Letters: 6/29/17

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Technology and kids

I am an LPC [licensed professional counselor] that has worked with addicted populations for years and who now works with Boulder County police in the field. I get called to police scenes involving children assaulting parents. “Let me guess, the parent set a limit with their device?” I ask. “That’s right,” is the usual response. I see children interacting with devices as addicts do with drugs. The instant gratification is a disturbing breeding ground for this. Expecting children to master the limitation and dangers of addiction, as Paul Danish [Re: “Another crank out to save the children from themselves,” Danish Plan, June 22] puts it, without more public discourse, awareness and help sounds naive. Whether legislation is the appropriate avenue or not, kudos to Dr. Farnum for bringing this to the fore.

Sue Boorman/via internet

ACA repeal threatens small business

I am a small business owner and I’m scared. If the ACA is replaced, our family’s health insurance is likely to become even less affordable. My wife and I each own a small business. Provisions in the replacement bills may force either my wife or me to shut our business and find employment with less costly large-group health insurance.    

Our family earns just enough that we are ineligible for subsidies. About one-third of our income goes to pay for health insurance and related costs. The proposed ACA replacements will allow insurers to raise premiums for older workers like me, which could make the cost unbearable.

But I fear that it could get much worse. Despite arguments from the opposition, the ACA was very well thought out. It imposed an individual mandate so that everyone, especially the young and healthy, would pay into the system so they could have affordable coverage when they become older or less healthy. The proposed legislation eliminates the mandate. Folks may then put off purchasing insurance until they are more likely to need it, which will increase premium costs for those with coverage.

Because “more affordable” health insurance is tied to larger-group employment, the ability to grow my small business is severely limited. A few years back, I was in discussions with someone who I considered a potential dream business partner. He was familiar with my business, had perfectly matched management experience, and a vision to grow my company. His salary requirements were flexible, but there was no way that my small business could afford to find coverage to match what he received from his current (larger) employer. And so I lost this opportunity.

As a business owner, I understand the power of the free market. My business is engaged in a constant struggle against larger mail-order companies that aggressively compete on price. But the current repeal measures do nothing to harness market power. There is nothing in the repeal effort to increase price transparency and no new mechanisms to empower health consumers to seek out less costly providers. What the repeal effort does accomplish is to provide huge tax cuts to the very wealthy. Once the tax cuts are fully implemented, 40 percent of the tax savings are expected to go to the top 1 percent!

I constantly ask myself: Do my customers get a good value for their hard-earned money? Based on what they tell me, I believe that they do. Can I say that about my family’s health care expenditures? Not even close. I’m paying into a system that consumes roughly 17 percent of our nation’s GDP. But in Japan, which has a relatively older population, the share is about 10 percent.

I hope for the day when a health care system emerges in our country that takes care of everyone. Currently we pay too much and we get too little. And many folks have no access to care at all. I dream of a single-payer system focused on providing health care rather than creating profits. In the meantime, I hope that our legislators preserve the ACA and the gains we’ve made so far. My family, my community and my business depend on it.

Michael Kone/President of Boulder Bicycle

League of Women Voters: Nice job, Hick

The League of Women Voters of Boulder County applauds Gov. John Hickenlooper’s statement addressing President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord: “It is a serious mistake to back out of the Paris Accord. This is a historic global agreement between almost every nation on earth to address the single most pressing issue facing humanity.”

The League urges Colorado to join a coalition of states led by California, Washington and New York working to reduce carbon emissions.

History informs that reform in the U.S. often originates from state and local activism. A coalition of states representing a significant share of the country’s population and economic activity can and should take the role the federal government has abandoned and seek official status with the countries of the world that have signed the Paris agreement.

This is an opportunity for Colorado to lead in addressing this pressing issue.

Ruth Stemler/President of the League of Women Voters of Boulder County

Third party provides

Informed Colorado people care about issues such as climate change, continued proliferation of weapons and war, sustainable energy, higher education debt, public healthcare and fair economics. One way to work on these issues is to support organizations and officials who do not accept funding from foreign countries or corporations. The Green Party is the political party, which does not accept foreign funding or corporate donations for favor.

Candidates sponsored by the Green Party care about the health of the earth. Without funding from special interests, the Green Party candidates stand in a good position to vote for supporting regulations and provisions for sustainable energy sources. Green Party candidates can say no to providing billions of dollars to foreign countries to promote the violent and destructive policies.

It is important to watch news sources such as Democracy Now, follow online sources like Truthout, and Boulder Weekly, and it’s imperative to go beyond officials’ words to see how they vote, which can be done at thomas.gov ot leg.colorado.gov. Certainly many Democrats have been disturbed at President Trump’s weapons deals to the Saudis, the continued sending of U.S. soldiers into Iraq and Afghanistan, and a boastful proclamation of the power to leave the Guantanamo Concentration camp open. The support of violence in Asia has caused its communities, which are mostly Muslim, to flee from their homes because safety, clean water and food have become insufficient for human survival.

Few people acknowledge that the President Obama was also complicit in the same expensive, violent actions and did not support the best options for the earth and its people. Obama had to be pressured to speak with doctors representing public health care.

Susan Hall/Broomfield

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