Printed Letters: April 5, 2017
Online tag renewal is simple and efficient
More than 600 people waited in line recently to simply renew their tags and grumped most of that time I am sure. A $5 tag fee, which was intended to encourage people to renew online, was rejected as well.
At one time we were a part of the frustrating wait times because we refused to even consider online services. We changed our tune on that and would hope those who continue to stand in long lines to do such a simple thing, will rethink as well. We realize not everyone has a computer, but probably many of these individuals do and use it for many other things. It takes less than five minutes to go online, renew, and for an additional $2 fee, get it over and done with. If you have multiples you can also do them at the same time. Most of the time we have our tags mailed to us within two to three days.
It’s such an easy and simple thing to do but it is hard to get people to change even if it will make life easier. Hopefully these long lines will eventually send some people to the internet and “get it done” the easy way!
Farming and energy should coexist in western Colorado
Energy exploration and production has not only occurred in the North Fork Valley for a century, but energy production, including natural gas, has always been a critical part of the area’s economy. And as Delta County remains Colorado’s most economically distressed community, it’s interesting that media coverage continues to focus on activist-driven narratives of the few who oppose energy development. What about considering the majority of Delta County residents who understand it doesn’t have to be either or?
Farming and energy have historically occurred in tandem and are necessary for one another. Media’s myopic fixation on the voices of a few ignore the economic needs of Delta County’s remaining 30,000 residents who live in the rational world and who want both farming and energy to coexist — like they have for a century in western Colorado.
Illegal phone use while driving should carry jail sentence
Almost any day, any of us driving the streets here in Grand Junction can see other drivers beside us, while driving or parked for a light, using their phones for talking or texting. Statistics now show that drivers not paying attention to where they are going cause a large percentage of collisions.
Obviously, many people do not take seriously the law that makes using your phone while driving illegal. I believe if it were known that if you get caught driving while texting or using your phone, there was a mandatory minimum jail sentence, and if the judges would enforce such a law, many lives would be saved, and there would be far fewer injuries and wrecks. Even if it were just a mandatory minimum of five days, word would get around, and we would all be safer.
Legislators must act to protect viability of rural hospitals
The Hospital Provider Fee is a source of payment to rural hospitals that increases Medicaid income and helps to overcome the financial burden of providing medical services to Medicaid patients. Without that infusion of funds from the Hospital Provider Fee at the level historically experienced, rural hospitals will have to reduce services they provide. Some rural hospitals will not be able to continue to operate if they do not receive the additional payment from the Hospital Provider Fee that is based on the services provided to Medicaid patients. Metro area hospitals have the benefit of a much larger group of patients and a much larger income from those patients, making the relative percentage of medical services provided by metro area hospitals to Medicaid and Medicare patients much lower than rural hospital and, thus, the reduction or loss of income from the Hospital Provider Fee less of a problem for metro area hospitals.
My information is that TABOR is causing the Legislature to have to reduce the current Long Bill, SB17-254, by around $500 million and that the Hospital Provider Fee is being cut by $264 million, over half the total budget reduction. It is unconscionable to place such a heavy cut on that one fund, a fund that assists rural hospitals in their provision of medical services to Medicaid patients, maintaining a reasonable level of medical services outside the metro area.
The Hospital Provider Fee has been paid into by rural hospitals, which continue to attempt to deliver the best and necessary medical services to their citizens, whether Medicaid patients, Medicare patients, private insurance patients or even non-pay patients, and the fund should continue to support rural hospitals. I hope the Legislature will provide a similar level of protection and representation to their constituents by making sure the Hospital Provider Fee continues to contribute payments to rural hospitals at the same financial level it has historically provided.