Summit Daily letters: Doctors against Amendment 69
October 14, 2016
Doctors against Amendment 69
The four of us sponsored the informational event opposing Amendment 69 on Tuesday evening out of a deep concern that Amendment 69 will do lasting damage to the quality of Colorado's health care as well as to its economy. While we have previously sponsored and participated in a debate in Summit County in January with two of Amendment 69's primary backers, Senators Aguilar and Nicholson, this event was different. We invited a speaker from Coloradans for Coloradans to give a short talk and then spent the rest of our time answering questions and talking with those in attendance. The audience included many seniors who understand that Amendment 69 is a new 10 percent tax on their retirement income with no guaranteed benefits beyond Medicare which they already receive and for which they have already paid.
We believe that many proponents of Amendment 69 have the best intentions. However, our judgement, supported by the 78 percent of physicians surveyed by the Colorado Medical Society who oppose it, is that Amendment 69 is a naive and risky proposal to fix our state's health care finance issues. The independent analysis by the respected nonprofit, non-partisan Colorado Health Institute found that after its first year ColoradoCare will lose increasingly more money for the next 9 years so that by its tenth year of operation, it will lose $7.8 billion or approximately $1,500 per Colorado resident in that year alone. The only options to fix that will be even higher taxes, reduced (or rationed) care and decreased quality of care.
As the public has become more informed on Amendment 69, the polls show that they are planning to vote against it in high numbers. Dr. Ebert-Santos, if the voters of Colorado reject Amendment 69 as we hope they do, will you agree to work with the majority of us who are trying to find solutions to our health care finance issues that are both financially sound and promote high quality health care?
Drs. Heggland, Sain, Osborne and Catron
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Remember the wolves
Oct. 16 – 22 marks National Wolf Awareness Week. It was originally set up as a national event in 1996, the year after wolves were re-introduced to the state of Idaho and Yellowstone National Park.
Why a "Wolf Awareness Week"? The North American wolf is an iconic species that's unique in terms of being historically vilified (thank you, Jack London!) and universally/continuously controversial. But now it's highly-valued for its better-understood ecological role in many of our native ecosystems.
Here in Colorado, the native gray wolf has been struggling to recover since its elimination in the late 1930s through sanctioned hunting. And as recently as late last year, our Colorado Parks and Wildlife organization, with the support of Governor Hickenlooper, adopted a motion to prevent rare Mexican gray wolves from being reintroduced into Colorado, as part of a federal effort to save them from extinction.
So why celebrate wolves? They are scientifically described as keystone apex predators that help ecosystems stay in balance, mainly by keeping large herbivore (i.e. elk, moose) populations in check. And although truly "wild" animals, they are well-known, especially to our indigenous peoples, to share many "family values" as humans do.
Today, in other parts of the West, gray wolves have been delisted from federal protection as an endangered species and are subject to wolf hunts. And in most of the upper Midwest timber wolves have made an astonishing comeback through past protections.
On behalf of our local Headwaters Group, Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Sierra Club, please take a few moments this week to learn more about wolves, and consider what it might mean to our future generations to reintroduce gray wolves into Colorado. A great place to start would be sierraclub.org/rocky-mountain-chapter/wolves.
Prop 106 proponents pervert the virtue of courage
Recently my email in box was loaded with messages from the proponents of Proposition 106. The subject line was "Courageous Coloradoans." Interested, I opened to see the story of nine persons choosing to commit suicide. These stories were recounted in an effort to raise money for their cause (as if the $20 million in the coffers of Compassion and Choice, the national sponsor of 106, were not enough to buy more emotional TV advertising). What a perversion of the definition of the word "Courage."
Words matter. My dictionary defines courage as: "the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery."
To most caring people, courage is exemplified by the men of the Allied Forces of World War II moving toward the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. That first wave of men knew full well that their chances were extremely poor of ever leaving that beach alive. They would suffer, but they pressed with courage. They didn't give up and take a "magic pill" to end the anticipated suffering. Even consider the true courage of our Summit County Flight Nurse, from the ill-fated helicopter in July 2015. He never gave up and continues to fight with love and support from his family and community.
This last month this newspaper rightly highlighted "suicide prevention" with numerous articles with depressing (pun intended) statistics. It is sadly ironic that immediately now we see on TV promotions to choose to kill oneself, if suffering is possibly imminent. Never do the ads use the word "suicide," but that is what Proposition 106 advocates. They used to call the movement "Hemlock Society," then it was "Compassion and Care," then "Death with Dignity," then "Aid-in-Dying." Now it is "End of Life Choices." How benign it has become. They lull us to think this killing is good.
The dignity of human life requires us to exercise the true virtue of courage.
Vote no on Proposition 106.
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