Letters to the Editor for March 16, 2017

Inspired to fight Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association’s 2017 Facts and Figures report found a soaring prevalence, lack of effective treatment and enormous costs for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

In Washington State, with over 110,000 people living with Alzheimer’s, it is the third leading cause of death in our state. The 5.5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s will grow to almost 16 million by 2050.

The federal government has been making progress towards shining light on Alzheimer’s and other dementias, having doubled the small research budget in the last three years. Congress requires the National Institutes of Health scientists to submit a professional judgment budget each fiscal year to help guide the size of funding for Alzheimer’s research.

I urge Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler to support the scientists’ recommendation of a $414 million increase in Alzheimer’s research. This increase will help achieve the national goal of a treatment for Alzheimer’s by 2025.

I care about this because my father died of advanced Alzheimer’s disease, and now my mother is suffering from dementia. The challenges of everyday life — when you don’t remember what has happened or what you still need to do — wear not only on the person, but also on the caregiver.

Visit ALZ.org or call the Alzheimer’s Association at (800) 272-3900, to learn more and get involved with the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Beth Bonnett, Kelso

Concerns about proposed American Health Care Act

This is an open letter I sent to Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler regarding Ryan/Trumpcare, which I would like to share here as well.

Dear Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler,

My name is Colleen Markey, and I live in Camas, Washington. I am fortunate enough that my household is in the top five percent income bracket. That said, I support being taxed to help pay for health insurance for all. While the ACA isn’t perfect, it has a good foundation that has resulted in a positive change for our country.

I was disturbed to hear that you are actually supportive of Ryan/Trumpcare. I thought you supported being fiscally responsible? The American Health Care Act is a travesty of a bill. It does not provide even the existing level of medical coverage to Americans and Washingtonians, and the Budget Office has not even had the opportunity to estimate the cost of enacting this bill. But all analysis I’ve seen points to this bill costing billions more than the ACA, and covering less. That is the definition of a bad deal.

According to The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, “Mr. Trump’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare would cost roughly $330 billion over ten years including estimates of faster economic growth and $550 billion under conventional scoring. The policies would cause almost 21 million people to lose their insurance coverage, as the replacement health care policies would only cover five percent of the 22 million individuals who would lose coverage upon the repeal of Obamacare. This would almost double the number of Americans without health insurance.”

This bill is designed to fail our medical institutions and our people. Health care premiums are expected to rise dramatically with this bill, making it unattainable for those who really need it. Giving a tax break to the rich is not worth the cost of hurting the middle class and poor. Giving lip service to say, “Well there are policies that are available to purchase,” but are so expensive that they become unattainable except for the rich, is ridiculously cruel and shameful. Giving “tax credits” to those who don’t make enough to use them is deceitful and jaded.

Forcing people into a high risk pool just makes health insurance completely unaffordable for the exact people who really need it.

I am a 34-year-old who has advanced stage (read terminal) cancer. I am fortunate that my husband works at a large corporate company that provides health insurance. Sadly, many of my friends with cancer, are not as fortunate.

Finding out that you have cancer, just as you are trying to make your way in the world, is devastating. As a young adult, there has not yet been enough time to build up a nest egg. Try paying off student loans, rent and now, medical bills when you are too sick to work. It’s not pretty.

It’s a roll of the dice if it’s going to be you or someone else with the big ticket medical bill. Everyone should have at least a minimum of health insurance, because it is never known when tragedy is about to strike.

No truer words exist than when John Bradford wrote, “There but by the grace of God go I.”

Being forced to pay for “high risk pool” insurance when you are already sick is deplorable.

The Affordable Care Act, (Obamacare), was rigorously debated and received buy in from stakeholders. Ryan/Trumpcare has not. What political horse trading have you gotten yourself into that you would support something as morally repugnant as this bill? Stand up for your constituents and the fiscally responsible choice. Reject Ryan/Trumpcare. It is a fiscal disaster.

In addition to financially being a bad deal, Ryan/Trumpcare gets rid of obvious protections that the ACA currently provides. Ryan/Trumpcare would allow employers the right to demand genetic information from its employees. Hunting to put people in higher risk pools is repugnant. Genetic information is private, and government and employers need to keep out. Protect the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. Please do not support Ryan/Trumpcare.

Using this bill to defund Planned Parenthood, and all the good it does is morally abhorrent. The decision to have an abortion should only be between a patient and the doctor. Forcing insurers to not cover abortions is Big Government in action. Shame on any “small government” touting Republican who would support this measure in Trumpcare. The government needs to stay out of decision making between a patient and her doctor. How can you stand by and support a bill interfering this much in medical decision making processes? Keep government out of doctor/patient decisions. Please do not support Ryan/Trumpcare.

I understand you want to improve health care. Please then support something that actually covers more Washingtonians and protects our existing rights. I understand you are under a lot of pressure to toe the party’s line, but it is your job to stand up for your constituents and do what’s right. This is bad legislation, and you know it. Be strong, and resist this bill.

Thank you,

Colleen Markey, Camas