Summit Daily letters: More political letters than you can shake a ski at
October 26, 2016
Vote yes on ColoradoCare
In the news this week is the nationwide double digit price hike for health insurance. But don't worry, with government subsidies you can pay as little at $75 a month, as long as you don't mind high deductibles, copays and coinsurance. By the way, these government subsidies are the largest transfer of taxpayer money to a for-profit industry since the rail barons in the 1800s. Personally, I would rather have my taxes go directly towards paying for health care than for paying for health insurance.
In 2012 Mark Bertolini, CEO and chairman of Aetna Insurance, announced that the end is near for profit-driven health insurance companies. "The system doesn't work, it's broke today. The end of insurance companies, the way we've run the business in the past, is here." What is this CEO expecting? Universal single payer for the nation. Many people prefer this to a state-by-state reform, such as ColoradoCare. Either way, the end of for-profit health insurance is coming. Amendment 69 gives us local control and speeds up the process.
Dr. Lila Rosenthal spoke at the Colorado Medical Society in Keystone last month. In response to the anti-69 speakers' description of ColoradoCare being too risky, unaffordable and uncertain. "You wouldn't tell a friend or patient to stay in an abusive relationship because leaving is too risky, uncertain and unaffordable. We are in an abusive relationship as patients, as doctors and we need the courage, despite uncertainty, to break out of the cycle of abuse by health insurance companies."
Why are some doctors, politicians and many hospitals against Amendment 69? They are making enough money to pay others to fight for reimbursement and provide care for the uninsured. The rising number of employed physicians reflects the desire to avoid having to deal with billing struggles and reimbursement nightmares. They are not ready for the "paradigm shift" as described by Thomas Kuhn in his book, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." This is when "the plausibility structure of the previous paradigm becomes so full of holes and patchwork 'fixes' that a complete overhaul, which once looked utterly threatening, now becomes a lifeline." On the other hand, many primary care providers and patients are ready for the paradigm shift.
At a recent presentation in Snowmass on Amendment 69 with Dr. Kristine Hembre, our opponents from Club 20 showed a slide with a drawing of a set of dice, describing ColoradoCare as a roll of the dice. What about the millions of uninsured and underinsured Coloradoans who roll the dice every day they get in their car or go skiing, hoping that they won't get injured or ill and go bankrupt? What's missing in our current health care payment system? Dignity. People over profits. Why do we have to live in suspense about whether we can afford to pay for health care, or whether we will get paid for the care we have provided? Why do we have to beg, plead, fill out form after form, spend hours on the phone and internet, have crowd sourcing and post on Facebook to pay medical bills?
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I may pay more under ColoradoCare, now that I am on Medicare and also earn more than most people, but I'll be so happy if my six children and future grandchildren have access to health care without worrying about deductibles and networks.
Christine Ebert-Santos, MD MPS
Peak School chairman supports school funding measures
Beneath the overwhelming national rhetoric of this election season, we have heard and read a great deal about a massive need for single family and affordable housing within Summit County — an important issue that will require a viable solution in the coming months and years, not decades. There have been strides in the past few years, but the pace must, and will, increase. Our residents, our politicians, our businesses are all clamoring for this need to be met: it simply needs to be a more reasonable proposition to work, live and raise a family in Summit County.
An essential piece in raising a family here is a strong school system for all. The Summit School District has a viable, realistic plan to ensure that our public schools can manage the density that these housing conversations will inevitably bring. In Superintendent Kerry Buhler's words, "It's not just about growth that will be coming to our schools, but it's about the growth that's already here." Of course, she's right and the school district, with our help during this election, has an immediate, no-frills plan to improve their existing facilities and infrastructure. Measures 3A and 3B are designed to ensure that our school district can keep up with our density. With houses must come schools.
As an independent school in Summit County our community of students, parents and educators support Summit County education with a passion. While measures 3A & 3B will have no direct impact on The Peak School, we seek to ignite a passion for learning; to develop students of diverse talents and backgrounds who think critically and act with integrity; and to graduate compassionate, confident, capable students who will embrace their roles as local and global citizens.
To that end, we fully support the Summit School District in its planning and implementation of measures 3A and 3B. These funds are essential for our local schools. Please vote YES on 3A ad 3B.
John A. Vincze
Chairman, Board of Trustees
The Peak School
What we don't know about Amendment 69
I encourage a NO vote on Amendment 69. And not just for the obvious reasons; over-utilization, open-ended taxation, small business pressure, loss of providers, etc., but for some reasons I haven't heard discussed. A Pelosi-style proposal which must be passed prior to finding out what's in it is irresponsible. The 21-member board charged with writing rules after its passage bypasses public accountability and scrutiny, allowing items that might never be approved if they were in the initial amendment. The board decides what gets covered or not, who gets funding or not, what their own salaries are, and with $25 billion of taxpayer dollars along with another $10 billion in Obamacare 1332 waiver money annually, opens the door to fiscal abuse. Where in the Blue Book, which you should all read, is there accountability for the board's fiscal responsibility? It discusses fraud, but not by the board. Giving 21 people the power to control billions of dollars annually without recall provisions is really scary! Think of the unaccountable power they will have. They will also get to draw boundaries for their elections.
I feel it is against democratic values to install an open-ended amendment for such an important part of all our lives, then give 21 people the power to control our health care. I am not happy paying over a $1000/month for my current family insurance but at least now I have choices. Nobody knows what health care will look like under this board, but choices will more be limited. Vermont tried this through legislation in 2011 but abandoned it after Gov. Peter Shumlin who pushed it said four years later, "…the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small business, working families and the state economy." There is a solution to current health care problems, but doubling down on a failed system and letting 21 unknown powerful politicians design your health care by doubling your taxes is not the answer. Time to work on a real solution.
Support Woodman for sheriff
I am happy to support my friend Derek Woodman for sheriff of Summit County.
I have known Derek for more than 10 years — initially as a patient coming to the emergency room following a motorcycle accident — and later as a law enforcement professional serving as undersheriff.
His personal warmth, knowledge, integrity and dedication to serving residents have helped keep Summit County families and visitors safe for more than 35 years. During that time, he has supervised search and rescue teams, helped remove large quantities of illegal drugs from our neighborhoods, worked to solve numerous crimes, developed our School Resource Officer program and helped create drunk driving prevention programs and enforce DUI efforts.
Through all the years I have known Derek, he has demonstrated the highest standards and commitment to all members of our community. We continue to need Derek Woodman's leadership as Summit County sheriff. He has my vote!
Dr. Jeff Lee
Summit Surgical Specialists
Schutt for House District 61
There are many very good reasons to support Bob Schutt for Colorado House District 61. In addition to being a physician who had oversight of a level 1 trauma center, Bob was a tenured medical professor, giving him experience with administration, budgets, teaching, and,retention and recruitment of faculty. Those organization and management skills will serve us well in Denver.
He's a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate who would bring integrity, character and leadership to the state House and he's also a decorated Vietnam combat fighter pilot who went on to serve as a combat surgeon in Desert Storm. As an orthopaedic surgeon trained at the University of Colorado Medical Center, he will be the only physician in the House of Representatives. He is the perfect person to guide Colorado health care policy during this difficult time and also be there to speak on behalf of our veterans. These are two of his major focus areas.
And, because he is an avid hiker, mountain and road biker and, cross-country and Alpine skier, he will represent our precious environment and work to protect our land, air and water.
Bob and his wife of 45 years have stepped up to this very important task of running for House District 61 and are committed to the difficult work that lies ahead. Bob's desire is to continue to serve the people of Colorado and we would be foolish not to support him so he can head to Denver to make a difference in our government. One last attribute to mention is his clarity about our state budget. He only wants to spend the money we have and believes it is very possible to make it work for us without raising taxes or taking it from education and transportation in order to balance the budget.
Please join me in voting Bob Schutt for House District 61 and sending him to Denver to work on our behalf.
Support for Baumgardner's re-election
I had the privilege and honor of representing Northwest Colorado in the Colorado House of Representatives for eight years and also served as your State Senator for the following eight years. I was very disappointed to read recently that Al and Jean White have endorsed Senator Randy Baumgardner's opponent for Colorado Senate District 8. I write to tell you that I strongly support Senator Randy Baumgardner to remain as our State Senator.
Randy served as our State Representative for four years and has been our State Senator for four years. Because of his experience and longevity as our State Senator, he serves on many coveted committees. He is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and is chairman of the Transportation Legislative Review Committee (TLRC). He is a member of the important Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Committee. And, is chairman of the critical Capital Development Committee. He also serves on the Water Resources Review Committee.
A newcomer to the Senate District 8 seat would have to serve for several years to reach the level of committee assignments and responsibilities that Senator Baumgardner now holds.
Also, Senator Baumgardner is a rancher and he understands very well the issues we face here in rural Colorado — including water. To vote for Randy's opponent does not make sense to me. His seniority on these committees should not be lost. Randy is passionate about supporting jobs here in Northwest Colorado.
Randy and I have been friends for over 10 years and I know first-hand he has been a strong voice for and is deeply committed to this district in Northwest Colorado. I'm voting for Senator Randy Baumgardner and hope you will join me and vote for him, also. Thank you!
Colorado State Senator (Retired)
Trump critic's hypocrisy is showing
In response to the letter "What do Federal income taxes pay for?" I just had to respond to Ms. Moskal's criticism of Donald Trump.
It is incredulous that she makes the statement that she "find(s) for a person, supposedly worth billions, to pay no income taxes…" This statement smacks of hypocrisy and defective analysis. In doing so, she perfectly demonstrates a lack of logic that will have to return to the "public square" if this country is ever to have a meaningful discussion about the merits of political issues and policy.
I couldn't help but note that Ms. Moskal lists her address as being in Denver and Breckenridge. As such, I think it fair to assume that she has homes in both these locations, that these dwellings likely have significant worth (most people who live in Breckenridge would probably not have low-income housing in Denver), and likely one or both of her homes has a mortgage. If that is the case, then she likely takes a deduction of her home mortgage interest on her primary residence, and also takes an interest deduction on her "second home." If that is the case, why is she criticizing Trump for taking advantage of the tax code for deductions and carryovers on his investment losses while she fails to exercise similar criticism on her own like-kind behavior? Maybe she should consider that she, too, lives the "high life" compared to the average citizen and if she is to criticize someone for what she deems "outrageous behavior," she should first consider her own behavior in that regard.
Lastly, if one is unhappy with the tax code, then elect representatives to change it. It is not the taxpayer's fault when he/she avails themselves of its benefits, be it Trump, Ms. Moskal, you or me.
Support Trump for president
Colorado has always been a state with common sense and basic real American values. Recently, though, things have changed. I don't know if that is caused by the migration of California residents to this state or other issues. But, it is disappointing to see this happen. We are facing an election that is probably the most important one of our lives. We are to choose between two candidates who are very different. Trump wants to protect the Constitution and appoint Supreme Court judges who will do that. He wants to reduce our taxes. (Reagan did the same thing and the economy improved greatly.) He wants to control this country's borders. He has experience in job creation. He wants to help the military and the veterans. Hillary, on the other hand, wants to increase taxes. She wants open borders to let anyone in. She wants a liberal Supreme Court to override or reinterpret the Constitution. She wants a bigger Federal government to control more of what we do. She makes poor or no decisions, as shown with Benghazi, where four Americans were killed. Then she lied about the attack to family members of those killed. She wants open borders to make sure that the Democrats have a lower class of immigrants that are dependent on the Governments and provide the votes that she wants. It has been recently shown that she and her supporters conducted the riots at Trump campaigns and set up voter fraud plans. Add that to the email issues and you get some pretty bad stuff. So why are some people indicating that they are going to vote for her? Who knows? But one thing is for sure. A vote for her is not going to help this country. Some say that they do not like Trump. That is understandable, but that is not a reason to vote the country down the drain. European countries seem to be the model that Hillary wants. Look at them. Greece has gone bankrupt, as has Brazil. Islamic attacks have been common, and the European Union is not doing well. Those of you who want Hillary, ask yourself why you feel that way. My guess is that you do not watch the news or if you do, you watch CNN. Get off the phone and really see what is going on. In closing I am going to leave you with a quote from Abraham Lincoln. "We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."
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