The sound of freedom
I live beneath the southern approach to Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport. Prior to the 2017 Sentry Eagle Open House and air show in Klamath Falls last weekend, a few military jets arrived in the Rogue Valley — F/A-18-E Hornets and V-22 Ospreys, I believe.
Hearing the military aircraft flying overhead is always a thrill for me as I worked on several types for many years in the Navy and as a federal employee. The military jets are high-performance aircraft, so their exhaust is a bit louder the commercial aircraft, but to me it is the sound of freedom!
Let's remember to thank those pilots and ground crews for their service.
State of Jefferson?
I have often wondered why it is that we in the southern part of the state don't seem to be heard by our Legislature in promoting certain legislation, no matter how hard our folks in Salem try. Have you ever had the same thoughts?
Well, using the area/population statistics developed by our state Sheriff's Association, this might be part of the problem: The state of Oregon has 36 counties, covering 97,572 square miles and inhabited by 4,028,977 people.
In the north, six of these counties (Clackamas, Columbia, Hood River, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill) account for only 5,009 square miles, but have 1,941,531 inhabitants, who have a tendency to lean a bit to the left (liberal Democrats). In the south, six of these counties (Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake) account for 25,655 square miles, and have only 501,325 inhabitants, a goodly number of whom seem to lean a bit to the right (conservative Republicans).
There appears to be some sort of disparity here, huh? Is anybody interested in the State of Jefferson?
Just say no
When a paid signature gatherer innocently asks you to sign the “Stop Healthcare Taxes” petition (Referendum 301) please do not sign it!
The background: The referendum originators are misleading the public by calling a newly passed bill, the Health Care Provider Tax (HB 2391), a “sales tax on your health care premiums.” This bill passed both state houses in Salem with a bipartisan majority of more than 60 percent! It is a finely crafted compromise, agreed to by hospitals and insurance companies, to allow themselves to be taxed for the express purpose of using the $660 million raised to match an additional $1.9 billion in federal funds. These combined funds would provide care for 370,000 Oregonians and reduce the health care insurance premiums for an additional 200,000 for the next two years!
If the sponsors of the “Stop Healthcare Taxes” petition manage to gather the necessary 59,000 signatures before Oct. 5, the Health Care Provider Tax bill would be immediately placed on hold. This could interrupt the health care coverage for the above 570,000 Oregonians for the next six months, or longer.
Let our message be: Stop playing politics with our health care! Just say no to the petition.
Time for universal care
With the failure of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “skinny bill” and, for the time being, efforts to repeal and replace the ACA, millions of Americans at risk of losing their health care can breathe a sigh of relief.
In addition to loss of coverage, said bill would’ve raised premiums, defunded invaluable care providers such as Planned Parenthood, and repealed the employer mandate. Its defeat is a victory for all Americans. That said, the ACA is not a perfect piece of legislation, nor should it be the be-all-end-all of a decades-long effort to expand health care coverage. Rather, our focus should be on universal health care.
Universal health care would improve upon the flaws of the ACA, expanding risk pools and decreasing per-person costs, regulating skyrocketing pharmaceutical prices and allowing for the creation of health plans optimized for communities, to name a few. While it goes without saying the ACA is better than Trumpcare or no health care at all, we can and should do better.