Email letters, March 18, 2014

Young peope can benefit from Colorado Health Exchange

I wanted to take a moment to discuss health insurance with young people in the community. Not the most exciting topic, I admit, but it is critically important for residents of all ages. The national health care system needs new citizens to insure, especially healthy, young people. If young folks sign up en masse, prices will go down for everyone and we can begin to benefit from a better health care system.

Just after the New Year, I began exploring my health care options on the Colorado Health Exchange, knowing that I would be dinged on my taxes if I did not get coverage before the end of March 2014. To my surprise, I found that because of my low income and status as a graduate student, I qualified for expanded Medicare coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Now when I go skiing or climbing or when I drive Red Mountain Pass, I feel more secure knowing that I am covered and my family won’t have to pick up the tab if I get injured.

That should be a lesson to students, food servers and all kinds of part-time, under-paid, young workers; there is affordable, comprehensive health insurance out there waiting for you. Just take the time needed to engage the system through the Colorado Health Exchange, and you may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. It’s not too late to get coverage and avoid paying a fine instead of a health insurance bill.



De Beque urged to consider social woes created by casinos

While I can appreciate the desire of the citizens of De Beque to find a way to rescue their city from its economic difficulties, I hope they will investigate the experience of other cities that tried to solve their problems by inviting in casino gambling.

Among many books about this issue, the best I have found is Addiction by Design by Natasha Schull. Also, innumerable Internet sites describe the plight of cities across our nation that have opened their doors to casinos. These sites include:

7 News -  Gambling epidemic on the way – You Tube
Slot Machines:  The Big Gamble – You Tube
Casino Free Philadelphia
How Casinos lead people into life-changing debt
Gambling Statistics – You Tube
11-19-13 – Gambling Statistics – You Tube

The last site listed is especially pertinent from a Colorado perspective. This site is a presentation by a county sheriff in Florida, Sheriff David Morgan. Morgan is appealing to his state not to fall into the trap of other states in opening the door to casinos. He states that the number of police calls in Blackhawk, Colo., increased from 25 per year before casinos to from 15,000 to 20,000 per year in the years after their introduction in neighboring Central City. The number of arrests increased by 275 percent in the year after casinos arrived.

He says that in Cripple Creek serious crimes increased by 287 percent in the first three years after casinos came to town. He also says that Nevada ranked highest in crime rates among the 50 states in two recent years based on an analysis by the FBI. He gives comparable statistics for Minnesota, Mississippi, Atlantic City and San Jose, Calif.

He quotes the result of a survey of 400 members of Gamblers Anonymous in which 57 percent admitted to stealing in order to maintain their gambling addiction, and the average amount stolen was $130,000.

He says that the social costs to communities — increased police and jail, physician and hospitals, courts, etc. — end up costing most cities far more than they gain. The American Psychiatric Association describes “disordered gambling” as associated with job loss, debt, bankruptcy, divorce, poor health, incarceration and the highest rate of suicide attempts (20 percent) among all addictions. Up to 60 percent of all gambling revenue derives from “problem gambling,” and it has been proved that the introduction of a casino into a community greatly escalates the number of people who become addicted to gambling.

A retired pastor, I have counseled a great number of people with addiction problems. I can tell you from personal experience that gambling addiction is a life-destroying and family-destroying problem.

It is my sincere plea that the good folks in De Beque explore this matter deeply before pursuing a casino as the solution to their problem.

Grand Junction

President has busy, but incompetent wee

Wow! In one week the president has given away our rights to the Internet, threatened serious consequences for Russia, issued meaningless sanctions, delayed Obamacare sign-ups again and changed overtime laws that will cause more people to lose their jobs.

Does incompetence come to mind?

Grand Junction
Havlik’s record of caring, competence shows he is best candidate for coroner

There are many reasons to re-elect Dean Havlik, M.D. as Mesa County coroner. Through his previous two terms, Havlik’s progressive leadership has advanced and improved several aspects of the Mesa County coroner’s office. Autopsies, death investigations and associated reports are now completed in a timely manner. As a result, Havlik has been able to help the community in ways that have never been done before, such as producing annual reports and suicide reports and helping groups like the suicide coalition and the child fatality review team. Information is now searchable and provides topic-specific data for law enforcement, public health, the media and other stakeholders.

Havlik is a fiscal conservative. While other departments often want to grow their staff and have struggled with recent budget cuts, Havlik has always worked within the budget presented to him. He accounts for every dollar spent and has worked hard to develop and maintain relationships with key partners to reduce costs to taxpayers. His relationship with Community Hospital, which donates the office space and autopsy facility, has saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars over his eight-year term in office.

Serving as coroner for Mesa County is a public service Havlik enjoys doing. He is well-trained for this position with board certifications in anatomic and clinical pathology and forensic pathology. Havlik believes the most rewarding part of his job is helping the families of those who died. The doctors in this community know Havlik as a bright, humble, caring physician. Havlik possesses the experience and qualifications one can trust for Mesa County coroner.

PHIL MOHLER, M.D. and other Mesa County physicians:
BRITTA SEPPI, M.D.                    DAVID PACINI, M.D.
DON NICOLAY, M.D.                    STEPHANIE SHRAGO, M.D.
PEGGY WRICH, D.O.                    ANDREW MOHLER, M.D.
DAVID DIRKS, M.D.                    AMY BRATTELI, M.D.
JOHN BRATTELI, M.D.                  MARY WILLY, D.O.
Grand Junction

GOP must understand that third party is ‘waiting in the wings’

Throughout history political parties have come and gone, reforming themselves to match the times. Corruption, fraud and lawlessness, always present, were tolerated because of ignorance, due to limited media and the inability of many to read. Consequently, much was masked from public view.

Today, we have the opposite, and, rather than reform, one party grows even more corrupt and lawless. The present-day GOP appears only to want regained control over the bloated government. They have no plans to shrink it and seem resigned to a minority role.

That may very well be their fatal flaw, since they believed the issues of smaller government, lower taxes and repeal/replace Obamacare were “tea party losers.” Florida’s special election proved otherwise. They’d be wise to re-examine their positions before the mid-terms. With a third party waiting in the wings, collateral damage could be devastating.

Grand Junction

Teens getting inked should consider future embarrassment
Teen ink is to be teenaged and stupid. Why turn your body over to a graffiti artist for permanent non-reversible and soon-to-be-out-of-style doodling? When did graffiti exit the walls of slum buildings and become acceptable skin art?
On the rare occasions when my upper arm is exposed with the ugly smudge that once was a great tattoo showing my enthusiasm for the Marine Corps to which I proudly belonged, I am embarrassed to answer the query, “What is it?”  It no longer makes a statement. It just presents itself as a great disgusting mold on skin that is no longer beautiful.
How sad to think of their future a few years down the road, having sacrificed their bodies to a transient, despoiling fad.
Grand Junction

Powerful NRA bamboozles otherwise clear-thinking people

According to a very reliable source (that excludes FOXNews), 89 percent of Americans favor background checks for the purchase of weapons and 84 percent of gun owners do, as well.

It is difficult to understand why any law-abiding citizen in this country would oppose background checks for the purchase of a lethal weapon. Who other than people who shouldn’t have guns is being hurt?

Is the NRA so powerful that it is been able to successfully bamboozle otherwise good, clear-thinking people into believing that, somehow, background checks will cause the end of the universe as we know it? If so, maybe what we need to do is to get some logic into our gun laws is to defang the NRA.

Now, there’s a worthy project.


City Council must ascertain if GJEP is truly successful

Today’s Sentinel said that GJEP “believes it has six success stories from last year expanding businesses or expanding new businesses in the grand Valley.” What are the names of those businesses? If it has actually happened, there is no need to hide the names.

GJEP and its predecessors have been around for about 30 years (shortly after Exxon pulled out in 1982). The current budget is $450,000. If we assume an average annual budget of $250,000 for 30 years, economic development has spent $7.5 million attracting companies. Who besides Reynolds Polymer is still around?

Trying to attract the parents of one Colorado Mesa University student at a time through flyers is a poor use of time, effort and money. GJEP is like every other government-funded program in that, regardless of lack of success, it refuses to fold its tent and go away. The lack of success is the story the City Council needs to address when asked to pony up almost 10 percent of GJEP’s annual budget.



Religious fanatics have no right to prevent abortions

An article printed Feb. 3 stated that abortions were on the decrease. I think the article’s writer meant that legal abortions were on the decrease. The writer did not comment that illegal abortions have probably increased significantly, as they did in the past, when all abortions (for a great many years) were illegal. Nor did the article’s writer explain reasons.

Many states have recently passed laws to make abortion illegal at far earlier stages of pregnancy and was used by the Supreme Court in Roe versus Wade.

My term (for those usually called the religious right) is the “religious wrong,” because I never considered them to be right, by definition.

This earlier time for viability of the fetus is before most women realize they are pregnant, so, in effect, they cannot abort.

The religious fanatics who oppose abortions have actually murdered several compassionate doctors who perform abortions. They are inciting murder of abortion doctors and clinic workers and usually try to terrorize women entering abortion clinics.

By piling on extra rules and stringent regulations on abortion clinics, they have driven many clinics out of existence. These laws serve no purpose other than to force clinics to make pointless changes in their space and conditions, which most cannot afford to meet.

When a state closes most clinics, it forces most women to spend large amounts of money to travel across the state or to another state, and then they are met by state requiredments to wait several days and see movies to claim all kinds of evil results before an abortion can take place.

Many states have created fake abortion clinics which do no abortions but lie to pregnant women about dire results of abortion. The states lure women who hope for help to listen to false information.

I believe that religious people should practice their religion at home or in church, and they should not force their beliefs on nonbelievers or interfere in their lives. They should have no say in private behavior and no right to make rules or laws to override individual rights. In the words of the poet, “I thank God I don’t believe.” The religious people are simply trying to impose religion on the population of United States.

To my thinking, religion is a gigantic hoax perpetrated for millennium by those who benefit from it or profit from it, such as the television proselytizers, ministers, priest, mullahs, rabbis, etc.

Those who claim God speaks to them belong in mental hospitals.

I do not accept any human’s right to dictate to anyone about how to use her body or her life. No woman’s life is her own if she is compelled to bear an unwanted child.

Those who would pressure her to do so are trying to impose involuntary servitude, a form of slavery. They presume they can force her to produce a child so people who cannot have their own babies can take her child. There are a few women who are willing to carry a baby to term and give it to a childless couple.

They in turn are willing to compel her – they think they have the right to use her – without pay or consent. But no girl or woman should be coerced in this matter.

Grand Junction



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If Phillip Supino is an example of the “educated” Health Care purchaser presented to us by the Affordable Care Act, then we are in for a world of trouble.

Hey Phillip, you signed up for MEDICAID not Medicare, Medicaid is for low income people, Medicare is for those age 65+ and those who are 100% disabled.

People signing up for Medicaid will not bring anybody’s premiums down, because it is fully funded by the Government, and is not the Private Plans Offered by the ACA. By urging people to sign up for Medicaid you bring no ones premiums down, in fact you will cost everyone in increased taxes as the State has to pick up the tab for your Health Care.

Mr. Supino would be well served to actually learn the truth before trying to be an advocate for a plan that is going to cost everyone in the long term. The ACA is a failure pure and simple, and for every Phillip Supino there are hundreds who have seen their premiums costs explode, their old plans disappear, and their health care become more tenuous not solidified.

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