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Inaction on Medicare unhealthy

In response to your Dec. 11 article about depression in our senior citizens, I would like to inform your readers that unless Congress makes changes, Americans on Medicare will have difficulty not only finding treatment for psychological disorders, but for all medical conditions.

If scheduled cuts go into effect, there will likely be a large exodus of doctors (medical and psychological) from the Medicare system. Physicians and psychologists may cease taking Medicare patients if Congress doesn’t act to deny these cuts. One survey by the AMA said 60 percent of all doctors say a Medicare cut will force them to decrease or stop seeing new Medicare patients, and to discontinue nursing home visits.

Contact your senators and representative immediately to tell them the following message:

Congress has blocked the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) cut 14 times since 2001, and it must do so again or Medicare rates will be reduced by 26.5 percent starting Jan. 1. Please vote to block the SGR so that America’s seniors will have the health care they need.

If you would like to go online to send a message posted by the AMA, here is the link: alert/?alertid=53132696.

Linda Higley


Many ways to help Medicare

In response to the Dec. 15 article by Patrick Tennican, Ph.D., I would like to offer other solutions to helping Medicare.

First, negotiate the price of drugs like the Veterans Administration, or Canada. I agree that Part D of Medicare, the drug act, helps seniors, but they are still paying too high a price for drugs. If they hit the so-called donut hole, they pay the full price of their drugs, which is devastating to many seniors. The Affordable Care Act does away with the donut hole by 2020. Why wait so long?

Also, if the drug companies are losing so much money, maybe they should stop paying other companies to not make generic drugs.

Another money-saving answer for Medicare is to stop the large subsidies paid to private health care insurance companies, in Part C of Medicare.

These two solutions alone – negotiate the price of drugs and stop the subsidies – would amount to huge savings for Medicare. I have not heard our politicians talking much about either approach. Again, you have to wonder why? Are the politicians working on our behalf or somebody else’s?

George Rice, Ph.D. (retired)


Same-sex marriage a misnomer

The U.S. Supreme Court will review California voters’ ban on same-sex marriage, which the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection clause.” The appellate court determined that two people who are of the same gender are denied the same legal and lawful benefits that come from the covenant two people of opposite genders make.

The courts have made same-sex covenants appear to be a civil rights issue. But, in reality it is not, for by precedent marriage does not involve two people of the same gender, and no one was unequally prevented from marrying.

Thousands of years of practice in Western civilization established the precedent that the covenant called marriage is peculiar to two people of opposite genders. Additionally, Congress reinforced this precedent by statute with the Defense of Marriage Act. Marriage is a name socially and legally reserved for a specific covenant between a male and female. “Same-sex marriage” is a misnomer, an oxymoron.

A homosexual person can obtain the same legal and lawful benefits as those given to married couples by marrying, meaning covenanting with a person of the opposite gender. Homosexual people have always had this legal protection equal to heterosexuals.

Duncan Dean

Spokane Valley

Install scanners at schools

What is a child’s life worth? Apparently less than a politician’s! Ever try to get into a state or federal building without having to go through a scanner and seeing armed security? How come we don’t have that for our children’s school?

We could even bring home our troops and have them stationed at each school, instead of being targets in countries that hate us! Gun control is not the answer because it will never stop the criminals. But security is the answer with scanners and armed guards!

It is time. Let’s work on getting our children as safe as Congress is!

Rebecca Wendlandt

Liberty Lake

Over-spending causing debt

A recent letter claimed that we didn’t have a debt problem, we have a problem with Republicans who are trying to eliminate our “safety net.” During the last four years, while the Democrats have had control, we have accumulated the largest debt ever, $16 trillion, and the largest annual deficits of over $1 trillion each year.

The Democratic Senate has not passed a budget in four years and the last budget the president presented to the Congress did not receive one vote.

Never in history have there been so many cities, states, and countries declared bankrupt or actually insolvent. In addition, we have the pending bailouts of Federal Housing Administration, Post Office, Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local pension funds, and, eventually, Social Security and Medicare. People, businesses and money are leaving states like California, New York, and Illinois. All of these cities, states and countries are managed by liberal progressive governments.

Whenever there is a government financial crisis the first solution is to raise taxes. It is estimated 25-30 percent could be saved by eliminating waste and inefficiencies. In addition, we need a balanced budget amendment (at least a law requiring two-thirds vote to go over budget), a complete revision of our tax code eliminating loopholes and corporate welfare, and subsidies and bailouts.

David Hamer


Chains as harmful as studs

Blaming studded snow tires for the damage to our streets seems a bit odd to me. I am not saying that they do not do some damage, but have you ever noticed all the vehicles using chains? There are so many large trucks that are trying to provide a service to the city and outlying areas: your emergency vehicles, ambulance and fire, contractors, private snow removal, government vehicles, U.S. mail, UPS, FedEx, delivery trucks, and semitrucks. Our city services.

Yes, chains can be removed when the streets are dry. But still, how many times have you seen a large truck going down an arterial that has been plowed but still needs chains to get down a side street, an alley, or up and down a hill? If studs on small cars do so much damage, just think what chains on large, heavy trucks must do in a shorter time.

If studded snow tires help keep our insurance premiums stay down on fewer claims, or if they help our young drivers learning to drive on ice and snow, or help the elderly get around safely, then maybe if they save just one life, I am for them.

Alan Barry

Nine Mile Falls

Shooter: child of immoral society

It has been difficult for me to understand how a portion of Americans can blame a constitutional right for the pure evil that humans do. To continue to lay blame on the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights, incorporated into the Constitution of the United States, is not only ignorant, but very dangerous.

These heinous acts are carried out by monsters who are born of a morally corrupt society and emboldened by a media that hyper-publicizes tragic events. These acts of violence are a predictable product of decades of incremental disarmament. The media never describe the place of the shootings for what they are, “victim disarmament zones.” Monsters know these places to be killing fields.

It has taken decades, but the government has convinced Americans to become reliant on government agencies to protect them when it is known that and proved in court that these agencies have no obligation whatsoever to protect. The stark reality is the Second Amendment is not about hunting. Further call for gun control will not solve the problem of monsters that invade our society, it will only lead to more victims.

Daniel Day


Don’t glorify Newtown killer

Please don’t allow the Newtown killer to go down in history. Instead, please make sure it’s the children’s names that people remember.

You, media, have a massive responsibility in addressing critical issues in our society. I implore you to take a hard look at what you put in the minds of people around the world. In showing a murderer’s face and name hundreds of thousands of times, you plant the seed in another mentally-ill person’s mind: that he or she can be remembered for something big.

Use your power for good and not for harm. Send a message that those who commit heinous acts will not be given hours of airtime; their photos will not be shown; they will simply be forgotten.

This is just one of the many things we can – and must do – to help address the societal ailments that led to the tragedy in Newtown, before it happens somewhere else.

Kate Vanskike


Give ombudsman more powers

It seems the Spokane City Council has moved a large leap forward in affording the citizens adequate police oversight. The Office of Police Ombudsman has never had the authority to effect adequate, independent review of excessive use of force complaints. To be effective and respected that must be part of the job description of the ombudsman.

Serious, deadly serious at times, excessive use of force is still rampant in our nation. The council has placed on an early February ballot (ballots to be mailed beginning Jan. 25) a measure to change the charter of the city to include effective independent review of complaints by our Office of Police Ombudsman.

I would urge you to consider casting your vote in favor of this long-needed independent review.

John A. Olsen


Arming teachers a bad idea

Knee-jerk reactions are often made by fools; for example, arming teachers with guns. Sounds like a great idea, right? However, I have some questions.

Would all teachers be required to have a gun available in their classroom?

What about teachers who refuse to arm themselves – would they be fired?

Who would pay for teachers to become certified to handle a gun?

Who would buy the guns and ammunition?

Would teachers be required to undergo extensive background checks?

How would teachers keep the guns from students or visitors?

What would stop a disgruntled teacher from using the gun on students or other teachers?

Why would someone intent on killing teachers/students even bother to bring a gun into the school (they could carry a knife, wrench, club, etc., overwhelm one teacher, and then gain access to potentially dozens of guns)?

Arming teachers only ensures that guns are available to anyone who walks through the front door. A knee-jerk reaction to solve a problem is never the answer.

Douglas Scott



Top stories in Opinion

Editorial: Washington state lawmakers scramble to keep public in the dark

State lawmakers want to create a legislative loophole in Washington’s Public Records Act. While it’s nice to see Democrats and Republicans working together for once, it’s just too bad that their agreement is that the public is the enemy. As The Spokesman-Review’s Olympia reporter Jim Camden explained Feb. 22, lawmakers could vote on a bill today responding to a court order that the people of Washington are entitled to review legislative records.