Printed letters, June 9, 2010

County overestimates potential clinic savings

Mesa County has taken a step backward in terms of health care reform by making a decision to open a primary care medical clinic for Mesa County employees and families.

Commissioners Janet Rowland and Craig Meis were persuaded to take this step to try to reduce health care costs for Mesa County employees. However, their decision was based upon inaccurate data and a number of assumptions. They project a cost savings of $335,000 in the first year by paying less for primary care services. However, I am unaware of any payment model that has shown that by paying less for primary care services, overall health care spending decreases.

On the other hand, multiple studies have shown that strong primary care services delivered in a patient-centered medical home model are one of the few ways that health systems have been able to “bend the cost curve,” which is one of the primary goals of an efficient future health care system.

By opening and running this clinic, the commissioners will ensure that Mesa County employees will now have increased fragmentation of their health care, disruption of their long-standing relationships with their primary care doctors and likely an escalation of overall health care costs for the county.

The commissioners have indicated they will re-evaluate the medical clinic program on an annual basis, but have given no indication on what criteria they will judge this employee clinic model to be a success. If they define success as simply employees using the clinic for their health care, this is very shortsighted. If they can actually demonstrate an overall reduction in the rate of increase of health care costs for their employees, this could be a more significant measure. However, accurately predicting the rate of increase of health care costs, year over year, has been traditionally very difficult.

Kudos to Commissioner Steve Aquafresca for voting against the proposal.

GREGORY C. REICKS, D.O.

Foresight Family Physicians

Grand Junction

County implementing truly socialistic medicine

Here we go, now, since the failure to adopt the proper real health care reform for our nation: We could have had a single-payer system, i.e. Medicare for all. This would have enabled medical providers (physicians, hospitals, HMOs etc.) to maintain their own free enterprises and be paid for the Medicare services they provided. They would also have been free to name their own prices and offer additional non-Medicare services to compete for patients.

Employers would have gotten out of the business of actually providing health care and/or continual insurance shopping and administrative matters, also. Employers would have focused on their enterprise functions instead, and just done payroll deductions for employees’ Medicare premiums.

Our nation’s health care costs would have been reduced almost 30 percent and the Medicare system would have become solvent with the influx of younger, healthier working persons.

Now, Mesa County is implementing truly socialistic medicine by a governmental entity, actually owning and operating facilities in competition with the private sector and in cherry-picked and inefficient manners. I hope taxpayers other than the tea partiers come out in force to squash this action.

JOEL PRUDHOMME Grand Junction

Paper should encourage involvement with schools

Judging by the reaction of The Daily Sentinel editorial staff, and two of the paper’s columnists, it appears Rose Pugliese has touched a raw nerve with her petition for a balanced approach to teaching global warming in District 51 schools.

Personally, I am happy to see parents and concerned citizens taking an active role in discussing the curriculum in our schools, especially with a subject as volatile as global warming, where most of the “science” was suspect to begin with, and now is even more so in light of the recent climategate scandal.

Even though their arguments were out of the same old, tired liberal playbook of demonizing the enemy, I am not surprised that opinion columnists would try a verbal beat down and denigrate Ms. Pugliese. That’s what they do.

But I am surprised at the Sentinel’s stance. I would think the paper would welcome and encourage more involvement in our public schools, as a way to strengthen the community. And, after all, we do pay the bills.

DAVID FOSTER

Grand Junction

History repeats itself in latest anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is alive and growing. The perpetrators of violence are held up as victims and the defenders are the bad guys for having the audacity to prevent military arms and supplies from entering the Gaza Strip.

It was a well-rehearsed script and it played out as expected. Also, it confirms the old statement “to be an enemy of the United States can be dangerous, but to be a friend may be fatal.”

JOHN SPENDRUP

Grand Junction



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