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Letters, Aug. 13

Stubbed toe can lead to financial ruin

I watched the last Democratic debate in wonder as the more conservative leaning candidates talked about how people with private insurance loved it. I sure don’t know who these “people” with “great” insurance are.

My friends and family with private insurance can barely afford it. When my dad got cancer my parents nearly lost their home.

Recently my hubby stubbed his toe and broke it. No biggie, right? Wrong! When the doctor ran our insurance, he asked for half up front just to schedule surgery. We called the hospital, the more affordable option, the cost estimated was $20,000. Our deductible, $5,000, and then on top of that, 20%. Too bad it isn’t our only medical bill.

Not doing it wasn’t an option. So we’ll worry about how to pay for it when he’s walking and working. However, all I can think is there are others that would remain lame, permanently damaged because above minimum wage with “great” insurance isn’t enough.

So yeah — we have insurance, It sure isn’t “great.”

Please, for the love of God, can we join the rest of the First World and have a single payer plan?

Jessy Hummel

White City

Revisit gun laws

A friend called after the shooting in Texas and said that for the first time ever, he was nervous about going to Costco.

I watched a news story where people panicked in Times Square and ran for their lives when a motorcycle backfired. Another friend told me that she was afraid to go to Walmart to pick up her medication.

Our children have to learn to hide from “bad guys” during lock down drills in school.

Yet — we allow young men to walk around our streets with AK-47s and purchase these weapons without background checks. We figured something would happen after Sandy Hook, and yet — we keep waiting. When did our world turn upside down?

Hunters assure me that they can kill a deer without an AK-47. Isn’t it time to revisit our gun laws here in Oregon?

Arlene Aron

Medford

Agencies rush to spend

As I read this front-page article I was taken back to my time in the U.S. Air Force. I was chief of research and development for one of the commands. The budgeted funding for this office was a few million dollars.

When I took over the position I found it difficult to justify the budgeted amount. My superior asked me to write up a request for twice what I needed, knowing that up to half of the amount would be declined. I was further advised that I needed to make sure all of the current year’s funding was spent. If not, there could be little rationale for submitting a larger budget request for the next year.

There is a bureaucratic theory that I believe in. All levels of government are subject to “spend it or lose it.” The waste that is created in the city, county, state and federal budgeting processes needs to be curbed. Requests need to be questioned. Audits need to be performed. And, occasionally, heads need to roll.

I was surprised to be reading about last-minute spending waste in Oregon’s departments. Have our money watchers been totally unaware of the real-world budget and spending realities?

Rob Duncan

Medford

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