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Letters to the Editor

Readers write: Letters to the editor, June 25, 2017

  • Author: Alaska Dispatch News
  • Updated: June 23
  • Published June 23

Alaskans' free ride is over

I agree with Glenn Cravez's Compass article (ADN, June 20). Legislators, the time is overdue for compromise. Cap the PFD and generate revenue from an income and sales tax. The free ride is over. We citizens have to pay for the services our community receives like the rest of Americans do.

— Joan Clover
Anchorage

Kochs meddle with Legislature

Really. Really? Prosperity for America running ads in Alaska? The Koch brothers are back in Alaska. Not for opening a business, but to meddle in the Alaska Legislature, pointing fingers. Why not just publish all the legislators' pictures instead of a select few? We need solutions, not political ads filled with the same old verbiage. Just saying.

— Beverly Metcalfe
Anchorage

Signs should warn runners

Regarding the teen who was killed by a bear while running on a trail: There are signs to watch for bears at the trailheads. The signs should also say: "Danger. Bears are predators that chase prey that runs. Running down this trail could stimulate an attack."

It's happened before. So sorry, and sad for the family.

The Parks Department knows this about bears. I think they bear some responsibility for not warning runners.

— Jane Rose Cain
Idaho Falls, Idaho

View from space is universal

I might add a little asterisk to my friend Frank Baker's rather haunting letter. ("US foolish to turn back on Paris accord," ADN, June 15). In a Sunday sermon at my church, there was shown a video of our Earth as seen by astronauts from outer space. These astronauts represented various countries. On seeing Earth from outer space, one astronaut was quoted:

"The first day or so, we all pointed to our countries. The third and fourth days, we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day, we were aware of only one EARTH."

— Suetan Bin Salman al-Suad, astronaut

If one looks at the picture of that blue dot, suspended in space as it is, one is struck by reality. We are One. One Earth. One planet. One people, charged with caring for our Mother Earth, and each other. One cannot deny that.

— Kathi Moon
Anchorage

Fatal mauling of young runner raises a host of questions

I was shocked and horrified by the fatal bear mauling of a young boy during a race last Sunday. It brought to mind other incidents that have occurred over the years and I can't help but ask questions about the way we coexist with large and possibly dangerous wildlife. Here, in this special place, when I exit my front door, I am in moose and bear country. As are we all, even in the urban Anchorage Bowl. And a survey done several years ago indicated the majority of us like living around wildlife.

I have questions.

Was the bear acting predatorily, or did its chase instincts kick in when it observed the running boy?

Are race participants prepared by race officials as to what to do when/if they encounter a bear or moose?

Should they be required to carry pepper spray?

Could races be held in other venues that may be less challenging, but safer?

Could the bear have become habituated by campers/homeowners who did not secure food or left garbage out?

Was it necessary for ADFG to kill three innocent bears to get the right one?
I don't know the answers to these questions, but I think that we all need to consider them. We need further information about what happened from ADFG.

Perhaps one answer is to consider our behavior. I think we can reduce incidents like these if we pay more attention to how we need to prepare ourselves should the unthinkable happen. And I don't think approving a hunt is the answer; we don't need to kill more innocent bears and think that will make us safer and prevent further badly ending encounters.

We need reason, not reaction.

— Susan Valenti
Anchorage

Murkowski must fight for us

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is carefully considering changes to the health care law. Her vote could tip the Senate either way. I am grateful for her caution.

As details of the Senate bill emerge (especially how it meshes with the House's), I hope she focuses on these questions.

First, does the Senate support the House in defunding Planned Parenthood? Alaska women (and men) are counting on her to protect these basic services. Since 1977 Congress has prevented federal funding for abortions. Now the House would prevent Planned Parenthood funding for cancer screenings and birth control.

Second, will Alaskans be priced out of health care by slashing the tax credits they get under current law? The House bill increases costs by an average of $12,000 for Alaskans buying coverage in the marketplace. That makes Alaska the hardest-hit state by far. Murkowski must fight for us.

Next, does the Senate bill keep Medicaid viable for Alaska? For the first time ever, the House version caps and cuts the program and shifts the burden to states. At risk is the health of 184,000 Alaskans covered under current law. That's nearly one in five of our family, friends and neighbors.

The stakes are enormous. Sen. Murkowski is in a tough spot. I hope she stands up to the pressure of party politics and votes to protect Alaskans, not punish them.

— Sue C. Johnson
Anchorage

GOP's 'Obamacare' replacement is nothing but an abomination

So much for "repealing 'Obamacare.' " Instead, the Senate's bill guts Medicaid, which has worked well since 1965. Medicaid pays for one in two childbirths, and nursing home/assisted living care for two out of every three seniors. Slashing Medicaid funding will result in more stillborn babies, more seniors living on the street and more hardworking Alaskans trying to survive without health care. Now we know why Washington, D.C., Republican leadership drafted this bill behind closed doors and kept it a secret for so long: because it is an abomination and indefensible by anyone with a conscience.

— Kevin D. McGee
president, NAACP
Anchorage

That poop bag by the trail may be waiting for owner to return

Dear Rick Garner,

Regarding why so many dog walkers leave poop bags by the trail: I don't know about other dog walkers, but I can tell you why I sometimes leave a bag of poop while out with my dog. It's really quite simple — it depends on the distance to the nearest garbage can. If my dog poops while on a walk or hike, and I know that the nearest garbage can is a mile and a half up the trail but the one behind me is only a half mile away, I put the filled, sealed bag right beside the opposite side of the trail so that I will remember to pick it up on my return and deposit it in the garbage. I admit, sometimes the bag has already been taken and deposited in the garbage by some kind soul, but I just "pay it forward" and pick up any other bags I may find along my walk that I assume have been left for the same reason. You're welcome.

— Bonnie Swanson
Anchorage

Bear smarts beat arrows

Re: Too many Bowl bears. Just what we need, a bunch of bow hunters out to prove they can kill something beside a target. We'll have live bears with arrows in them, along with moose, deer, dogs, cats and most likely other people, yellow vest or not. Why not just become bear wise, or is that too much to ask?

— Bruce Eierman
Anchorage

Newspaper budget and state budget — are they similar?

I filled out the ADN Reader Survey to tell the newspaper what I'd like them to keep and what they could drop, with a note saying that I wished they could find a way to maintain a bigger paper.

Now it dawns on me that the ADN's budget is in the same predicament as our state government budget: Some people are upset about cuts but don't want to pay more, and some would be willing to pay extra for more content. Maybe the solution is the same in both cases — some of us need to stop being so cheap and spend some of our own money to get what we want.

— Cheryl Lovegreen
Anchorage

Dismantling ACA is no joke

An elephant and 13 white, Republican senators walk into an office. … This is no joke. The dismantling of ACA on which so many depend is no laughing matter.
These 13 men have the self-proclaimed task of reforming ACA. As a woman who supports Planned Parenthood, coverage for pre-existing conditions and affordable health care for all, I am worried. How will women fare? Will the plan be fair?

Maybe I am worrying needlessly. After all, these 13 men have all had mothers and grandmothers. Some may have wives, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, cousins, girlfriends and possibly a paramour. So what could possibly go wrong?
As we were taught as young girls over many, many decades, we women shouldn't "worry our pretty little heads over such matters." That is probably why there was not enough room in the office for: Murkowski, R-Alaska; Feinstein, D-Calif.; Harris, D-Calif.; Hirono, D-Hawaii; Ernst, R-Iowa; Duckworth, D-Ill.; Warren, D-Mass.; Collins, R-Maine; Stabenow, D-Mich.; Klobuchar, D-Minn.; McCaskill, D-Miss.; Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Fischer, R-Neb.; Hassan, D-N.H.; Shaheen, D-N.H.; Masto, D-Nev.; Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Cantwell, D-Wash.; Murray, D.-Wash.; and Baldwin, D-Wis. Make the time to send these female senators a message that we are counting on them to protect us. Also, include a recipe for your favorite cookies so that they can bake and serve them to the boys in the back room.

— Mary Navitsky
Anchorage

Medicaid cuts awful for Alaska

Over 17,000 Alaskans with disabilities receive over $107 million in federal funds to provide supports and services through Medicaid. The United States Senate is moving rapidly toward a plan to cut and cap the Medicaid program, and this should concern you as your Alaska neighbors with disabilities, including those who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), will lose critical care, support and services.

Right now, our Senate in D.C. is considering the same $830 billion cut to the Medicaid program as passed in the House. The Arc is greatly concerned that because home- and community-based services are "optional" services, states will cut them first if confronted with this greatly reduced federal commitment. States, including Alaska, may return to outdated modes of serving people with I/DD and other disabilities, congregating large numbers of individuals in facilities with inadequate staffing and no real-life opportunities. The per capita cap proposal will pave a path backward to institutional care and segregated services.

Over the last two decades, funding for home- and community-based services has grown because of widespread bipartisan support. These services have had bipartisan support, as disability knows no political or geographical, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. Services and programs from organizations like The Arc provide dignity to people with I/DD through assistance with meals, bathing and dressing, toileting, in-home skilled nursing and communication support, to name but a few.

Though Alaska is small in population, we have much power in Congress and the fate of Medicaid may well be in the hands of our Alaska senators. Please call Sen. Lisa Murkowski (202-224-6665) and Sen. Dan Sullivan (202-224-3004) and tell them to vote no on the proposed Medicaid cut in the proposed American Health Care Act. The Arc urges our Alaska community to call on them to continue the 52-year commitment to providing health care and long-term services and supports to persons with disabilities.

— Barbara Rodriguez-Rath
chief executive officer
The Arc of Anchorage

Alaskans would suffer from plan

The Trump health care plan currently at the Senate level in Congress drastically cuts Medicaid and Medicare in our country, with special consequences for Alaska, which has some of the highest medical costs of any state in our country.
The other issue is that it hits very hard at our rapidly aging population, which is increasingly in need of extra help and services. Our nursing homes are among the most expensive in the country.

Associations that represent hospitals, doctors, nurses and a variety of health-related organizations are against this bill as written.

The phasing back on Medicaid in conjunction with Medicare threatens all Americans.

Putting the control of Medicaid back into the hands of state government is a backward step for adequate health care for our most vulnerable citizens. Our current state Legislature at this time doesn't seem able to pass a budget or develop a long-term fiscal plan.

Contact Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan and Rep. Young with your thoughts, and do it soon.

— Jim Bailey
Anchorage

ADN losing customers

ADN wonders why revenue is down. Today (June 22) they devoted half a page to the Democratic loser in the Georgia House race. The few words they gave to the winner were under a heading criticizing President Trump. They ran an article titled "As Congress eyes cuts, rising costs on the horizon for elder care," but it turns out only 5 percent of Alaska's Medicaid recipients are over 65, so 95 percent are not elders. Alaskans voted overwhelmingly to elect President Donald J. Trump, yet ADN wastes ink on anti-administration cartoons. I'm surprised you have as many subscribers as you do. R.I.P., ADN.

— Arlene Carle
Anchorage

Our problem is that US senators have no skin in this game

The senators deciding what will be changed in our health care system do not have any skin in the game because the senators themselves are not affected by the outcome. The American people just want adequate health care in place when they need it: reliable, stable and not affected by the political winds blowing at the time. For many this is life or death; for others it can mean suffering and shorter lives. The coverage doesn't have to be "Cadillac" coverage, just adequate and fair.

Pre-existing conditions have been marginalized. This is due in part to the fact that at every level of government right now, those actually in the position to make decisions about this — senators, for example — have insurance that allows pre-existing conditions. Senators don't have to be concerned about this but the rest of us non-government-type folks sure do. Yes, there is a population of folks who are younger, healthier and do not have many bad health habits (like smoking, etc.), but everyone — even they — are just an accident or cancer diagnosis away from needing sufficient health care at the time, and then — guess what? — they've got a pre-existing condition too!

Don't we all want the U.S. to be a strong nation? We see ourselves that way now and have been that way throughout history. However, our country is only as strong as our people are strong and productive, and if inadequate health care access weakens us, we will not continue to be a strong country. The U.S. may have the very best health care system in the world, but U.S. citizens overall do not have good access to health care. And the U.S. Senate is now in the process of making this worse — all done in secret, without input from people most involved and not even, apparently, from women. (But since it's being done in secret, we don't even know if any women are involved in the process.)

If it is the name, the ACA or "ObamaCare," that bothers them, then just rename it. Abolish the name and call it anything you want, but don't jeopardize our people. Saying there will be suffering and death from cutting so many off from adequate care sounds melodramatic; I wish it were only melodrama.

I would feel far less vulnerable and afraid if only people with some skin in this game were making health care decisions for America right now.

— L.L. Raymond
Homer

The views expressed here are the writers' own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a letter under 200 words for consideration, email letters@alaskadispatch.com, or click here to submit via any web browser. Submitting a letter to the editor constitutes granting permission for it to be edited for clarity, accuracy and brevity. Send longer works of opinion to commentary@alaskadispatch.com.

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