It might be too late to save the Boundary Waters. During our recent canoe trip off the Gunflint Trail, we found green water in Little Caribou Lake. It was so thick, something like pea soup, that we couldn’t see the blades of our paddles below the canoe. I called the Forest Service office in Grand Marais just to make sure, and was told that, yes, it was algae bloom. Fire and wind and flood aren’t enough, I guess. Mother Nature seems determined to use every weapon at her command to change the landscape in northern Minnesota. One of these days in the not-so-distant future, the Forest Service will be forced to close the Boundary Waters altogether because it won’t be safe for any of us to go there.
Jim Ganahl, Cook, Minn.
‘MEDICARE FOR ALL’
Why the middle-ground proposals won’t do the job
The main problem with finding a middle ground on “Medicare for All” (editorial, Aug. 24) by offering Medicare and/or Medicaid as “public options” is that it will be impossible to achieve the projected cost savings because it leaves the current system in place, with all its inefficiencies and inability to negotiate prices.
For example, in Minnesota, Medicaid has been privately administered for years, with no audit to prove whether or not private insurance companies have been able to save money or be more efficient, as was predicted. Medicare is administered publicly, but Medicare Advantage, which is administered privately, cherry-picks healthier subscribers and has cost significantly more than regular Medicare.
The current administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposes further tinkering with our current system by expanded ACO (accountable care organization) projects, none of which has been proven to save money or expand care to more people, but rather cause more administrative waste and expense. Why spend all this energy and money on tinkering when we have plenty of evidence, both in the U.S. and abroad, that a true single-payer system could get us to our goals, affordable high-quality health care for all?
Dr. Carol Krush, Minneapolis
The writer is a retired family physician.
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Sometimes you have to spend more money up front to pay less in the future, like for more efficient autos or appliances. My husband and I look for the “break-even” point: How far out before our expenditure becomes more like savings? We recently bought new phones to replace our nearly obsolete models. Our plan was to buy the least expensive upgrade, going for $100 apiece. But we learned that a much better, newer version was available for just $25 more. Added to that was its ability to make use of “hot spots,” which meant we could let go of our cellular service. We figured the phones would pay for themselves within a year and after that our savings (with much better phones and, so far, better service) would be around $65 a month.
The editorial regarding the “single-payer” health system requiring at least $32.6 trillion additional federal spending over the next 10 years, said the existing system’s annual expenditure was $3.5 trillion in 2017, and that by 2026 it’s predicted to be $5.5 trillion.
If the $32.6 trillion added cost for a “single-payer” health system in the next decade is averaged, it is less than the existing cost, $3.5 million. In the future it would be even less. These are averages and maybe pretty loose numbers (not mine!), but it appears that, well, sometimes you have to spend more money up front to pay less in the future. Add to that savings all the other ways that Medicare for All or a single-payer health system would improve the quality of life for millions, and I have a hard time understanding what the real objection is. Does it come from those megacorporations that stand to lose when individual citizens gain?
Sherry Machen, Plymouth
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The editorial about began with a reference to George Mason University’s Blahous study on Medicare costs, which claimed a change to a single-payer health system would add an additional $32 trillion in federal spending in 10 years. That study shouldn’t at all be taken seriously. It was commissioned by the Koch brothers, the same brothers who spent $100 million on studies that deny human-influenced climate change. When the brothers spend money, they expect researchers to parrot back to them what they want to hear. In their Medicare for All study, the Koch brothers didn’t even bother to find an economist, or couldn’t find an economist to say what they wanted to hear. The study’s author, Charles Blahous, is a chemist.
Medicare for All is based in the simple proposition that government will save consumers the excess costs from private insurance corporations, costs that currently go to stockholders and CEOs and result in high overhead and administration funding. Further savings and better results will come as workers are no longer confined into network and denied access for important health needs. American productivity likely will be increased as workers are also freed from dependence on employers for basic health care access, and their native entrepreneurship will add fuel to the nation’s economic engine. All this should be born in mind as people consider the merits of Medicare for All.
Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis
MOLLIE TIBBETTS KILLING
Senate candidate Karin Housley shouldn’t have gone there
It was shocking to me to read that U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley has used the tragic death of Mollie Tibbetts for political mileage (“Iowa murder pulled into Minn. race,” Aug. 23). If she has decided to capitalize on this kind of heartbreaking news to make points in her campaign, it forces me to question her fitness for office from a moral perspective. This isn’t how we do Minnesota politics — sensational, horrific news twisted for political gain.
Unfortunately there are crimes like this one committed throughout the country by people of all colors and in many circumstances. I have met with Housley several times during the years she has represented me from the Stillwater area. She has listened and asked questions and has been open for conversation. Unfortunately, she feigned support and voted predictably with her party against important environmental issues in Minnesota. That’s politics as politics goes. Capitalizing on tragedy and sorrow for some press, though, is a kind of politicking I find inexcusable. I hope Housley could find it in her soul to apologize to the Tibbetts family.
Karen Hannah, Stillwater
‘Dressing modestly’ in no way implies dressing sloppily
Wow! In what thesaurus did an Aug. 20 letter writer find “frumpy,” “dowdy” and “sloppy” listed as synonyms for modesty? And since when does dressing modestly (the letter was in response to an Aug. 16 Variety article on that topic) imply that a woman isn’t well-groomed or doesn’t want to look good?
My dictionary defines modesty as “a disinclination to call attention to oneself” and “observing conventional proprieties in speech, behavior or dress.” Either definition allows for innumerable choices of style and design. Dressing modestly does not mandate wearing jeans, loose clothing or head coverings; they were selected by the author for comfort.
Lynn M. Carroll, Minneapolis
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Having taught college courses on gender for a number of years and having had discussions with many students about women’s clothing choices, I generally found that the attire that females choose in order to look good for other women — as the Aug. 20 letter writer believes they do — invariably matched the styles that men find erotic. I have concluded that as long as men hold a disproportionate amount of power in society, appealing to male preferences will offer a modicum of power to women, even in relation to other women, particularly when the standard of attractiveness is male-oriented.
John Robertson, Minneapolis