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Letters to the Editor August 14

Lies about health care plan create fear

I have been a hospice nurse and social worker for 17 years here in the Rogue Valley. We have made incredible progress in providing compassionate and state-of-the-art care at the end of life. An important part of this care involves having frank and thoughtful discussions about end-of-life wishes and helping with living wills, while people are still able to be involved in these decisions.

Over the past week or so, rumors and false information about this subject have been circulating on talk radio and blogs, related to President Obama's health care plan. Some are saying he is proposing appointing a "death panel" to decide who should receive care or not. Others claim that people will be "forced" to consult with government workers about how they want to die, some people perhaps even being urged to choose assisted-suicide.

These preposterous lies are creating fear and confusion, especially among the elderly, who don't know what to believe. I worry that this false information and fear being spread will set us back, just as we are making progress in end-of-life care and decision-making. And the president is simply wanting to encourage and support people by giving them the "option," paid by Medicare, to have a discussion with their doctors about their end-of-life wishes. This is a good thing! I am aghast at how low people have gone: that intelligent, thoughtful debate about something as important as health care has been replaced by angry shouting matches in town hall meetings (where no one is listening) and swastikas being painted on congressmen's doors. Shame on us.

Katie Ortlip


Obama's health care plan raises red flags

There is no doubt that our health care system needs an overhaul. However, let us not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

The rush to judgment on the Obama health care proposal should raise a red flag. Has anyone, including Obama, read the 1,000 plus pages carefully?

Listening to Obama, details are not only hazy but unavailable at the moment. What is mentioned frequently is the millions without insurance. Some choose not to have insurance. Does anyone think Bill Gates needs insurance? The young and single view themselves as indestructible. The millions of illegals are simply not eligible.

What concerns me, and should concern every senior citizen, is the talk of massive cutbacks in Medicare funding! It should be obvious why. I believe most seniors are reasonably satisfied with Medicare.

More worrisome, with the health care infrastructure being overwhelmed with millions of additional participants, surely rationing and long waiting will result. I have heard of patients in Canada and Britain waiting years for needed surgery.

This brings up cost effectiveness. Will a faceless bureaucrat overrule your doctor and decide it is not cost-effective for Grandma to have that needed knee replacement?

Give serious thought to Obama's health care proposals.

Carl J. Sandberg


Let's get Ashland's new fire station built

Thank you Planning Commission for the quick approval of the first step (see Aug. 12 article "Fire station plans OK'd").

I can't believe that we have our firefighters, who risk their lives to save our lives and property, housed in such a deplorable fire station.

We need to take better care of those who care for all of us.

Let's get this done and not worry about variances, as this is not a normal private business venture.

Donald Politis


What are sensible priorities for the city?

In their wisdom our City Council decided not to tie into the Medford intertie for water. Now we are facing our usual summer shortage of same, and under consideration is the prospect of supplying water to the highway rest stop, not to mention sewer services, which are also not what they should be. At the same time a new fire station is also contemplated. What are sensible priorities?

Maxine Scott


School building levy would hurt economy

Give me a break! The Ashland School District wants to levy a $1-per-square-foot tax on new residential construction, adding $2,500 to the cost of a 2,500-square-foot house — the average size home being built in Ashland. What are they thinking? (See Aug. 11 article "School district will consider building tax.")

The building of new houses has tanked during this recession. The monies received for the building department has tanked in the process, leading to the layoff of staff because there's nothing to do.

Ashland is pushing for affordable housing. Is adding up to $25,000 per building permit going to help that? Losers: framing contractors, cement contractors, siding contractors, real estate agents, plumbers, electricians, painters, cabinet builders, landscape contractors, fence builders, architects and the city through fees.

What a stupid idea! Do they want to stop all construction in Ashland? What would the impact of this decision do to the economy of our town?

My business is down 60 percent since the recession started two years ago. After being in business in Ashland since 1978 and adding to our local economy, that decision might just drive me and all of the other building contractors out of business in Ashland. Everyone in Ashland, please stand up and oppose this ridiculous tax.

Robert Munroe

owner, The Cabinet Works, Ashland