Not really saving
In response to Lisa Koski ("Who needs insurance?" Letters, Dec. 24), you are not realistic saying your family chooses not to have health insurance because you live a "healthy lifestyle" and you "save" money for your infrequent doctor visits.
In 2006, my husband knew he had a congenital heart mitral valve defect. Our physician wanted a thorough cardiac workup. An echocardiogram showed the valve was in shreds. Very dangerous. Consulted with the thoracic surgeon, and took numerous tests.
The procedure consists of cutting open the chest, removing the ribs from the sternum (breast bone), the lungs and heart are stopped, cutting open the heart, repairing the valve, then restarting the heart. Six days in the cardiac unit. Luckily, he was in good general health and healed well.
I decided my runaway heart rate should be addressed. I wore a monitor for one month; my heart rate went up to 300 beats/minute at rest. An electrical problem, corrected by an out-patient procedure; I was home by supper. No more racing heart. But the procedure cost almost as much as my husband's surgery and hospital stay.
Just as he was about to return to work, he slipped after a rain and suffered multiple fractures near the wrist. Surgery, metal plate with 12 screws, weeks of therapy.
All this cost nearly $1 million. We have very good insurance; our portion was mainly small co-payments. I am a medical professional, and we live a healthy lifestyle. No poor diet or obesity. But accidents occur all the time.
Do you have millions socked away for major surgeries or cancer treatment? If not, maybe Santa can help.
— Nancy Lieber-Lazzaro
What we need
In 2009 I confronted personal medical issues beyond a normal year's basic checkups. This gave me a close-up look at the insanity of our health insurance system. The medical professionals who helped me were unfailingly kind, caring, gentle, courteous, patient and supportive. I like to think their focus was on providing me with the best possible care, not its costs.
It is not only the insurance industry that controls health care costs. It is the hospitals' administrative bureaucracy, clinics, drug makers and medical offices that determine what procedures and medicines cost. Nowhere in the debate have these entities been mentioned. What does any medicine or procedure cost and how is that determined?
Choosing a doctor, making decisions about what procedure or medicine to try, figuring out how to pay what insurance won't cover — or even what insurance will cover — is a ridiculously tangled business, much like slogging through a maze in a thick fog. The insurance industry seems to exist solely to make profits and dodge any responsibility to help people in times of trouble.
Become knowledgeable consumers, we are told. Make sensible decisions, even if making those decisions requires knowledge the average person doesn't have. My choices are limited by my knowledge and my ability to pay. Where is the resource that will allow me to quickly and easily compare costs and choices? And how do we question whether these costs are reasonable or grossly out of line?
In vague response to the storm that Maggie Mae's has generated in your letters section, I think this type of behavior is leading to the ruination of this country. Long gone are the days when two people could have civil political disagreements, especially in the public forum.
I am not that old, and it is possible I just don't realize how bad it has been in the past. But in my 28 years, I feel like each presidential election has polarized people more and more, and required them to think less and less. I see no shades of belief anywhere, nothing of "I like x of yours, but not y — and here is WHY I think this."
The mentality has gone almost completely to "you're either with me or against me," and thinking is no longer encouraged. Without intelligent debate from all sides (not just the majority two), major issues cannot be effectively solved.
So maybe the most important question in response to Maggie Mae's omelet: So you think we need a new president? Why?
Without effective dialogue based on verifiable facts, our nation is quickly becoming one of sheep, following whichever leader or media outlet is screaming loudest at the time.
— Brian Densmore
We are long-time Colorado Springs residents, leaving for Gaza, Palestine. We, as Christians, travel there in a humanitarian effort to bring medical and school supplies and join in solidarity with victims of the Israeli military blockade and the ghettoized concentration camp Gaza has been turned into. We will be joined by over 1,000 people from 35 countries, including American and Israeli Jews, Muslims and Christians of all denominations.
Today, 1.5 million people, 80 percent refugees from elsewhere in Palestine, live in Gaza under siege; 20,000 civilian homes have been destroyed. Ninety percent of the water supply is contaminated. Bombings continue to take place daily but are unreported in our newspapers and TV.
There are persistent reports of American troops engaging in military maneuvers with Israel in the Negev desert, for what one could only guess. Won't anyone listen to the pleas of Semitic Arabs being murdered by the descendents of Semitic Jews who were murdered by Hitler?
We remember, as children, Americans criticizing the "good Germans" for doing nothing as the Holocaust took place. What are we doing in the midst of this new Holocaust? It seems we good Americans are remaining silent even in this holy season.
— Bill and Genie Durland
Outrageous! To see, to read and hear of the desperate plight of the homeless, in a city that touts itself as super-moral and religious, smacks of hypocrisy. People have been frostbitten; humans have died and been ignored when they are within sight of the center of Newport of the Rockies.
Those of us with pets would never treat them so poorly as the homeless [are treated]. Probably one of the very best people who ever lived was St. Francis of Assisi. He dealt daily with the desperate and afflicted; he was made a saint, though he was not helped much during his life, by the church.
One wonders if we need to herd our fat city fathers and religious leaders through homeless encampments like Gen. Eisenhower had the Nazis herded through the concentration camps at the end of World War II? One wonders if they would get the connection?
Also, can't we provide sanitation for the homeless, until the committee studies the problem? E-coli was blamed on pigeon droppings in Manitou Springs last summer; and then Monument and Fountain creeks send water to a number of states that use that water for drinking.
— David Barton Johnson
So long and farewell to the transit-riding public of Colorado Springs. It's been a pleasure serving each and every one of you.
We shall miss you all.
May each sunrise be full of beauty and love from our hearts to yours.
— Dan and Toni Francis
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn scored zero on the League of Conservation Voters environmental scorecard in 2008. Lamborn voted against the National Landscape Conservation System Act and Renewable Energy Conservation Tax Act. Interestingly, Lamborn uses beautiful Colorado backdrops on taxpayer dollar-generated, four-color brochures as if he's a champion of Colorado's breathtaking scenery.
But let's set the record straight. Lamborn, a native Kansan, is a major beneficiary of campaign contributions from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Arch Coal, Conoco Phillips and Halliburton. What Lamborn fails to realize is tourism, driven by the stunning beauty and outdoor activities in Colorado, generated $10 billion in revenue in 2007.
Kansas has no Forest Service or BLM lands, federal wilderness or mountains. Nothing against Kansas, but Lamborn is out of touch when it comes to why Colorado is a great state blessed with a stunning environment. Stewardship and sustainability of our resources are the cornerstones of keeping Colorado unique.
Why is Lamborn out of touch with his constituents? In the 2008 Republican primary, Lamborn received only 44 percent of 56,000 votes. He is infamous for not representing his constituents in rural counties in the 5th district. If one writes Lamborn on an issue he has no interest in, Lamborn will not bother to respond.
I pay considerable amounts in federal taxes every year, have a brother currently serving in Iraq, and am a registered Republican, yet I am often ignored by Lamborn. This exemplifies a politician out of touch with his environment, constituents and the state he's lucky to reside in.
— Taylor Blaise
Stop the dysfunction
Is anyone else feeling tired, confused and frustrated with what is going on in Congress? Many Americans are facing the most difficult economic times since the Great Depression, and our elected officials in Washington cannot forget about their politics and do what would be best for all Americans. Those of us who are employed and have go to work every day may not always agree or get along with our boss or co-workers, but we are still expected to work together because in the end, your job depends on whether you are a team player or not.
Are you part of the solution or the problem?
Our country is at a pivotal point with a struggling economy and unemployment so high; Congress appears to be grandstanding and obstructing any and all ideas for helping constituents. Partisan gridlock for the sake of party-line politics is not a solution, nor is it helping our morale. Unemployed, uninsured, homeless Americans don't care about politics; they long for concrete solutions so they can be productive members of society again.
In today's 24/7 news world, being partisan is easy and rewarding. Being willing to work together and compromise for the greater good, unfortunately, has become a high-risk position. Is there a statesman within either party? Please come forward now. This country cannot afford a dysfunctional legislative branch much longer.
— Nancy Gallant
"Mr. President, We are a Christian Nation" is the claim on a sign in front of a Woodland Park business. I find this very insulting and inflammatory. Christianity might be the predominant religion now, but we are certainly not a completely Christian nation. According to the U.S. Census, it is the declining religion amid an ever-growing population of Buddhists, Muslims and other religious beliefs. Furthermore, even agnostics and atheists are growing annually while Christianity numbers decline.
Beside the fact this business has total contempt for the non-Christian industrialists, inventors and workers who built America, what offends me most is the disregard for our military heroes who died in combat and were non-Christians.
Jews fought and died for this nation, from the Revolutionary War up to Afghanistan today; 21 American Jews have received the Congressional Medal of Honor since the Civil War and almost 70,000 earned combat decorations during WWII alone.
"Mr. President, We are a Christian Nation" is an uninformed, brainless statement that is a slap in the face to the thousands of non-Christian Americans who have died for this country. If this used-car salesman in Woodland Park is any kind of patriot at all, or has any respect for our veterans or the American flag, he would remove this bigoted statement immediately.
As Thomas Jefferson said, "Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man."
— Steve Plutt
My wife and I moved here about a year ago from Portland, Ore. We are familiar with Dignity Village in Portland, and have been puzzled why a solution like that has not been seriously proposed for the homeless here. Dignity Village is not perfect, but it does work. Getting access to all those trailers going to waste ("A real homeless solution," Between the Lines, Dec. 17) would go a long way toward getting it on the right track. In Portland, many of the Dignity Village residents have replaced tents with small sheds. The same could be done here.
Colorado Springs needs to consider an option like this. It is totally unacceptable to make it illegal to camp out along the creek. What do they plan to do, throw all these people in jail? And it is unacceptable to push them out of town. They are people; they need a place to live.
— Sam Miller
It's time again for all of us to ponder the past year, imagine the coming one, and to think deeply. It's therapeutic.
Here, to get you started, are some Tantalizing Questions for 2010:
Whatever happened to Condi Rice? Is "creation science" an oxymoron? Where can we buy Freedom Fries? If there were a Nobel War Prize, would Dick Cheney win?
Are Colorado voters ready to repeal TABOR?
Did Rush Limbaugh forge his own birth certificate?
Will the bankrupt Gazette go out of business as a casualty of the "free market" (motto: "Let the Devil Take the Hindmost"), and will that be an instance of being "hoisted on one's own petard"?
Will FOX News hire Don Rickles as an anchorman?
Jesus said, "The truth shall make you free," but for Rev. Donald Armstrong, will the truth do the reverse and put him in jail for embezzlement?
Will Douglas Bruce succeed in taking the tax burden off the people's shoulders and putting it where it really belongs?
Profound questions indeed. It's time to philosophize. Happy New Year.
— Larimore Nicholl
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