fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Letters, April 24

Supporting Judge Ortega

I write this letter in support of Court of Appeals Judge Darlene Ortega’s re-election.

I have known Judge Ortega for almost 20 years. During the first eight, I appeared in front of Judge Ortega as an attorney representing litigants in the Court of Appeals. Since 2011, I have served as a Circuit Court judge in Jackson County.

Judge Ortega has always impressed me as a hard-working, intelligent and fair judge, even when she disagreed with me as an attorney or trial judge. Through my work with Judge Ortega on the Judicial Leadership and Education Committee, I observed first-hand her dedication to improving the judiciary, her concern with protecting vulnerable populations, particularly children and the elderly, and her commitment to the rule of law. She has my support for her re-election.

Benjamin Bloom, presiding judge

Jackson County Circuit Court

Medicare under attack

Traditional Medicare is our nation’s most efficient health care program with administrative costs under 5%. An effort to privatize it — named Direct Contracting Entities (DCE) — introduced by Center for Medicare Services (CMS) met with such opposition that it is being shelved. But rather than protecting traditional Medicare, CMS announced a nearly identical privatization program called “ACO REACH”, to replace it next January.

REACH retains all the toxic elements of DCE: private investor middlemen permitted to charge up to 40% of Medicare payments as profit and overhead; automatic enrollment of Medicare seniors without their consent; medical bill “upcoding” to increase profits; restricting patient care, with the likely outcome of replacing traditional Medicare entirely. Virtually all private firms can become REACH insurers, even Wall Street hedge funds. Beyond increasing allowable profit margins to 40%, other major giveaways further reduce the financial risks of REACH insurers and threaten the viability of traditional Medicare.

Seniors can help protect Medicare by asking Congress, especially Sen. Ron Wyden, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, to pressure CMS to kill this dangerous pilot program before it starts killing seniors.

Find more information about the REACH program at Healthcare for All Oregon, Rogue Valley: www.hcao-rv.org.

Lauri Hoagland, chair, HCAO-RV


Ivend Holen, treasurer