Email letters, November 12,  2013

Tipton may need to develop thicker skin

Rep. Scott Tipton needs to keep in mind that he represents ALL of the people in Congressional District 3, not just those who may have voted for him. Methinks he needs to develop a little thicker skin, ‘cause those of differing opinions and who disagree with his stances have a voice, too, and need to be heard.

HOLLY VON HELMS
Montrose

Chris Christie’s detractors are oblivious to political reality

I am amazed that many in the GOP and tea party are already coming out against Chris Christie because he is too “moderate.”  When did “moderate” become a disqualifying feature?

How many elections do they want to lose before they back off their extreme litmus test, one that almost no one can meet, and be elected? Anyone, and I mean anyone, would have been better than our current president, be that person ultra-conservative or moderate.

It is time for conservatives to wake up. Or maybe they want Hillarycare added to the fiasco we have now.

L.W. HUNLEY
Grand Junction

If Obamacare won’t fix rising health care costs, what will?

In the continued turmoil over the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, some conservatives say that the ever-increasing revelations about unintended consequences and ill effects of the act show that its hidden intent was to force the USA into a socialistic system of health care, and that it must be canceled before it ruins our economy.

I have news for them: Even though it turns out that many of the bad consequences not only were foreseen, but were intended, such revelations are not going to result in cancellation of the act any time soon.

At one time, socialized medicine would have been OK with me, but now that the incompetence of our government to create and administer a suitable plan has been demonstrated, I’m not so sure.

Of this I am certain, something has to be done about the ever-rising cost of health care, and if Obamacare is not it, what is? It’s not reasonable that health care should account for one-sixth of the nation’s economy, especially when we pay more for health care than any other developed nation, and still rank low in terms of quality, effectiveness and availability.

JOHN TRAMMELL
Grand Junction

GOP has indeed put forth many health care reforms

In Dr. Pramenko’s recent column on health care reform, he implied that Republicans do not care about others. Nothing could be further from the truth. We do care about those uninsured folks, whether or not they have life-threatening medical problems. But we also care about all of those people who currently have insurance.

This is the reason for the grievance we have with Obamacare or any form of government run medical care. It is not necessary to destroy reasonable health insurance markets for millions in order to assist those in need, no matter how great their number.

Free markets work far better, for all goods and services, than centralized planning. During World War II the federal government made an exemption to wage control by allowing employers to purchase tax-free health insurance for their employees in lieu of raising wages. This was a mistake.

No longer did people buy health insurance to protect themselves against catastrophic illnesses, but they grew to expect their employer’s insurance company to pay for minor medical expenses. Gone were the days when covered employees had an incentive to discuss treatment plans and costs with medical providers. The result has been ever more paperwork, increasing costs and a barrier between doctor and patient. Obamacare makes matters much worse by forcing covered employees out of coverage and into insurance they neither want nor can afford.

The GOP has called for many reforms, including changing tax law, tort law, federal law to allow freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, and ways of addressing pre-existing conditions. It is dishonest to say that these are not “real” reforms. The government does not have the confidence of the people to make Obamacare work.

BRUCE TAYLOR

Grand Junction

Government owns blame for health-care cancellations

I am one of the many people who could not keep their health insurance if I liked it as President Barack Obama promised. The situation in which we find ourselves was predictable. The Obamacare regulations require a one-size-fits-all plan.

So, if you are a 51-year-old male and really don’t need birth control coverage, too bad. Your policy is not adequate and must be canceled.

Stop blaming the insurance companies. The blame lies with central planning, i.e., Obama, his administrators and the Democrat legislators who voted for the “bill that must be passed before we can find out what’s in it.”

Losing my insurance is more than an inconvenience since I just finished chemotherapy in mid-August. My relationship with my insurance company and my physicians is disrupted because Obama and the Democrat legislators in their infinite wisdom decided to take over the health care industry, formerly the best in the world. Thanks Obama, Democrats and RINOs.

JOHN PENNINGTON
Grand Junction

Cancer patient, family feel pain of losing insurance policy

Our president is working hard to change his oft-repeated phrases, “If you like your health care, you can keep it” and “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”  He can talk all he wants, but this will never make it true. When we are told that in Colorado alone more than 250,000 folks have received cancellation notices from their current health care insurance providers, this is becoming a serious situation and a lie that has been told too many times — by the president of the United States — to be ignored.

It is one thing to hear of these numbers, but when one of these numbers is a close family member, one really starts to feel the pain. Our son underwent cancer surgery, radiation, the whole nine yards a few years ago. As a result, his family and he went into a state high-risk insurance pool. Last week he received a cancellation notice from the state insurance company with the advice that he will be able to “purchase a health insurance policy through a new, online exchange marketplace at http://www.HealthCare.gov.”  The letter assures him that he can “no longer be denied because of a pre-existing health condition.”

After a few tries, he was able to navigate the HealthCare.gov website. After he went through the entire process, the website informed him that he was DENIED. There is no reason given. It only states that “based on your application, you don’t qualify to purchase health coverage through the Marketplace.”  It goes on to tell him he doesn’t qualify for Medicaid and other cost-sharing plans — none of which he requested or wanted.

So, “You can keep your insurance” – a lie!  “It’s easy to get a new, lower cost policy” – another lie!  At this point their family will lose its health coverage Dec. 31. Hopefully they will be able to find another insurer – at who knows what cost.

This is only one tiny example of what is happening throughout this nation. Is there no shame from a president who lies and then states that when we get used to this we’ll like it?
If anyone you know has had a similar experience and has lost his or her coverage, it is important that you notify Congressman Tipton and Sens. Bennet and Udall immediately.  Plan ahead to 2014 when we will have the opportunity to unseat Sen. Udall, and many others who voted for this onerous “Obamacare” bill.

RUTH EHLERS    
Grand Junction

Lost in translation: United States abandons Afghan interpreters

I’d like to make others aware of an injustice being perpetrated by our government concerning the Afghanistan War. Just like we did in Vietnam and Iraq, the State Department is now refusing to honor our promise to let Afghans who served as interpreters to immigrate to the U.S. The State Department claims there is no credible threat to them at home.

So, once again we will “declare victory” and leave behind those who’ve risked their lives for us. When we leave, the Taliban will cut the throats of anyone who collaborated with us in any capacity, and it’s beyond disingenuous to claim otherwise. Please write your representatives in Congress and let them know that’s not the way Americans treat those who’ve risked everything to keep our troops safe.

JERRY HALPIN
Grand Junction

Council contribution to chamber better spent on transit system

The City Council needs to pull the $6,000 it pays annually to the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and instead put it toward Grand Valley Transit to help fund the bus line.

Have our council members lost their ability to reason? The GVT helps people get to and from work, hold jobs and get to medical appointments. Overall, it helps our economy.

RACHEL BUDMAN
Grand Junction

Both Grand Valley, country are shifting to the left

I wonder just how long Thomas Phillips has lived in Colorado. His comments about this valley shifting to the left are right on. The entire country is going that way.

We are just getting there a little more slowly. I am sure he will be thrilled when we are 100 percent supported by big daddy. He can look forward to it and love it; I don’t.

R.M. SHERMAN
Grand Junction

Since chamber considers $6K minuscule, spend it on GVT

The Daily Sentinel reported that the city will cut $20,000 from the amount it usually contributes to the Grand Valley Transit bus system. Councilman Marty Chazen said the cut is necessary to save the city money, but there is a way to solve a significant part of this funding problem.

The city gives the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce $6,000 every year for a high-level membership. But in May of this year, chamber president Diane Schwenke told a Mesa County Republican Women’s luncheon that the city’s $6,000 annual donation is really an insignificant part of its budget. (A video of Schwenke minimizing the value of the city’s donation to the chamber can be seen on YouTube.)

The city’s membership in the chamber is a conflict anyway, because the chamber lobbies council, because so many council members have had close ties to the chamber, and because the chamber works to influence city elections.

Schwenke also said at the luncheon in May that the chamber doesn’t take government funds, and so the city’s donation is inappropriate on that level, too. So, there really is absolutely no reason why the city should continue to pour taxpayer money into the chamber.

Given this, the city should immediately pull its $6,000 annual membership dues to the chamber and give it to Grand Valley Transit instead, where it will be appreciated and well-used and do some real good.

That should go a long way toward helping keep the bus system operating, and it would show the council’s priority is the many citizens who depend on the local bus system and not on funding the chamber, which doesn’t need or want that money anyway.

ANNE LANDMAN
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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Bruce Taylor’s on-line letter – “GOP has indeed put forth many health care reforms” – suggests that he has been profoundly confused by Republican propaganda.

Yes, the “GOP has indeed put forth many health care reforms”.  Collectively, they are now called the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” of 2010 (“ACA”).

As Dr. Pramenko previously chronicled, virtually every element of the ACA – including the “individual mandate”—originated with Republicans.  The Heritage Foundation, Club 20, and Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission all endorsed the ACA’s “market-driven” approach, which was successfully tested in Massachusetts under Republican Governor Romney.  Only after President Obama reluctantly embraced their ideas did Republicans cynically abandon them.

Moreover, the ACA did not “destroy reasonable health insurance markets for millions in order to assist those in need”.  Indeed, the ACA “grandfathered” all then-existing policies – attempting to fulfill the promise that “if you like your current policy, you can keep it”. 

However, there is now increasing evidence that many health insurers deliberately “baited and switched” insureds out of their “grandfathered” policies into non-compliant policies –  knowing (but not informing purchasers) those policies would have to be cancelled by January 1, 2014

While anti-ObamaCare Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) conceded in September that the GOP has no credible alternative to the ACA (other than reversion to the previous dysfunctional “system” that the ACA was intended to reform), Taylor cites the elements of H.R. 3400, recently touted by Scott (“Tea Party”) Tipton.

That “Republican alternative” remains in committee (and thus has not yet been “scored” by the CBO) because it would cost $100 billion more annually than the ACA, would tax employer-paid premiums as income, undercut state regulation of health insurers, permits discrimination based on “pre-existing conditions”, and recycles already discredited ideas.

Therefore, “it is dishonest to say that these are . . . real reforms”.

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