Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

A call for humane health care

Dear Editors: 

It is way past time for the U.S. to have a system with the money, morals and heart to work. It could be eased in by a gradual lowering of the Medicare age, with no sudden disruptions. Single payer is the only choice that makes financial and humanitarian sense. At the very least we must have a very strong public option that can withstand the efforts of for-profit insurance companies to weaken and kill it in coming years.

Taxpayers could save between $224 and $400 billion over 10 years by lowering the cost of proposed subsidies for the uninsured, while still offering private coverage for most others. And, it is not necessary to turn a profit. Single payer would make universal, comprehensive coverage affordable by diverting hundreds of billions of dollars each year from bureaucracy to patients. It would greatly reduce expensive emergency room visits by the uninsured or underinsured, which we pay for anyway, and instead bring cheaper preventative care, saving even more money and suffering.

It would allow doctor choice but not deny coverage because of a present, past or future illness. All money would be pooled, providing adequate funding for all of us. We would no longer fund insurance CEOs’ second homes, or their lawyers who are paid to deny treatment, or bonuses for living off the sick, that is, not paying for your illness.

Presently, we have uncaring, greedy, insurance and drug company CEOs and shareholders intent on profits only, denying their fellow citizens not just single payer care, but the choice of any government option.

Meanwhile, stories abound about hardworking individuals, poor and rich, now bankrupt because of health problems. Families become homeless and life a constant stress about money, health and the future. This is bad for them and the economy. Why does the great U.S. of A. condone this?

Politicians, rich from huge insurance and drug company campaign contributions over the years, lie shamelessly

about government insurance being a disaster – as if the present system isn’t one already. My insurance has a very high deductible, exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and high premiums and out-of-pocket. If I become seriously ill, I have little faith that my company will pay.

And finally – to every politician – I have quietly attended meetings and events on health care beginning with the Clinton administration, without screaming at anyone or

being rude. Please, please do not assume that the rudeness and shouting from opponents of reform feel more strongly than I do about this issue. And forget insurance and drug companies, this health issue is about us – U.S. citizens – not someone’s profits!

– Sincerely, Jan Holt, Durango

Stop the swap

Dear Editors,

One aspect of the proposed San Juan National Forest/Glacier Club land exchange that has received little attention is the encroachment into the national forest that the Glacier Club has already committed. Look carefully at the map of the Federal Parcel in the Draft EIS. See that skinny panhandle in the southwest corner? That’s a piece of our national forest on which the Glacier Club has trespassed by constructing one hole of their existing golf course on it. Instead of making them tear it out, or at least charging them rent, the San Juan National Forest is proposing to just give it to them.

Here’s an alternative that should have been evaluated. How about we let them have the panhandle and their golf hole, and in return the public gets the Hermosa Park parcel and keeps the rest of the Chris Park land? Now that would be a fair trade.

The proposed road across federal land that the Glacier Club would build under this plan has been flagged. You can walk it for yourself beginning at MP 41 on Highway 550. Prepare to be horrified.

The deal we are being offered comes perilously close to extortion: “give us our 125 trophy homes and nine more holes of golf and access across your meadow or we will contaminate your trout stream.”

The Hermosa Park parcel is a gem, and I strongly support its transfer from private to public ownership. However the Forest Service and the Glacier Club have presented this exchange as an either/or choice without analyzing the many other potential methods of acquiring inholdings without sacrificing existing national forest land.

Just being for or against this exchange is no longer enough. You must make specific factual comments. You can learn how to do that effectively at the informational meeting hosted by the Colorado Mountain Club on Sept. 23, from 7 - 9 p.m. at the Durango Public Library, or at www.SaveHaviland.org. Please help stop the swap.

– Kitty Benzar, via e-mail


‘Value-added product’

Dear Editors,

How can we bring health-care costs down? Though impossible, wouldn’t it be nice if all the doctors worked for free? All the doctors. Not just your family doctor, but specialists, too. That would have to bring costs down cost quite a bit.

I heard a health insurance exec on the radio the other day talking about how his industry “provides an important value-added product to the health-care market.” Then I ran across this interesting tidbit. According to government figures at: http: //www.cms.hhs.gov/NationalHealthExpendData/downloads/dsm-07.pdf in 2007, the total dollar value of health expenditures kept by insurance companies in the form of administrative expenditures plus profits was $94.6 billion. The total kept by physicians and clinical services combined was $49.6 billion. The health insurance industry knocks down 191 percent of what doctors and other clinical providers combined do! That’s a lot of “value added.”  

I’m sorry, but I just don’t see all that value. Americans will always spend mountains of money on health care. We reasonably place a very high priority on living long, healthy lives. But, we expect the cash we spend to be put to use efficiently; we want decent “bang for the buck.” In light of where our health dollars are going, let’s ask, where is the fat in the system?

Rationed care, bureaucrats between you and your physician and, yes in cases, even so-called “death panels” are all aspects of our current system of paying for health care by way of for-profit insurance companies. But, let’s not impose on them. After all, the market is at work, and what’s wrong with making a profit?

– Kevin Russell Cook, Dolores


Speaking points

Dear Editors,

I suppose I understand why so many parents objected to their children watching President Obama’s speech. If George Bush had done the same thing during his presidency, I would not have wanted my children or grandchildren watching his speech. I would have been embarrassed for them to watch a president that had difficulty speaking in complete sentences, pronouncing bigger than average words, and generally was ill-at-ease with the English language. Yep, to listen to an articulate, eloquent, well-educated President speak to children about the importance of education and to stay in school sure sounds like a socialist agenda to me, you betcha’.

– Darrel Parmenter, via e-mail


A budding local industry

Dear Editors,

This letter is addressed to all the clueless people that oppose medical marijuana. I have known a few black market pot dealers, some of whom made hundreds of thousands THAT THEY DID NOT PAY TAXES ON and on a few occasions accidentally sold pot to minors. Now they pay huge amounts of taxes and will not sell to anybody that doesn’t have a card. This new industry is creating good jobs and generating a shit ton of tax dollars.

Don’t like pot? Well, do ya like teachers? The dispensaries in town will generate enough taxes to pay for several of them. Marijuana has never killed anyone and is proven to be a safe and effective medicine. That’s more than you can say for ... Advil, for example, which kills thousands every year. And as for being under regulated, it’s a hell of a lot better regulated than the black market. Wake up people! Marijuana is not even much of an intoxicant. Do we feel the need to regulate dandelions? I can make wine from that flower that may cause you to wreck your car, damage your liver and become an alcoholic! The stupidity of people who are ignorant enough to think that pot smokers should be criminally prosecuted makes me sick.

So to all those opposed ... shut the hell up and thank god for the tax revenue we so desperately need in this horrid financial crisis. I would like to encourage everyone out there to get involved with medical marijuana. We need the money. For my part, I am more than happy to discuss with anyone interested any aspect of medical marijuana, including legal and horticultural4 processes, free of charge. You can contact me @ shutgon.jesus@hotmail.com .

– Harley Donley, via e-mail


Selective amnesia

Dear Editors,

I am amazed at the number of people that are so vehemently opposed to health-care reform stating that we don’t need more government. I would like to remind many of those people that had it not been for bigger government during the last huge financial crisis this country had, their parents or grandparents would not have been able to secure jobs. Has everyone forgotten WPA or CCC? Were it not for those programs, many of the people in opposition to government run health care might not have had as many advantages as they did growing up. Hell, some of those people may not even exist. Not all additions to government are a threat to our lifestyle and heritage. Why do these protesters want to deny their children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren the benefits of health care?

– Sue Kuhn, Durango


Big brother Obama?

Dear Editors,

President Obama continues to hover over us like “Big Brother.” On Tues., Sept. 8, his targeted audience was our impressionable schoolchildren.

Obama beamed a speech into our schools all across the country. Although the speech was marketed as nonpolitical and encouraged students to do well in school, it set a current precedent for future speeches by Obama to our students. It can be construed as unduly influencing our educational system with more government interference in our daily lives and should be considered an invasion of privacy.

The original lesson plans that were supposed to accompany the speech recommended students “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the President.” This was designed as a program for Obama to have direct contact with our youths across the country, and therein bypassing parents. Obama might be trying to impact our youth with his philosophy and build his constituency with millions of high school students who will be eligible to vote in 2012.

Thankfully, many school districts refused to air the speech in an attempt to keep government intrusion out of our educational system.

Note: President George H. W. Bush and President Reagan intruded in the schools when they spoke to students.

– Donald A. Moskowitz, via e-mail


The color of politics

Dear Eds,

I’ve had it about up to here with the liberal elitists calling anyone who disagrees with President Obama a racist. That includes NYT columnists, MSNBC hacks, Air America hosts as well as locals writing to the Telegraph and the Herald.

Perhaps these progressive snobs have forgotten that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed thanks to Republican senators working with President Johnson to overcome the objections of southern Democrats, including Al Gore’s daddy. The Black Caucus is made up of black congress members. It’s not the Black Democrat Caucus or the Black Republican caucus, it’s the Black caucus. How many of you enlightened progressives know that JC Watts, a black Republican congressman from a white district in Oklahoma, was locked out of a meeting of the Black caucus the first week he was in Washington? How many of you bleeding heart liberals are ready to step up to the plate and defend the actions of the National Democrat Party when they hacked into Michael Steele’s credit report when he was running for the Senate. I’m still waiting for that giant in the Senate, Democrat Robert E. Byrd to denounce his membership in the KKK.

It’s my opinion that President Obama is the product of Chicago politics and lacks the depth and experience to lead the nation. He’s never worked in the private sector and he was running for higher office before he even took the oath of office for his senate seat. When his meager leadership skills fail him, he resorts to campaign mode to create sound bites for the media.

My opposition to the President’s programs has to do with his lack of leadership skills and the fact that he has surrounded himself with some pretty scary people with even scarier ideas. It has nothing to do with the color of his skin. So get over it.

– Dennis Pierce, via e-mail




In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows