Oregon Health Plan working

The Oregon Health Plan is the Medicaid extension of the Affordable Health Care act for low-income families. While a number of states have decided not to join the federal government in this worthy policy, Oregon is on board. That's good. The recent newspaper article about the jump in enrollments in Jackson County makes the case. The other major part of the act, Cover Oregon, has had major software start up problems. Nobody is happy about that. And the post mortem on what went wrong doesn't change the fact of lost opportunities and dollars down the drain.

However, Rep. Greg Walden's letter to constituents about the health care act goes too far. Before the legislation, insurance companies made all the calls on coverage and costs. There was a need for regulation. That has changed for the better and now access to health care is more affordable and restrictions have been greatly reduced on who can qualify for insurance. In states where there is a positive attitude about making the health care act work, good things are happening. We need to keep that positive attitude here in Oregon.

I'm not sure Representative Walden and members of his party see it that way.

Steve Haskell, Ashland

Here we go again

Sanctions are a form of economic warfare, perhaps preferable to shooting, but warfare nonetheless, with unforeseen consequences. They are especially ill-advised to counter unproven allegations such as Russian complicity and intent in the downing of the Malaysian airliner, and stupid when counter-sanctions may be more damaging to us.

Acting on unproven allegations and imposing sanctions involved us in World War II when FDR sanctioned the Japanese, lies triggered the Vietnam war with the Gulf of Tonkin non-incident, and non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq justified our invasion. “In war;” said Aeschylus, “the first casualty is truth”; and lies are the prelude.

Too often our State Department and intelligence communities have been obsessed with intervening in other nations’ affairs and policing the world, and the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve in manipulating our economy. In 1930, Congress manipulated markets, passing the Smoot-Hawley Act to raise tariffs to protect Americans against lower foreign prices. Retaliation followed; foreign trade froze; the Depression deepened.

War-mongers are rife in Washington and in Moscow; the military-industrial complex may still rule. When profits beckon, war is tempting, and a tiny spark can start a great conflagration. Sanctions may be the tinderbox that sets our world aflame!

Louis Goldman, Ashland

A loss to local history

The recent fire at Phoenix's Rose House and the earlier fire at Colver House were not just losses for Phoenix, but were losses for the heritage for the whole Rogue Valley.

No, the houses were not in Ashland or Talent, where there are more folks with the money to invest in restoration, nor were they frilly Victorian or Craftsman homes. The Colver House was truly historic, but left to decay beyond restoration, and the Rose House was a simple family home, but empty, boarded up, both vulnerable.

But both were a part of early Bear Creek Valley life and their destruction is a great loss to local history. We need to protect more strongly what is left of pre-World War I and pioneer homes, the soul of our valley. I've been a resident of Phoenix for only 11 years, but I walk the neighborhoods regularly and feel the loss deeply.

Steve McChrystal, Phoenix

Rattles were a clue

Your paper never ceases to amaze me as to what you decide should be front-page news. A woman that is supposedly "fascinated" by snakes, yet can't tell the difference between a common bull snake and a rattlesnake. Gosh, I would think her first clue should have been that one snake has rattles.

Sharyn Jinx Arthur, Gold Hill