Printed letters, Feb. 23, 2011

Republicans don’t worry about rights of most folks

The message from Republicans declares that responsible people have no constitutional rights regarding health care.

Last November, Phillip Amonette reportedly shot a deputy in Rifle. Deputies shot back. Amonette survived after intensive care and about a month in St. Mary’s Hospital. Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario complained about the health care expenses provided by taxpayers after Amonette returned to jail, but said the St. Mary’s bill was Amonette’s responsibility.

Yes, but, to speculate about a man living in a garage — especially one who’s possibly going to prison — it’s easily imaginable the responsibility will shift to people who have health insurance.

One could also speculate a month in the hospital would cost around $100,000. Add to that collection agencies, judgments, lawyers, garnishments and still no payoff, the losses will become higher doctor and hospital charges and the insured’s premiums will go up.

I wouldn’t deny anyone needed health care. I doubt Amonette ever once thought he’d be in such a situation. And he may have either money or insurance to pay for it. I simply don’t get why Republicans contend “irresponsible people” are more deserving of their constitutional right to refuse to purchase insurance while I must be constitutionally forced to be charitable and pay their bills for them.

It’s a simple fact that everyone in this country receives health care, regardless of ability to pay, but only some of us pay for it. Is that constitutional?

Republicans don’t mind that doctors and hospitals lose money, that patients need to ask for community help to pay health care bills, and people in general can’t afford the high insurance costs. They do like keeping insurance CEOs well supplied with more money than any doctor or hospital makes. They like taking care of only the rights of people like Amonette.

EILEEN O’TOOLE

Grand Junction

Gessler on right track with business funds

The Daily Sentinel’s recent editorial stated that Secretary of State Scott Gessler is “obstinate” because he refuses to give “surplus funds” to the state’s general fund and his agency should make “financial sacrifices.”

Of course, it’s not really his agency’s money that is being sacrificed. It’s money coerced from the business community that is then redirected to the general fund, saving politicians the messy inconvenience of actually proposing a tax increase.

Instead, businesses are being charged ever-increasing fees, supposedly to cover the cost of regulating them, but in reality to provide an end run around TABOR’s provision that tax increases must be approved by a vote of the people.

My own small business paid $13,661.73 in 2010 to the state department that regulates my industry, at a rate of $125 per hour. That money is then quietly moved to the general fund to provide for the oft-mentioned roads, schools and prisons, the only things on which a politician will ever admit taxes are spent.

This is nothing less than double taxation. I pay taxes as an individual, and my business is taxed again with regulatory fees, which are used for the exact same things my taxes are used for.

You call a tax a fee, you can have the business community pay it instead of the taxpayer, but the business passes the cost along to the consumer. Pious politicians claim they haven’t raised taxes while a bloated government continues to feed at the trough, and the public gets even poorer and more angry. But it’s a nifty way around TABOR, isn’t it?

PATTI CRONK

Grand Junction

Volunteers should be used to staff recreation center

Why is the city of Fruita even considering hiring additional employees for the recreation center? There is a large pool of potential volunteers at the senior center, which happens to share the same building.

This could be handled by the existing staff without further public funding. This could (someday) lead to a center that needs little or no public money to operate and quite possibly expand.

STEVE OCONNOR

Fruita



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