Summit Daily letters: We must mourn the victims of hatred

We must mourn the victims of hatred

One week after many hundreds of worshipers were attacked in Sri Lanka and their churches destroyed, others are still unable to return to their houses of worship, fearing even more violence. Weeks earlier three historically black churches in Louisiana were set ablaze, destroying buildings which had served as centers of worship and community for well over 100 years.

This past Saturday on the final day of Passover, the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in California was invaded by a gunman intending to kill whomever he could, exactly six months following a previous synagogue massacre. These are just three of the most recent acts of violence against people of faith.

Once again we find ourselves asking why? Why this violence directed at houses of worship? Why are God’s people such enticing targets? Today we mourn with Sri Lanka’s people, with the people of Louisiana and with the people of Poway as they work to make sense of these tragedies.

And we mourn for ourselves. We mourn for all the lives diminished by hatred, wherever that hatred springs from, be it religious intolerance, racism, sexism, gender discrimination, white nationalism, or just fear of the “other.” We want to “rend our garments” as did people of old, but do we desire to do so in grief or anger? We feel so helpless in the face of continuing tragedy after tragedy.

Your Summit Colorado Interfaith Council continues to work for inclusion, tolerance and understanding in our homes, our workplaces, our society and most of all in our places of worship. We have begun the programs Hate Has No Home Here, and The People’s Supper in that effort.

Now please join us at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, at St John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Breckenridge (100 S. French St.) for a service of unity and commemoration as we take time to hold these most recent victims in our hearts.

Diane Luellen

Summit Colorado Interfaith Council


‘Surprise billing’ bill won’t help health care consumers

As the state legislative session is coming to a close, there is an important bill (HB 1174) on out-of-network medical bills or “surprise billing.” Recently, there have been examples of predatory billing practices by a small number of physicians and this is unacceptable. Coloradans deserve the best medical care at fair prices. Unfortunately, insurance companies seized on this opportunity to support this legislation and bolster their profits without helping Coloradans achieve either better care or lower premiums.

This bill punishes physicians who play by the rules. While it seems this bill will only limit insurance rates for out-of- network care, the reality is far different. This legislation will afford insurance companies the opportunity to cancel any contract above the out of network cap, and the physicians will lose all leverage to negotiate. Insurance companies will profit by paying physicians at lower rates and WILL NOT pass any of these savings on to patients and consumers.

The impact of this bill will be significant and long-lasting on the delivery of health care in our state. Doctors who provide a safety net for our neediest citizens will leave the state seeking better opportunities. Access to medical specialists will deteriorate further. We will all need to wait longer in emergency department waiting rooms or to see any other physician.

Most Colorado physicians support protecting consumers and patients from outrageous bills that impact their livelihood and ability to pay their bills. The malicious practice of over-charging patients only applies to a very small subset of physicians in our state. Thoughtful policies and/or legislation can resolve these issues without degrading our state’s health care.

As written, this bill, will only enrich insurance companies while punishing Coloradans and the vast majority of physicians who dedicate their careers to taking care of them. We urge lawmakers to continue working on legislation that is fair and balanced.

Adam Barkin, MD, MPH

Past President, Colorado Chapter, American College of Emergency Physicians


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