Printed Letters: March 12, 2017

Profit motive of health coverage cheapens life
Are you expendable? Is your life meaningless? Your members of Congress seem to think so if you can’t afford medical insurance. It’s no problem in the extreme case to let you die. Can’t pay your medical bills? No problem, go without insurance and whatever happens to you, well, you should have been able to pay for either the bills or the insurance when due.

The ACA was far from perfect primarily because in a big part of it, the priority was ensuring that those in the insurance business made money, not ensuring proper care for actual people. For those who came up short in ensuring that insurance companies made money, Medicaid was used as a supplement. In some states elected officials decided that they wouldn’t go along with participating in the Medicaid portion of the program. They decided that, indeed, some portion of their population was expendable and not worthy of support. They apparently didn’t deserve it and if, as a consequence, they suffered or died, too bad, they should have been smarter or worked harder, or both.

Your life is only as good as making sure that somebody else profits from it.

The proposal for a “better” replacement for the ACA was touted as better coverage, cheaper, all the protective coverages of the ACA and simpler. What was produced was inferior in all areas. It was designed to ensure continued profitability to investors and eventually less cost to the government. It is a conservative document and, as such, was meant to consider some portion of the public as expendable. Your status as a human being living in the U.S. is based on how much money you have and have saved.

I have had car insurance since I received my driver’s license 64 years ago. It was always mandatory. I have paid in far more than I have cost the company, which was very little. It is based on spreading the risk. You couldn’t opt out.

The same thing could be accomplished with health insurance, but it is easier to just separate out people as expendable because insurance companies, and their health,  are far more important than people’s health. Our priorities in the U.S. are strange.

JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction


D51’s claim of ‘crumbling schools’ seem dubious
Taxpayers of Mesa County have been hearing for years about the discrepancies in per-student funding between our District 51, and other Districts within Colorado.

Recently, I read yet again about the funding needed for our “crumbling schools,” to the tune of $200 million. 

Eric Nilsen, the director of maintenance of District 51 schools says it would cost “more to repair the GJHS than to replace it.”

I have questions. Does the district have a maintenance budget? They must have, because they have a “maintenance director.”

If they have a maintenance director, there must be people there who are called “maintenance people.” Do they get paid on a regular basis? For what?  For that matter, what does Nilsen get paid for, if it isn’t to “direct” maintenance?

I expect someone will say that the maintenance budget went for “other things.” If that answer comes, the next question will be: “If that’s the case – who is responsible for misappropriating the maintenance budget?”

I accessed my iPhone a couple days ago to check weather for this area —  The Weather Company LLC.  The first thing I noticed, sandwiched in between the videos following weather, was an ad for District 51. Seriously?  District 51 claims it’s short of funding, can’t do maintenance, yet can advertise on the Weather Channel? Just can’t make this stuff up, folks.

DAVID F. ZULIAN
Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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Dear David,

Rather than throwing darts at District 51 you could visit some of the buildings in the valley with Eric to see exactly what the infrastructure looks like as some buildings are well over 50 years old and budgets are continually cut!  The new facility at OM has been talked about for 15 years but leadership has chosen to put off asking for money to rebuild which was stupid because every year that passes the cost goes up!

It costs money to maintain buildings where 900-1600 people are in and out constantly!  Just because the bricks look pretty that doesn’t mean the electrical, plumbing, and general maintenance doesn’t need updating or repair!

I challenge you to take the tour!

Dear Robert,

I agree, however when funding for schools is continually cut by millions and bond issues are voted down then there becomes a point of no return.  Would you like your kids or grandkids in unsafe structures?  If you think contractors are building subpar structures then serve on some building committees as I did for some construction projects!  The maintainance budget is sorely underfunded for the 21,000 plus students in this District and plus 60 schools and facilities!  The administration complex is an embarrassment for this community to say the least!  Orchard Mesa Middle School needed to be replaced 15 years ago!  I must also disagree on some of the newer facilities as the new R-5 building, the replacement for Lincoln Park elementary, and the 8/9 building in Fruita are first class buildings but they must have maintenance for such high use!

Borgen, I’ve never talked to Appleton Clinic, but I will call the and ask if there is a high-deductible catastrophic insurance policy available now.  Before ACA I know there were such policies and they were not that expensive.  Now I think such policies are only available to people under 30. 
I know people who have both Medicare and Medicaid who use Appleton.  A person with Medicare who either cannot find a doctor or who does not like the doctor they wind up with might be better off dropping their Part B HMO, Advantage, or Add-on policy and just using Appleton.  ER visits and outpatient MRI and CAT scans would not be covered, but their hospitalization would be covered 80-20 by Part A I think.  The only person I know who is covered by Medicare and uses Appleton continued whatever her previous Medicare coverage was and just added Appleton for access to outpatient care.
I also know a young man who certainly would qualify for Medicaid by his income, but uses Appleton.  I’ve never asked him about catastrophic coverage, but he has no assets so if something goes horribly wrong he’ll get hospital care and Medicaid will pick it up. 
https://www.appletonclinics.com/whats-included/
I am not, “selling” Appleton Clinics.  There are Direct pay clinics all over the country.  In fact apparently they now care for 3% of the population.  That’s not much, but they were non-existent 8 years ago. 
Tell me one thing.  If Single-payer government run healthcare is the only solution, why are the VA and Indian Healthcare programs such a mess?  If the government could actually “fix” those programs and make them really work I’d be a whole more enthused about them trying to provide healthcare to the whole population.

Meyers, the single payers you mention may be victims of mismanagement and the VA is probably short of funds like most other VA benefits. Why didn’t you mention the experience in other countries that have full blown single-payers? As to Appleton and any other clinic, unless they have an arrangement with a supplier who has the equipment and staff so that a person can move between them seamlessly for different services it is just adding complications to dealing with health care. Appleton , and others, may be great in what they do but the seriously expensive stuff is left to others. A single-payer means that who ever treats you for whatever services has one place to handle bills and payments. And ideally, all suppliers would be on the same information network so every one of them could see all incidents of treatment and medications that a person has had. Today you go to the primary, a dentist, an audiologist an orthopedist and on an on, most of whom know nothing about you nor how you have been medicated or what serious surgery you’ve had. Next time you talk to your primary ask him or her how many different places are part of getting paid. Also ask how much the “system” is costing him. Finally, ask how many suppliers other than him know your medical history. Are all your medical suppliers singing from the same hymnal?
If nothing else maybe this little exercise has educated you to the subject. Was it Trump, and some Republicans as well, who proclaimed that this is far more complicated than they thought. In the meantime the only answer we’re getting is just don’t insure some portion of the population. Does that make any sense at all? By the way, isn’t it possible that a single-payer isn’t a government department at all but a stand-alone huge non-profit insurance company with a maximum risk pool? Cradle to the grave coverage. All things being equal, you pay in when young “too much”’ to be able to cost the company “too much” when you get older?

Borgen, I don’t know what you think I’ve learned from writing this as the only thing I checked was all the things covered by Part A Medicare and I read about Appleton clinic’s coverage for the first time.  I know a lot about healthcare and have helped many people try to figure out a way to get at least some care that they can afford since the Un-ACA was enacted.
What makes you so sure that whoever handles “YOUR” Single Payer plan won’t mis-manage it just like is happening now with the single payer plans?
I have read quite a bit about Single-Payer plans in other countries.  In England the whole system is on the verge of collapse.  Patients wait months and months and months for care.  Do a little reading on it yourself.  Their Dental care must not be working out so well either.  Look @ random pictures of Brits——lots are missing even front teeth.
Canada’s healthcare is so wonderful people who can afford it regularly come across the border to the US for care.  Read about that too.  Check out the wait time for non-emergency care there.
I have yet to see Trump or any Republican say they want to exclude some part of the population.  Let’s see a link to support that claim that you keep making.

Mr. Phillips and Mr. Laitres:  You have obviously missed some of what was in my original LTE, because neither of you mentioned cars.  I can tell you that a good part of my letter was left out - particularly Nilson’s remarks that “repairs had not been considered, and the school is 60 years old with 60-year-old systems”.  The original article - the cause for my LTE.  What was in my letter was:  “No kidding? I know people who drive cars that are more than 60 years old.  The secret is in keeping up with all the maintenance and repairs, as needed”.  Yes - I know there are many people who enter and exit schools daily.  I also know schools don’t generally move around on rough roads, or have as many moving parts as cars.  My point was - why have a “Director of Maintenance” or a maintenance budget, if maintenance work isn’t being done?  A little bit each and every week would make a large difference in the overall fitness for use - even at 60 years old.  Did you both know GJHS was built on the site of an original dump?  I was told that just yesterday.  I might also point the two of you to some of the homes in our own “historic District” that have people running in and out, are more than 60 years old, and still standing and looking good.  I went to school myself - back when there weren’t two or three levels of “administrative personnel”, teacher’s assistant’s, and such.  One Principal for a school, without a vice-principal or assistant principal.  Could all these extra levels of administrators be taking up the maintenance budget?

Meyers, what are the publications that your info came from? Wanna bet that they are conservative publications with an ax to grind? I’ve heard those stories before and I’ve also heard them debunked by impartial sources. You seem to be saying that there is something inherently evil in single payers that makes all sorts of problems inescapable. As with the other things you have mentioned, all suffer because people manage them, sometimes poorly. And guess what? All that I’m aware of are considered birthrights, but problematic. They think they are a necessity of life. They, like here, don’t want to pay for what they are getting. Imagine that! Humans being humans.
Your mention of Trump and Republicans never saying that they want to leave some behind is incredible. What did they intend and mean when they introduced a bill that did just that? What have they said in the past pre-Trump? Is this part of the “access” and opposed to “provided” scam? You may have access, which we all do right now, but you may not be able to afford it. This is just one of thee blatant dishonest techniques being suggested by Ryan and others. Do you endorse this crap? Your mention of the usual suspects never saying that some would not be covered would lead one to believe you do.

Mr. Meyers:  Now that you have answered one of Mr. Borgen’s hate-filled diatribes against Conservatives and/or Republicans, it will be very hard for you to stop.  I don’t know Mr. Borgen, but I and many other writers on this board can attest that he is about as long-winded as anyone you will ever converse with.  One would think he may have been born or raised in Wyoming, he’s so windy.  In any case, trying to explain/instruct/converse with him is pretty much non-productive.  Closed mind - open mouth.  Nobody knows anything except John Borgen, and if you don’t believe it - just ask him.  He’ll be glad to tell you how everything you have believed your whole life is wrong, while at the same time, ‘enlightening’ you as to what’s what in the world.  If you’re lucky, he may invite you to the Bagel shop downtown, to have a conversation with him and his friends.  If you’re smart enough not to dump yourself into what would be waiting for you - you’ll be a coward, at the very least.  Best to let him rant and rave all by his lonesome.  Without someone to direct his liberal rants at, he’ll go away - eventually, but unfortunately, he’ll be back.

Zulian, you of all people have comments about long winded? And now we have Meyers, too? You, like most conservatives on this site consider disagreeing with them as attacks. Let anybodyy go through past comment pages and it is easy to see. Poor babies! Finally, the world is not simple and trying to make it such won’t work. I comment on untrue comments made that indicate whatever the problem it is simple to correct. A public display of this phenomenon was recent comments by Trump and others, Republicans,  was “Who would ever have known that the healthcare issue was so complicated?” Thanks for paying attention. It’s nice to be appreciated

Mr. Borgen:  Do you have a ruler?  If you do, measure the inches I have taken up on these comments pages in the last week - then measure yours.  If you’d rather - measure the last month - I’ll wait…

Mr. Zulian, You are right.  I have indeed wasted my time trying to get through to Borgen.  It’s not gonna’ happen. 
I didn’t read your letter as posted today until just now when I ran both of your letters through the word counter.  Your letter as originally written that you emailed to me 3/9 contained 361 words.  As printed today it has 223 words. 
Borgen’s letter as printed today is 366 words. 
The “Senile” cut so much from your letter that they destroyed important parts of your point in writing the thing to begin with.
The last 2 paragraphs of Borgen’s letter contained 85 words.  They could have been cut without altering the gist of the letter.  The only good thing about those paragraphs being included is equating mandatory car insurance (liability that pays if YOU damage someone else) with medical insurance (nobody else is hurt if you decide not carry it) shows how little Borgen understands the Medical Insurance vs Healthcare debate.  Obviously I have gotten nothing through to him as you so aptly pointed out, Mr. Zulian.

If anyone would like to see Mr. Zulian’s original well-written letter I will be happy to post it in its entirety.  It really makes one wonder what they will do to any letter they print.

Meyers, yes, of course you have gotten through to me. You have convinced me, again, what needy people you are. You crave recognition and if anybody pays any attention to you it is either welcomed as if the attention giver was an old friend and if it is not agreeing with you it is an attack. Ideology and rationality is not considered. You crave attention and then you love to talk with others about how awesome you were in your conflict with the enemy. It doesn’t matter at all if you were proven ignorant or not. You got the attention and that is all that matters. Keep showing up, which I realize is something you have to do. Enjoy!

I have a news flash for you, Borgen:  If I needed attention I certainly would not seek it from the likes of you. 
You are the one all worried about attacks and attention, so why don’t you tell my why if I disagree with you and comment on it I’m seeking attention?  If you comment back what are you seeking?
You are the one all worried about conflict and enemies. 
I have explained my positions without name calling or attacking you personally, yet you think you have proven me ignorant?
Time for you to take a good look in the mirror.

Mr. Laitres:  Yes - I could take it up with the Senile, and that could be an additional exercise in futility.  They always have some sort of an excuse, and if not - can manufacture one on short notice, if you overcome the first one.  If you overcome the second one, you get no further answers at all.  It is Seaton’s paper, and he dislikes anyone calling it as it is.  About 35% of my letter was cut.  The Senile has rules for the writers of LTE’s - but those rules don’t apply to certain writers.  The Senile and I have had that conversation before, as well.

Mr. Zulian,  I wrote a letter about healthcare today, but it was slightly over 300 words so I decided to send it elsewhere.  Why bother with the Senile…..they wouldn’t print it anyway.

Mr. Meyers:  That’s because you aren’t named Hugenberg, or Borgen…

Thank God!

Robert L., I have read many of your comments and want to say I appreciate your love for humanity. We need more people who care for all human beings. We live in a world that has some Very big problems facing us. We all need to be compassionate as very few of us live in that one percent bracket who make the rules. The city council and the sentinel think they belong to that club but if the little guy’s don’t make it, they won’t either. Our govt corruption, climate change, endless war’s and the economy are forming the perfect storm. We all feel it. Peace and love!

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