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Letters, March 10

Health systems and coronavirus

I am a member of the Jackson County medical community employed by Asante Physician Partners. I know many people feel on edge about the novel coronavirus outbreak, wondering if it will spread into a severe pandemic. While I don’t know the answer to that, I do want the public to know that Oregon has been doing a great job for our residents. The Governor’s Office, the Oregon Health Authority, State Public Health Agencies, Jackson County Public Health, and Asante Health System have all been timely, transparent, and factual in their communication. They have provided continually updated guidelines to local health providers regarding recommended best practice for identifying those potentially exposed or infected. We all feel fully prepared to do our job for our community. Obviously our hearts are with those who have lost loved ones and we are all hoping this virus will be contained as quickly as possible. But I feel reassured by the committed, conscientious teams of professionals working tirelessly on our behalf.

Debra Koutnik, M.D., APP Ashland FP/Pediatrics


Lawmakers leave town

Alan DeBoer and Will Reishman wrote Sunday opinion pieces praising this action as a legitimate response to bullying; a permissible tactic to stop a poorly crafted piece of legislation. I have a different take.

DeBoer bemoans the tyranny of the majority. But what we are seeing is the tyranny of the minority.

When Republicans win elections they say “elections have consequences; get over it.” When Democrats win, Republicans try to change the rules, the norms, and alter the playing field.

They lose a governorship and try to limit executive power in lame-duck bills so the incoming governor will be less effective. They don’t like a bill that the House sends over, so let’s just deny it a hearing or a floor vote. The voters are against us; so let’s close polling places or move them without notice to the edge of town, or shout “fraud” and make the old and poor get photo IDs.

The electoral college and mal-apportionment in both House and Senate have created a huge power differential in favor of rural, mostly conservative citizens. Apparently, that power is not enough. When they cannot get their way, they must pick up the ball, leave the playground, and end the game.

Fred Krasner


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