Printed letters, May 19, 2010

Columnist was off-track in piece about OHV funds

This is a rebuttal to the May 12 column by Bill Grant titled, “Colorado State Parks Board should reform allocation of OHV funds.”

The current OHV grant process is funded by OHV registration fees. The majority of the Department of Transportation funds go to non-motorized recreation. All of the DOT funds come from gas taxes paid by motorized recreationists. There are no state tax dollars involved. The U.S. Forest Service, the Division of Wildlife and other agencies support leaving the grant program in place as it is.

Law enforcement is not the answer to insufficient opportunity or lack of trail upkeep. The reason that people go off the trail is because of lack of trail maintenance, poor trail signing and lack of public information for visitors (no maps or information).

All user groups enjoy the OHV grants but only the motorized group pays the fees. Non-motorized visitors have complete access to all motorized trails. The reverse is not the case. Over 4 million acres of federally owned land in Colorado is reserved for non-motorized recreation.

Mr. Grant supports having a majority of the OHV grant subcommittee be made up of non-motorized members. How does he feel about having a few motorized representatives on the grants subcommittee for non-motorized grants, or is this another double standard?

All forms of recreation on public lands are increasing. The land managers need to respond by increasing the opportunities, not decreasing them through land closures and misuse of OHV grants.

Impacts from OHV recreation are so minor and so localized that the NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) does not recognize any trail as a significant commitment of resources.

In summary and in short, the issue of reforming the allocation of OHV grants appears to be another land grab by special-interest groups.



Health care for seniors in danger from Medicare cuts

More than 700,000 Colorado residents rely on Medicare and TRICARE for their health coverage, but their access to and choice of physicians is now in serious jeopardy because of an impending steep cut to the physicians who care for them.

Unless Congress acts soon, on June 1, Colorado physicians will be hit with a 21 percent payment cut for the care of seniors, forcing many to make difficult decisions about treating Medicare patients. In fact, a recent informal AMA poll found that 68 percent of physicians nationwide say they will be forced to limit their care for Medicare patients in the wake of this year’s cut. Care for military families is also at risk, as their government health insurance program, TRICARE, ties its payment rates to Medicare.

About 42 percent of practicing physicians are over 50, an age at which many physicians consider reducing their patient-care activities. Couple this fact with the looming 21 percent cut, and access and choice of physician looks grim for Colorado’s seniors, disabled residents and military families.

Already, about one in four seniors nationwide looking for a new primary care physician has trouble finding one, and this stat doesn’t even take into account the fast approaching wave of baby boomers, who begin aging into Medicare next year.

Only the U.S. Congress can stop this imminent Medicare meltdown by repealing the broken Medicare payment formula that creates this cut. Call your congressional representatives and urge them to act to preserve the security and stability of health care for Colorado’s seniors and military families.



American Medical Association Chicago

Putting records online is prescription for problems

I was wondering about the Colorado Beacon Consortium and the online collection of medical data. This has got to push doctor-patient confidentiality to its limits.

Always be wary of the “We got to get this done by yesterday attitude,” and “There’s millions to be made,” and government.

Government can’t sort its own house, yet we expect it to keep hold of our records. Looks as if government is using the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to go beyond doctor-patient confidentiality.

There is no arguing. Anything you put online will be compromised. There is no way to keep records online out of the wrong hands. Now it takes a court order to view medical records for anyone. Why do these guys now say it’s OK because money is involved?




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