Healthcare needs a real solution

It strikes me as odd how intelligent people on both sides of an argument auger themselves so deeply into an issue that, well, they cannot see the forest for the trees.

Measure 101 is a classic case. It does not even matter whether you are for or against it; what should matter is understanding that 101 is just using old baling twine to fix a badly broken cart.

Dr. Hayden, a leading opponent to 101, in his Oregonian editorial pointed out that it is not a matter of whether we should pay to hold Oregon’s Medicaid system together, but how to pay. He touches on the very root of the problem, maybe without knowing it. We have far and away the most expensive healthcare in the world with abysmal health outcomes for the money.

Many proponents of 101 are willing to throw whatever it costs to attempt to cobble together the failed healthcare system in our country. That is noble, but in the end it is futile. Our system cannot hold up much longer under these inefficient patches that fail to address the real problems both within the healthcare system and the outside forces that have driven it to this breaking point.

An East Oregonian editorial called 101 a Band-Aid. Actually, it is a small Band-Aid being applied to the very large, soaked bandage: the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). It is a failed attempt to stanch the hemorrhage of money we spend on healthcare. Both President Obama and (retired) Senator Baucus, the author of Obamacare, said that the two primary goals were to reduce the exorbitant costs of healthcare in this country and to provide access for all citizens to quality healthcare. It has failed at both. Insurance is not healthcare.

This is why we are arguing over Measure 101. If we, the people, do not hold the feet of our elected ones to the fire to honestly address healthcare in our country, we will face many more 101’s in the future. I’m not talking about the “anti-fix” Representative Walden and the elitist Republicans in D.C. proposed, nor the hollow words of so many Democrats, including Senator Merkley, who also puts politics ahead of the people of our country.

Measure 101 is proof that we need to look at, for example, the 34 other countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, all of which have healthcare systems that: a) cost less than our country, b) provide healthcare to ALL their citizens, and c) have far better health outcomes than our country. All these countries, like our country, are “committed to democracy and the market economy.”

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the vast majority of universal healthcare systems around the globe work far better than our very expensive and very broken system. Our system — driven by corporate insurance as well as profit-based Big Med and Pharma — is probably the epitome of a failure of the free market system.

It’s time our country implements a “Medicare For All”-type system for all our citizens which will achieve the goals of bringing costs down and improving health outcomes.

Rick Meis lives in Halfway.

Democrats have only one solution: More taxes

Tax, tax, tax. Our Democrat-controlled state Legislature recently voted to push another tax on the people of Oregon. This insidious tax measure is disguised as an assessment by the drafters of this measure. By calling this tax an assessment is like putting lipstick on a pig hoping to fool the Oregon voters into thinking they’re eating beef.

This tax raiser for Medicaid is to fund abortions and open the door for a flood of free medical care for illegal migrants. It is a tax on you, the taxpayer, a tax on our healthcare insurance, state healthcare organizations, school medical insurance, college student insurance, small business, nonprofits and our hospitals. But of course exempting big corporations, unions and insurance companies and of course the state Legislature from this tax. It is a tax on our healthcare system for you and me exempting the elite. Make no mistake — the costs incurred by business will be passed on to you.

The sneaky little Democrats moved the election to January when everybody is still recovering from the holidays, hoping for a low voter turnout. The Democrats that wrote this bill along with the governor were bought and paid for by accepting Medicaid campaign cash after the law passes. (Source: Voters Pamphlet) Tell these greedy Democrat politicians “No” and take back our healthcare system.

It’s too bad they couldn’t use that gas tax they passed to subsidize the alcohol producers, or the bike tax, or maybe the vehicle registration tax to prop up Medicaid for illegals? Been waiting for the Democrat-controlled Legislature to start taxing toilet paper, that’s about the only thing they haven’t tried putting a tax on.

Chuck Chase

Baker City

Healthcare dollars are wasted: No on Measure 101

How are our current healthcare dollars really being spent?

1. A $1.2 million annual salary for the Oregon Hospitals Association’s executive director (WWeek.com.)

2. $8,86264.56 spent on campaign contributions by six Medicaid groups/political action committees (oregonvotes.org.)

3. A $50 million taxpayer-funded loan to Moda insurance — you know, the same one that spent $40 million plastering their name on the side of the Rose Garden (Oregonian.com.)

4. $66,666/Month PERS payout to Oregon Health Sciences University’s president — for life! (Oregonian.com)

5. And millions of dollars hiring an army of healthcare lobbyists who get paid to protect financial interests of hospitals and insurance CEOs, while ensuring their clients won’t pay new healthcare taxes like the rest of us (oregon.gov/ogec.)

Remember, an “assessment,” as used in this bill, is a tax, pure and simple, to continue to fill the aforementioned pockets with our healthcare dollars.

Please join me in voting NO on Measure 101!

Lorri Speelman

Baker City

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