declines during the recent recession should provide ample proof of how risky this approach would be. Worse, under privatization there is no plan for saving spousal and dependent benefits for widows, orphaned children under 16, and divorced older women. Privatization is not on the table presently, but when 11 out of 18 commissioners voted to approve the commission report, just three short of the 14 needed for adoption, it is no stretch of the imagination to expect Congress will take it up again.
There are better ways to modify Social Security to change our debt. One would be to raise (or remove) the payroll tax cap on incomes above $106,000 to make taxes more equitable. This approach has been recommended as a partial solution by women’s national organizations since 1999 and by women leaders decades earlier.
Remember, if Social Security is significantly weakened, young family members will have to pitch in to support their elders. Given the complexity and its importance to the well-being of so many, it’s imperative we consider the law of unintended consequences before making “simple” fixes to Social Security.
Textbook flap shows
In a recent “60 Minutes” commentary, Andy Rooney addressed a book being used in an entire school district on the East Coast. In that book being used by thousands of students, there were over 100 factual errors.
In her attempted defense, and not denying the errors, the author stated that she had checked the facts on Wikepedia (a notoriously unreliable and intellectually shallow source), and that if they were wrong, it was her source that was wrong. Rooney was quite correct in pointing out that such is absolutely no excuse.
This incident serves to illustrate some very important points.
The first was that the author was totally unqualified to write such a book. The second is that there was absolutely no concern about accuracy. The third is that once the errors were pointed out, some “other party” was responsible.
In many ways, she is representative of all too many who attempt to speak, and instruct others, yet do not even know the very basics of their subject; i.e. speaking in ignorance.
One cannot dismiss this entire subject without also pointing out the culpability of other parties to this fiasco. There are those who approved the book for use, and the teachers who used it in their classes. They also are quite obviously unqualified in their subjects. Otherwise, such a book would never have come into the hands of any student.
What we can say is that such an incident can only be the result of not only intellectual mediocrity, but actual failure, and across more than one generation. Also ever present is that “It’s their fault and not mine”; i.e. finger pointing, something which has become a national epidemic.
Robert I. Laitres
City officials realized
citizens are too dumb
I’m no Dalton Trumbo but how is this for a short, two-act play that takes place in downtown Grand Junction?
Title: “How Dumb Can You Get?”
ACT 1: Two groups of people, city officials in 3-piece suits and townspeople in T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops at the intersection by the Avalon Theater three years ago.
City: We officials have a brilliant idea. We are going to spend your money to redo Seventh Street here with a traffic circle and back-in parking. We know you will like it.
People: Well ... we guess the traffic circle will be okay but we don’t think we will like back-in parking ‘cause we really don’t understand how it will work.
City: You people are so dumb. This is a great idea we have. We’ve read about it and it is progressive, so we know you will like it.
People: A few of us can read and we understand it was tried in Glenwood Springs and the people there want it changed back to the way it was.
City: Those folks down the road are really dumb. They could not figure out how it works so they have to change it back.
People: Well … we know you officials are all very smart so you must know what is best for us.
ACT 2: Same two groups today at the traffic circle at that same intersection:
People: This back-in parking just is not working. It is costing us a loss in business as well as confusion and traffic congestion. We wish we could have our old way of parking back.
City: You people are dumber than we thought so we guess we will have to change it back. It will cost you $60,000, you know.
People: Thank you for being so wise and able to accommodate our stupidity in not being able to learn how to back-in park after 3 years.
Curtain falls as the city officials stand together smiling, heads high with chests held proudly out. People stand together heads downcast with blank looks on their faces.