Letters to the Editor for June 12, 2013

By Baker City Herald readers June 12, 2013 09:39 am

Off-road group hauled 1,120 pounds of trash from woods

Locked & Loaded Off-Road of Baker County would like to thank our generous sponsors who helped make our Elk Creek clean up day a huge success as we picked up and hauled out more than 1,120 pounds of garbage.

Bucks 4x4, license plate covers, hats, can cozys, stickers, T-shirt, pink onesie and a grab handle; Hills Carquest, quick fist mounting systems, 5-quart oil change; Ash Grove, folding chairs, barbecue sets with apron and can cozys; Gentry Auto Group, oil change, hats, cooler, Armor All, Miracle towel, and an X-Box; Jeffery Grende Heating and AC, heating service; B&K Auto Salvage, $200 store credit; Baker City Truck Corral, meal coupons; Baker Valley Auto Parts, tow strap; Grumpy’s Repair, oil change; Oregon Sign, T-shirt, banner and decals.

Baker Sanitary Service donated the dump fee; Key Building donated the trailer to haul trash; and Steve Ritch donated garbage bags.

Christina Witham

Baker City

Obamacare is just a start; we need a real solution

274,000 Oregonians will continue to lack health insurance after the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is implemented in 2016.  A study by researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the City University of New York School of Public Health released June 6 concluded that 30 million people in the United States will remain uninsured after implementation of Obamacare.

Eighty-one percent of the uninsured will be U.S. citizens and white persons of all ethnicities will make up 74 percent. Fifty-nine percent of the uninsured will have incomes between 100 percent and 399 percent of poverty and 27 percent will have below poverty incomes. 

There are currently 532,000 uninsured Oregonians. More than half will still lack insurance after Obamacare is implemented. Much of the drop in numbers of uninsured Oregonians is a result of Oregon expanding Medicaid. If Oregon had opted out of expanded Medicaid, many more of our friends, neighbors and family members would be uninsured.

In addition to leaving thousands of Oregonians uninsured, Obamacare does little to control sky-rocketing costs of health insurance.

Oregon needs a health care cost study and, fortunately, has the chance to get one. HB 3260, a study of health care financing options in Oregon, was passed unanimously with bi-partisan support by the Oregon House Health Care Committee and is now in the Ways and Means Committee. It is expected to go soon to the House and Senate for discussion and votes.

HB 3260 authorizes the Oregon Health Authority to commission a study of four options for financing health care for every Oregonian — implementing and expanding the Affordable Care Act, adding a public option in the state insurance  exchange, implementing statewide single payer health care and a forth option to be chosen by the legislature.

The current health care funding system is broken and must be repaired or replaced. 

If health insurance costs continue to increase at current rates, soon none of us will be able to afford coverage. HB 3260 is the first step in identifying the changes we need.

Bill Whitaker

La Grande