Single-payer system is coming
To the editor:
In Pete Sundin's recent letter to the editor, it appears he is a believer in the hodgepodge of over 1,000 private insurance corporations in control of the nation's health care: the most ineffective and costly health care system in the developed world.
U.S. health care costs twice as much as in other industrialized
nations.And what does it buy us? A 37th rank among nations on the
healthiness scale of the World Health Organization!
We don't get what we're paying for, because insurance companies use a
third of what we give them for processing claims, marketing, and
62 percent of bankruptcies in the U.S. are brought on by medical
debts.And two-thirds are filed by persons with health insurance!
Locally several times a year caring citizens put on fundraisers to help
out families hit by catastrophic health care costs.
The rest of the industrialized world has single-payer health
insurance.Our Medicare for seniors is a single-payer system spending
about 4 percent on processing claims, while insurance companies spend
about 30 percent.
Congressman Paul Ryan's proposal to privatize Medicare, endorsed by
Sundin, is just more of the same inefficient corporate-controlled
management we presently have.
The U.S. will eventually be forced to go to a single-payer system (a
type of Medicare for all), because the cost of our present wasteful
system is just too expensive.
Retiree, Medicare recipient
State needs to tap education fund
To the editor:
Editor's note: Mr. Dixon sent this letter to members of Oregon's Legislature:
I am writing to stress an ongoing concern with the status of education
in these economically challenging times.As a school district we are
faced with an ever decreasing amount of funding and an increasing
burden of mandates and standards.While this has an impact on all
levels of education, it is extremely damaging to the most needy
populations.Remedial teachers, aides, and intervention specialists are
the first positions we lose in these difficult times.As a small school
with only one teacher in each subject area, we are hard pressed to cut
core positions.Therefore, those positions that are designed to close
the achievement gaps, help "at risk" children and provide for RTI are
where we are forced to reduce.
This year I have had to eliminate a classified paraprofessional and cut
a Title position to half time.Both of these positions could be saved
if the Education Stability Fund was accessed for the additional $100
million suggested.These positions have a direct and immediate impact
on students.Ironically, Title I specifically addresses math and
reading.These two content areas are assessed for AYP, are the two
areas where the standards have been raised in the last two years, and
are the two areas that evidence proves that students need to have
success in by third grade if they are not to face struggles throughout
their educational careers.It is sad to me that the future and success
of education seems to fall on the shoulders of teachers who are
expected to work harder for less. This pattern has been historically
time proven to create burnout and the failure of many enterprises and
The education of our children today hopefully will lead to less need
for prisons and social services for generations in the future.Please
prioritize with funding what so many of us prioritize verbally.Invest
in the students of today in order to provide a brighter future for
Oregon and the nation.
Powder Valley Schools
Struggling schools will keep working
To the editor:
On behalf of the Baker 5J School Board and administration, I would like
to extend my personal "Thank you" to the members of the Local Option
The effort you put into helping your community is very much
appreciated. I would also like to thank all those persons who supported
students, families and their community with your positive votes.
Many wonder why the school district even tried a local tax. Unlike
other branches of government, schools must always balance their budgets.
When revenue shrinks, so do school budgets and in turn the programs and
staff to support our children. We are still challenged to keep our
schools open and we will do the best we can with the resources allotted
However, when faced with huge fiscal cuts caused by cuts in the budget
of the State of Oregon and the loss of a significant piece of federal
funding, we needed your help. Help to support a major community
institution like our schools.
Not only a resource for our children and families but also a leading
employer. And with the potentially catastrophic outcomes to many Baker
City families it is appropriate, ethical and moral to put the measure
to the people before the pink slips went out.
Asking for help was a good thing, and necessary. In the weeks and
months ahead it will be a difficult time for our district as we have to
lay off many talented educators, paraprofessional and administrators.
The school district did carefully and significantly make preparation
for this election result with our planning of the four day student week.
This will provide an avenue through restructuring to increase
student-teacher contact time, enrich student choices and offer a high
quality education for our children. We believe that high quality
schools are a key economic driver if Baker City is to rebound from this
We look toward the end of this school year with a heavy heart. We will
again graduate another outstanding class of students to go out into the
world and become successful members of society. We will also say
goodbye to many wonderful staff members. Yet, come August, our schools
will open and the remaining professionals that work in them will
continue to provide students with an exceptional educational experience.
Superintendent, Baker 5J