Not all are blessed

My letter is in response to Valerie Smullen’s letter of July 2 regarding health insurance reform.

I applaud her that she is blessed with good health and eats right, exercises and does other things in moderation. My son, then 39, did every single thing listed in her letter. What he did not have was health insurance, so he put off the tests needed to diagnose the pain and numbness in his right hand and arm.

When he finally got health insurance, the diagnosis was spinal cancer. The cancer was removed, but he was left almost entirely paralyzed. He fought his way back to only partial paralysis, lost his job because he can’t work, lost his health insurance again and couldn’t afford to buy it, and didn’t qualify for Medicaid.

I am for a single-payer health care system where all are covered, regardless of financial circumstances. Smullen is blessed with good health and financial well-being. Not all of us are so fortunate and it is not our fault if we are not. Join me now and call your members of Congress and tell them to pass a single-payer health care insurance bill.

Joyce Puccini Chapman

Shady Cove

Help the Railroad Park

In regard to the Medford Railroad Park running out of steam (July 3), there must be some way to help this valuable Medford asset survive.

The reporter failed to address one possible solution. Forget about increasing donations. How about charging a small fee per person for the privilege of riding a train?

Certainly, the smile on our kid’s faces is worth $3, $2 or $1 per rider. The increase in the coffers of the train organization would please the staff at the park as well. How the old, dedicated volunteers would replace themselves with younger, dedicated volunteers is a whole other problem.

Dan Heath

Medford

Workers' voices missing

The increase in Oregon’s minimum wage that took effect July 1 was big news, and this paper rightly made it the lead story. But what a strange story! The headline, “Wage bumps and bruises,” set the tone, which was of the difficulties to come.

Difficulties for whom? The small-business owners interviewed for the story. Conspicuously absent were the voices of the minimum wage earners whose hourly compensation will rise 50 cents, thus lending a little relief to their struggle for survival. Because make no mistake, it will remain a struggle.

When the multi-step rise in Oregon’s minimum wage was legislated last year, Daniel Hauser, policy analyst with the Oregon Center for Public Policy, said, “To secure a safe and decent — yet modest — living standard, a single parent raising two children would need to earn about $26 per hour in mostly rural Oregon, and close to $30 per hour in the Portland and Eugene metro areas.” Now, it’s too much to expect that in the U.S., where the federal minimum wage is $7.25, we’ll agree that every working family should enjoy a safe and decent living standard. But could that be because their voices are so frequently suppressed?

Herbert Rothschild

Phoenix

A starting point

Conservatives like Rand Paul object to many of the Affordable Care Act (misnamed, for sure) provisions because they believe that large, expensive government programs just don’t work.

Actually, I agree with them, and will point to the U.S. Congress as a perfect example. If “repeal and replace” is the order of the day, perhaps this is where it should start.

Stan Loer

Grants Pass