Email letters, November 6,  2013

Obamacare application invades what little privacy we have left

Only a fool would give out the information asked for in the Obamacare application. What a way to expose yourself to the rest of the world.

People need to understand that the government already has enough information on every one in the country by just going to IRS records, Social Security files and old census files.

Please, people, think before you answer any and all questions asked by a dysfunctional computer program. They already have answers to more things about you than they need to know. Once it gets hacked — and it will — who else will know all these things about you that are supposed to be private information?

Please be careful.

DAVID SHRUM
Grand Junction

Colorado River supports sizable slice of state’s economy

Recently, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell gave her first major speech on conservation. She spoke out about the Colorado River, affirming that we must make sure that every drop counts, that we use water more sustainably and that there is more that can be done to use water more efficiently. These comments come as the Colorado River faces a grim future.

Jewell’s own agency along with the seven Colorado River Basin States recently completed a study that predicts that demand for the river’s water will soon outweigh supply. The same study also demonstrated that water conservation and re-use alone can yield at least 3 million acre feet of water in the basin and is the most cost-effective and easily implementable way to bring water supply and demand on the Colorado River back into balance.

In Colorado the river supports nearly 80 jobs and pumps $6.4 billion into the state’s economy each year from people spending money on river-related recreation and tourism. These comments are a wake-up call for stakeholders to continue to work toward the conservation and efficiency measures that will ensure that all of the river’s users have the water we need to sustain the economies of the West.

ZEKE HERSH
Owner, Blue River Anglers and Tunes on the Fly
Frisco

Who killed Main Street, USA?

Oh, the accusations are flying every which way. It’s because of the drought. It’s because of the rain. It’s because of the town administrators. It’s because of the construction. It’s because of lack of trees. It’s because of too many trees. Not enough parking. Not enough population. Not enough money. Not enough of anything, and too much of everything else.

For whatever reasons you believe to be the cause of the demise of Main Street, USA, I, too, am to blame. How often have I decided to shop from the convenience of my home computer because I was too lazy, too busy, too cheap, too picky or just having a bad hair day?  Though I do my best to keep my money local whenever possible, I admit I am guilty of the death of Main Street, USA.

Business owners, ask yourselves: Am I always here when I say I will be?  Are my prices competitive?  Is my product fresh and well presented?  Are my employees knowledgeable?  Are we polite?  Is there service after the sale?  Do I treat everyone with respect?  Do I provide quality?  Do I listen to what my customers want?

Town administrators, are there incentives for new businesses wanting to locate here?  Are business owners treated with respect and consideration when new projects are discussed?  Are the needs of all sectors of the population being met? 

Remember, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. My solutions?  Shop locally whenever possible. Buy from local artists, farmers, craftspeople, etc. If you have the money, don’t be embarrassed to spend it. Eat out. Tip well. Buy gifts. Remodel your bathroom. Support the food charities with quality items.

BEA GOODMAN
Cedaredge

While museum faces challenges, it’s still a ‘Museum of Wow’

Thanks to Amy Hamilton for her article regarding the Museum of Western Colorado (“Museum of Woes,” Nov. 3). As Hamilton indicated, the museum does face a significant number of challenges, but we have numerous opportunities, as well. As such, I would like to offer an alternative headline, “Museum of wows.”

The Museum of Western Colorado’s mission is to inspire people to experience and value our region through the collections and preservation of historical and fossil resources. We engage our audience through exhibitions, educational programming, research and publications.

To fulfill our mission, the museum has three main facilities: Cross Orchards, Dinosaur Journey and Museum of the West. However, we also have the Lloyd Files Research Library, Whitman Educational Center and Riggs Hill, and we co-manage Dinosaur Hill.

Combined, nearly 60,000 people annually visit at least one of our museums, including almost 7,000 students. We care for more than 28,000 historic photographs, 3,000 oral interviews, 24,000 historical and anthropological artifacts, more than 10,000 paleontological specimens, 150 cubic feet of manuscripts and a research library with 3,000 books and periodicals.

So, what is the value of all this? The museum contributes to the community in many ways, but I would like to highlight four in particular:

• The museum improves our quality of life.
• The museum is an educational asset.
• The museum contributes to the economy via tourism (more than 50 percent of summer visitors are from outside Mesa County).
• The museum helps the community preserve and share its heritage.

Truly, we believe the Museum of Western Colorado is an incredible benefit to our community and should be called the “Museum of Wow.”

PETER BOOTH
Executive Director, Museum of Western Colorado
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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“Only a fool would” take David Shrum’s on-line letter – Obamacare application invades what little privacy we have left” – seriously.

The application for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) is far less intrusive than the typical application for life and/or health insurance – which ask detailed questions about medical history that the ACA application does not.

Before “ObamaCare”, as an applicant for health insurance, you had to “expose yourself to the rest of the world” in order to even qualify for coverage.  Even if initially approved, any insured who filed a claim could be summarily denied and/or cancelled by the insurer – which would first gather the claimants medical records and employed a staff of doctors to identify “pre-existing conditions” in the insured’s medical history that would entitle them to deny the claim.  That odious practice has been made illegal by the ACA.

The information currently maintained by the government is all dated (from the past), but the ACA’s application process needs requires current information from the applicant in order to present available insurance options and calculate potential premium credits.

The ACA was originally designed to first trust the information provided by applicants, but then verify it later by comparing tax returns claiming credits against other records.  Section 1001 of H.R. 2775 – the bill that ended the government shutdown and avoided default – now requires that eligibility for credits and cost-sharing premium reductions be verified “up front” – thereby further complicating the process (because Republicans do not trust Americans applying for health insurance).

Thus, while computer security is a serious concern, there is less information collected under the ACA than by health insurers previously, whose computer systems may be just as susceptible to hacking as the federal government’s.

Thus, “only a fool” would deny him/herself and/or his/her family needed health insurance coverage because of speculative privacy concerns based on laughably false propaganda.

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