Email Letters: March 14, 2017

All citizens should have same healthcare coverage as government employees

The answer to Paul Ryan’s healthcare problem is actually simple. Make all government employees, at all levels of government (federal, state, county, and city) pay the exact same health insurance rates that we, the citizens, have to pay. No discounts, no perks, no freebies. The same health coverage plan for the same prices.

Either that, or put all citizens on the same healthcare insurance coverage plan that government employees have, along with the same prescription plan. Easy peasy. It’s not hard at all.

The politicians are just telling everyone it’s hard. The only “hard” part about this is that if they do the right thing and give us the health insurance plans we all want and deserve, it will be hard for “them” to hold this over our heads the next election cycle, and to use it to scare us into voting for them again.

ANDY ANDERSON
Delta

Rural Coloradans need support on broadband internet issue

How could a small start-up business in rural Colorado compete globally?

A big part of the answer is through high-speed internet access, which is generally assumed to be fiber-optic cable. However, because the economics of providing high-speed internet access to rural communities is dicey for investor-owned companies, there is little reason to hope that privately owned companies would provide that service anytime soon.

Asking for government support for broadband in rural areas is not unprecedented. It is not unlike the Rural Electrification Act that brought electricity to rural communities across the country. That was considered a national priority by the President of the United States, and it completely changed how rural areas could operate in the modern world.

I submit that now is the time when our government needs to stand up for rural economies and allow local entities to compete with the big dogs in the internet service provider world to provide us with the ability to compete on something approaching a level playing field.

Our rural economies have been hard hit by forces beyond our control. This one should be within our control. Yet, you will perhaps be saddened to know that a bill in the Colorado legislature to make broadband more available to rural Colorado, Senate Bill 81, was killed in committee on Feb. 21.

When, I ask the legislature, will we have a level playing field, if we do not have access to broadband internet? If private companies do not want to take us on as customers, does that mean we will always be handicapped in the competition for new markets and customers in the rapidly changing economy? When will our students have access to the types of information that their urban peers have? Rural Coloradans need your support on this issue.

GRETCHEN NICHOLOFF
Hotchkiss

County should take action in restricting unnecessary burning of trash and plant material

It was great to see the long overdue restrictions on unnecessary burning of trash and plant material in the City of Grand Junction.

I encourage Mesa County to study and consider taking similar action to help clear our Grand Valley air. Most of the burning that takes place in the county, (including agricultural), seems to be not only harmful to residents of the entire valley, (like smoking in an elevator), but in the long run, harmful to the valley soils as it kills some soil organisms and robs the soil of plant material that would otherwise naturally enrich it over time.

Following are the items that the county currently allows to be burned that would, in most cases, be better left unburned and dealt with by more productive and less harmful means: Cover vegetation, weeds (except in irrigation channels), garden waste, and, in some cases, tree prunings that could reasonably be chip/shredded.

MARK SMITH
Grand Junction

West Slope businesses and sportsmen support BLM Methane Rule

It’s my job to equip the customers that come through my door with the tools and information that will allow them to maximize their experience while outdoors. Their experience depends on having quality outdoor destinations, which means I care about healthy ecosystems and respect policies that help preserve and protect the values that bring customers through my doors in the first place.

For these reasons I’m asking Sen. Gardner not to support the Congressional Review Act Vote that would strip the Bureau of Land Management of their ability to regulate and reduce methane emissions. Besides saving money for oil and gas operators, for taxpayers, and our West Slope
community, keeping gas in the pipes will also reduce air pollution and is good for the environment. The BLM Methane Rule is based on Colorado’s own methane regulations, which have saved us money as a state and have been good for business for operators. Sen. Gardner, the BLM Methane Rule is good for my business and helps protect the values that make the West Slope and our state unique.

NED MAYERS
Western Anglers Fly Shop
Grand Junction

Removing health industry’s profit motive in health coverage cheapens life

John Borgen’s recent letter suggests that a profit motive in health coverage cheapens life. I would argue that removing the health industry’s profit motive in health coverage cheapens life.

Obamacare’s failure is such that the highest praise its most ardent supporters can give it is, “It’s far from perfect.” But the fiasco of Obamacare actually makes sense when you understand that it has less to do with healthcare and more to do with advancing Marxism and empowering government bureaucrats.

Obviously, stealing wealth from those who earned it and giving it to those who didn’t earn it will help the recipient of the theft in the short term, but ultimately it harms everyone. So to sell the lie, Carl Marx said, “From each, according to their abilities – To each, according to their needs.” That almost sounds Biblical, as do many of Satan’s lies. But 2nd Thessalonians 3:10, among others, refutes Marxism.

In the 1600s, the Pilgrims (believing it to be Biblical) tried Marxism, which is the basis of Obamacare. Unremarkably, it failed, as it has throughout human history, and the Pilgrims nearly starved. So they went with capitalism and prospered, as is the case throughout human history.
Capitalism, of course, is not perfect. It only appears to be when compared to Marxism or socialism. Mostly, humans in general, and Americans in particular, are generous and more than willing to share with those who truly need help. But we hate being forced.

So what is best? Allowing the greedy healthcare industry to work in their area of expertise and make a profit, which results in better healthcare for more people? Or allowing greedy government bureaucrats to run an industry they seem to know less than nothing about, and letting them absorb the profit, resulting in inferior healthcare for fewer people? Which one cheapens life?

GARY YEAGER
Grand Junction

Convention center is a necessity for larger cities like Grand Junction

It always mystifies me why some people, regardless of age are so hesitant to look forward and realize changes are good. Think Ford, Edison, Flemming and Pasteur.

When the Fruita Community Center was being proposed and the town of Fruita was asking its citizens to approve a .3 percent sales tax increase to help fund it, it took two ballots before the FCC had enough votes to pass. What a fantastic decision that was!

The FCC is the envy of the valley. People from all over the area, Utah included, enjoy the benefits of that decision. The doubters are now active participants with the million plus guests that have passed through the doors during the short time since opening.

Those same arguments are now being made concerning Grand Junction’s proposed tax increase to fund a new convention center. Building a convention center in Grand Junction will place our valley on the map as a place on the go; not just for people living in Grand Junction, but from miles around, because of the many kinds of entertainment, conventions, athletic and community activities it will attract.

There is the argument that Grand Junction would benefit more by building a community center instead of a convention center. Grand Junction already has multiple fitness centers, swimming pools and parks. The population and size of Grand Junction is no comparison to the small town of Fruita, and that’s the reason the FCC is such a huge success.

A convention center is a necessity for larger cities like Grand Junction in order to maintain its credibility as a growing community going forward, looking to the future.

JUDITH CHAPIN
Fruita

Residents should vote yes on ballot issues 2A and 2B

The pro/con statement regarding 2017 ballot issues contains several erroneous statements that need to be refuted.

Labeling 2A as a boondoggle is ridiculous. The downtown events center is a wise stimulus to economic development.

Building a large events center downtown on our award-winning Main Street will allow the community to attract larger conferences, as well as indoor sporting events. It will augment School District 51 gyms for larger events such as graduations and athletic tournaments. The events center will allow Grand Junction to host larger events that the Avalon cannot handle, which are passing us by.

The restored, historic Avalon Theater has become a jewel at the east end of Main Street and has turned a profit since its restoration. With its outstanding acoustics, it plays host to the Grand Junction Symphony, as well as numerous smaller events that it is suited for, including movies, weddings, and small gatherings.

The events center and the Avalon will complement each other. Voting yes on 2A will also help modernize the existing Two Rivers Convention Center, providing a further economic boon for downtown and, regaining our regional importance as the only large metropolitan area between Denver and Salt Lake City. The addition of new hotels and restaurants puts us in the category of medium sized western cities, such as Boise, Idaho; Ft. Collins, Colorado; Pueblo, Colorado; and Flagstaff, Arizona. Cities that want to attract new businesses are progressive and forward thinking.

Labeling 2B as making up for neglected road projects is also ridiculous. Our roads are at least 60 percent OK, according to a recent survey and we are currently rebuilding the worst road: First Street. We have made major improvements elsewhere, including North Ave. and Horizon Drive, as well as overlays and chip and seal projects throughout the city. This ballot measure merely sets aside money from the Riverside Parkway bonds to fund other road and bridge improvements in the city.

I urge you to vote “yes” on both ballot issues!

BENNETT BOESCHENSTEIN
Grand Junction

Events center will threaten the things that make Grand Valley a nice place to live

Regarding the Sentinel’s front-page article on Monday about the event center controversy, I couldn’t help but notice that the entire article was slanted in favor of such a quest. No real surprise there, since this paper’s editor has been since the start.

However, let me submit an alternate view of this boondoggle. There is no shortage of events taking place right now in the valley almost weekly. There are bike races aplenty, tours over the monument, 5 and10-K runs routinely, a county fair, rodeo events, monster truck events, motocross and BMX, Speedway go-carts north of I-70, and our own G.J. Rockies. There’s Country Jam, Rock Jam, JUCO jam, and a lot of car jams too! Not to mention the annual events: Palisade Peach Festival, October Fest, and Mike the Headless Chicken Festival (Fruita). And don’t forget all the wine tasting events, Lions Club events, farmer’s markets, and G.J. Symphony events. There is all of this and more, without the need for a $60 million event center, that many of us will never set foot in, but our taxes on everything from a drill to an automobile will increase to support it.

One of the gentlemen quoted in the article who had recently moved here, indicated that it was so much better in “Boise,” where they’ve had such a center for 15 years and that it was so “crappy” living here. It begs the question, if it was so great there, why did you move here? Let me tell you why. The reason always is, “It’s so nice here,” with the open space, clean water, clean air, close-knit community and atmosphere. These are the very things that will be threatened first.

If you want the congestion, crime, pollution, gangs, and graffiti that make Boise and Denver so great, then go there. However, if you truly cherish what we have here, protect it. Vote no on 2A. Jim Spehar would accuse me of being a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), and for once, he’d be right, because it is my backyard, and as a native, I don’t want it ruined.

DUANE HARRIS
Grand Junction

Support bill eliminating conversion therapy for state-licensed therapists

“Homosexuality is a harmful disease that puts our youth at risk.” That’s the message that opponents to Colorado House Bill 1156, which would put an end to the practice known as “conversion therapy” by any licensed therapist or psychologist. The bill, which received bipartisan support in the House of Representatives last week, goes to Senate, where a hyper-partisan panel (lead by infamous Republican Ray Scott) is likely to kill it.

Conversion therapy has been lambasted by the health industry in Colorado and the rest of the country. The tortuous, barbaric exercise utilizes electroshock therapy, inducing nausea, vomiting and paralysis at the sight of homoerotic images and the horrific practice of forced, prolonged masturbation.

According to a study by the Human Rights Campaign, subjection to this leads to LGBT children having an 800 percent higher chance of committing suicide, using illegal drugs and facing severe depression.

Although I now live in Boulder, I grew up in Sen. Scott’s district, which is enduring a severe, terrifying bout of teenage suicide. Grand Junction is a beautiful place, with its desert landscape and local wineries. However, being brought up as a gay man in a place dominated by heterosexual normativity nearly added me to the ever-growing list of children who have taken their own lives.

Why do our state leaders (particularly Sen. Scott and company) want to make life immeasurably difficult for children who face discrimination, bullying and high levels of depression and anxiety? By eliminating conversion therapy for state-licensed therapists, we are helping kids and teens who often need it most.

I call personally upon Sens. Marble, Sonnenberg and especially Sen. Scott to send this bill unanimously through committee. Help the kids whose lives are constantly at risk make it. Help them build pride in who they are, not demolish it.

ZACHARY BARGER
Boulder

Avalon Theater needs continued community support to succeed

The Avalon Theater is the heart of downtown and its identity. It’s a place any city many times larger would be proud of! We are proud and appreciate the support of the community and those who believe in the future of the historic Avalon. The theater has been in the black since the 2014 renovation and expansion.

We continue to need community support to continue its success!

ELIZABETH ROWAN
Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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Mr. Yeager, I was talking about the HEALTH INSURANCE industry, not the PROVIDER industry. That wasn’t clear? That, supposedly is wide open. Except, of course where the insurance industry squeezes them. That may or may not be appropriate. You’ve wasted an entire letter with your history and anti-socialist lesson. Where is the justification for an for-profit intermediary merely for the purpose of paying the provider industry? One’s health is sometimes kind of predictable and sometimes wildly unpredictable and expensive. That’s why we have insurance. But where is it written that that has to be for profit? What is the insurance company’s first objective, their health and profitability or your health? Have you ever had to fight the insurance company for “an approval” for a procedure critical to your health?
Or was your letter not a misunderstanding but an opportunity to get in some licks against those nasty liberals?

Gary, capitalism is a failure because the greed got out of control and they passed new laws to benefit their companies. There is a better way where we love and care for each other. Do we have advances in health care in the twentieth century. Why can only the wealthy afford the new great drugs. Why aren’t they for everyone? Why so few cures, only new and better drugs. Higher cancer rates throughout the world are predicted by the WHO by 70 percent, humm but the smoking rates have gone down. We are human beings that binds us as one yet we are taught to climb the ladder before the other guys. Race to the top and once there forget about the little guy.

Mr. Anderson, I absolutely want to see Congress people and their staffs have to use the same insurance as the rest of us.  When Congress realized how expensive it would be for them they claimed they had to exempt themselves and their staffers from Obamacare because they would not be able to hire the best staff people if they had to pay so much for their healthcare.  Right then it should have been glaringly obvious to everyone in the country that Obamacare is a BAD plan.

Mr. Meyers, what is your idea for the ideal plan? The ACA is farf rom my idea of an ideal because it guarantees the continuance of for profit-health INSURANCE companies. They are putting a needless syphon of patient’s money in the health system but they were deemed to strong to fight and Republicans still wanted to feather their nests. Notice that they are still in the anti-ACA program.

Mr. Yeager & Meyers.  Reading to improve the mind;
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/14/opinion/the-original-lie-about-obamacare.html?ref=opinion

Borgen, to be perfectly honest I’m not interested in reading 2nd or 3rd hand articles written by reporters who don’t understand the healthcare system.

All:  At this point in time, with all the opponents of ‘repeal and replace’,  on both sides of the aisle, I think it would be safer if the present administration just allowed Obummercare to implode, as most people think it will, on its own.  That absolves Republicans of any guilt having to do with passage, or repealing and replacing.  All the guilt will be for Democrats to bear.  Of course, there should be absolutely no additional financial help by this administration to keep Obummercare going, just as there was no bipartisan input allowed from Republicans.  Democrats designed and passed it all by themselves - it is time to let the law sink or swim on its own.  When it sinks, as expected to - then and only then should the GOP trot out a new version of healthcare law.  Until then - Republicans can work on it, and tweak it as necessary behind closed doors, without any help or advice from Democrats - until Obummercare gasps its last breath.  Yes, some people will lose their mandated healthcare insurance for a time when that happens - a good part of whom had no health insurance prior to Obummercare, or who lost it because of the law.  If the GOP plays their cards right, that loss will be temporary, and short-term.

I agree with you, Mr. Zulain, but since the GOP Congress-people leaders act like they are scared of their own shadows, we can only hope the Conservatives in Congress stick to their guns and don’t vote for RINO-care.

Mr. Borgen, Why don’t you tell us what you consider to be the ideal plan?

If I were trying to design an insurance plan in the current toxic atmosphere I would refuse to do anything without a total repeal of Obamacare.  Not only is Obamacare 2000 plus pages of a bad law, but thousands and thousands of pages of regulations have been piled on top of that.  As Mr. Zulian said, I’d sit down behind closed doors, seek much input, and hash out a plan that most people agree with before I let the Democrats and Lamestream media hear what we are doing.

For starters I would leave Medicare and Medicaid alone, and try to figure out how to help the thousands of hard working people who are subjected to insurance policies they cannot afford.  After they pay 1000s of dollars in premiums they still have to pay many thousands more if they need care.  They have the equivalent of a high-deductible catastrophic health plan of old, but in addition they have paid usually at least $10000 and $12,000 in premiums.

Mr. Meyers:  Wait for it - wait for it… It’s coming - I see smoke in the Redlands - Mr. Borgen is about to enlighten us about ‘Single-Payer’ systems’.  You know, the Socialized Medical un-Care like in Canada and the UK.  The reason people from Canada schedule medical care in the U.S., and people in the UK wait exorbitant amounts of time for medical treatments.  It is also a way for government to gain full control of its citizens and regulate the timing and type of care you receive, if you receive care at all.

I would look at the Direct-Patient-Care model I wrote about over the week-end.  I do not know what percent of medical expenses are paid for out-patient routine healthcare (a simple Google search doesn’t bring up good information since 2010), and I don’t have time to dig into it now.  I do know a non-insurance covered doctor visit these days is usually @ least $100.  I also know that no doctor I’ve seen in the past few years has billed Medicare less than $100 and usually it’s closer to 200 if they do anything at all.  Medicare decides what it will pay and what it allows the Insurance company to pay so they are lucky if they get half the billed amount usually.  Josh Umbehr, the KS physician who has publicized the Direct Care Models says he was able to eliminate 7 insurance billing people for his 2 physician practice when he went to Direct-Care.  Imagine how much his office overhead was before!  No wonder he can charge less for a month of unlimited care than he charged before for one short visit.
Under the Direct-Care model a patient pays $50 to $200/month for unlimited doctor visits and x-rays, and other services billed separately otherwise.  I would seek quotes from insurance companies for what they would charge for a catastrophic plan with various deductibles depending on what risk the patient was willing to take.  i.e. $2000, 5000, maybe 10,000.  I’d leave it to the individual.  Remember, this is just for care beyond the Direct-care provided.

I would allow insurance companies to exclude people for preexisting conditions and allow them to charge more for patients that are apt to cost more.  People excluded could be put into Medicaid or a separate high-risk pool with gov. subsidies.  I would get rid of the, “one size fits all” model and allow insurance companies to charge different amounts depending on the patient, and get rid of the mandates that require all insurance policies to cover prenatal care, alcohol detox, etc.  I’d let the patient decide if they will ever need those services.  Hint:  a 60 y/o teetotaler is never going to need either one.

The insurance companies add a lot to the healthcare bill, but government regulations and flat out foolish attacks on healthcare providers cost us a lot of money too.  Another game the government plays it delaying or outright refusing payment when they don’t understand that the physician had a good reason for the care they provided.  When they refuse a claim, the doctor is just, “out”.  Under Medicare they cannot charge the patient.  I don’t know if they can charge a patient who is on Obamacare.

I have already sent an email on the direct-care model to President Trump and after I think about this a little more and refine it a little more I will send this to him too.  This is the first time I tried to articulate an over-all plan.

Maybe this is not a viable solution, but I can guarantee you yelling and screaming and claiming everything done by anyone who is not a “Progressive” is not going to help anything.

Meyer and Zulian, how much will it cost and who pays? Will it use existing for-profit insurance companies? Will you dictate maximum charges to either insurance companies or providers or both? I understand that you will talk with everybody about details. Is the objective the same as all the objectives of the ACA? Is the objective to do all that and still make it cheaper than the ACA? Can the government be involved in assistance in any way or will Medicaid be used to supplement those who can’t afford premiums?
Finally, in what way will the ACA ultimately fail? I’m sure you have answers to all these questions. Trump and the Republicans also said they had them but it when it came time to put up or shut up they punted .. Can you top them?

Mr. Borgen, Did you read the part about leave Medicare and Medicaid the same for now?  i.e. the Gov. pays for Medicaid and the Gov AND private insurance pay for Medicare.
The insurance companies probably have the most lobbyists in Washington of anyone.  The insurance companies, the Tides Foundation, and lawyers wrote the Obamacare bill.  You aren’t going to get rid of them without a fight. 
My idea would get insurance companies out of the family-care market altogether.  I’m hurt, I thought you would approve.
You pay for your own insurance and Direct-Care cost if you can afford it.  Otherwise, you go to Medicaid or High-risk pool paid by the Gov. 
The cost of the catastrophic coverage is what would make or break this idea.  I cannot imagine it would be more than what people are paying now.  The Direct-pay cost would be $600 to $1200/year.
You claim to be an Economist, you figure out what it would cost.

Mr. Borgen:  “Meyer and Zulian, how much will it cost and who pays?”  That was your question - I will answer it thus:  Who receives the care?  That person is responsible for finding a way to pay for his/her medical care.  I am not a member of Congress - I don’t get paid $175K per year plus perks to figure it out.  I take care of me, and I expect others to do the same.  The more responsibility is relieved from some so that others will have to shoulder the load, means that more will line up to have responsibility removed.  It is much like the “one per-centers” the left is always whining about who won’t “pay their fair share”.  When asked what a “fair share” would be - they don’t have an answer.  I have a sneaking suspicion that even if the Democrats got 100% of the “one per-center’s” wealth - they could spend that, and then some, and ask for more.  I’m done here, you can hold the debate together as long as you want by yourself.

Thanks, Ms Patton,  Yes, we need HSAs and buying insurance across state lines are needed.  Another thing wrong with my “plan” is how do you pay for Specialists?  Any ideas?

Mr. Borgen, btw, I forgot to include Jonathan Gruber in the authors of Obamacare.  He’s the one who claimed to be the “architect” of the law and bragged that it passed because of the stupidity of the American people.  He’s an Econ prof @ MIT.

Ms Patton, the Gov of Mississippi talked to Hannity on radio this afternoon.  I just heard a little of it, but he wants to go Direct-Pay for Medicaid.  It would only take one state to get this really going.

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