The egregious inability of lawmakers to address the outrageous rising cost of insulin is mind-boggling. But the solution that the state’s private, nonprofit insurers and hospitals should “temporarily” ease the burden by picking up the tab is impractical (“Private sector should help with insulin fix,” editorial, June 15). This sector is not responsible for the problem, and if it steps in and picks up the tab, that will become the solution. The refusal of legislators to reign in pharmaceutical companies’ outlandish, greedy profits is why we’re facing this.

Americans are paying the highest medication prices in the world. Commonplace, decades-established, inexpensive-to-produce drugs are being priced out of the market for most Americans. Insulin is the canary in the proverbial coal mine. How many of us will be unable to access our most standard drugs — statins, blood pressure drugs, blood thinners, biologics? Americans are dogged with diseases of obesity, hundreds of autoimmune diseases, the aging process, mental illness. How many more drugs will the pharmaceutical and insurance companies deprive us of access? The deprivation of insulin should have every Minnesotan chasing down their representatives for answers.

Claire Auckenthaler, Minneapolis

EMPLOYMENT

Ex-felons can — and want to — contribute when they get out

Kudos to Neal St. Anthony and the Star Tribune for two articles in the June 17 Business section about the power of employment and housing to support the success of ex-felons (“Minn. employers find worker pipeline” and “ ‘I needed a chance’ ”). The impressive track record of employers and halfway houses in treating, training and employing recently released offenders is evidence of the power of genuine second chances.

I was particularly struck by a case manager quoted in the article that “Most [recently released men and women] are afraid of committing another crime. But the pressure can lead them to mental health issues, drug or alcohol relapses.” Nobody wants to go back to prison, but the stigma and fear attached to the label “felon” is a powerful handicap. A couple of the men highlighted began dealing drugs as children, at 10 or 13 years old, before they understood the consequences of that easy money.

We all deserve a second chance. The current job market offers a huge opportunity for people who have been incarcerated to prove their worth — and it is working. CEO Isabel Day of Quality Ingredients praised the work ethic and attendance record of the ex-offenders her company has hired. Thank you, Minnesota Department of Corrections, Minnesota nonprofits and employers for turning the tight labor market into an opportunity for so many people to prove their worth. You are proving again that we all do better when we all do better.

Kathleen Coskran, Minneapolis

COLLEGE COSTS

College costs are ballooning, so let’s ... have a $250K inauguration?

The regents of the University of Minnesota plan to spend about $250,000 to inaugurate Joan Gabel as the new president (“U regents decry tuition proposal,” June 14). That amount would pay the tuition for a year for nearly 18 students at the Twin Cities campus and nearly 21 students at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

Can’t we just do an in-house inauguration and use that money to pay the tuition for 18 or 21 students?

Ted Storck, Morris, Minn.

IRAN

We can’t afford another endless war

Iran’s belligerence and violation of the terms of our former nuclear deal with the country is a direct result of President Donald Trump pulling us out of that deal for no reason (“Tensions between Iran and U.S. escalating,” June 18).

The deal is what kept Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. The bluster and warmongering rhetoric of the Trump administration has done nothing but encourage Iran to misbehave. We should come back to the negotiating table, not fight.

We cannot afford another endless war in the Middle East.

We cannot afford to abuse our military and waste the lives of Americans in another futile war of choice that will only lead to more chaos and instability.

I urge Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Tina Smith and my House representative, Pete Stauber, to take back the war powers of Congress, and use that authority to stop another unjust and needless war.

There can be no war with Iran.

Dan Shuman, Chisago City, Minn.

HATCH ACT

Kellyanne can express her opinions

Mike Meyers’ commentary regarding Kellyanne Conway’s alleged violations of the Hatch Act by her disparaging comments about contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination betrays a lack of knowledge of that act and its purpose (“What if we really Kellyanned the Hatch Act?” June 18). The opening statement of the act prohibits a federal employee from acts in an official capacity that influence an election. That vague statement is clarified by the last line of the act, which states that a federal employee may “express his opinion regarding political subjects or candidates.”

This clearly absolves Conway of the absurd charge of violations of the Hatch Act, which was enacted to protect federal employees from being strong-armed by their supervisors into making contributions to the supervisors’ preferred political causes.

David Bergerson, Wayzata

CATHOLIC PRIESTS

Finally, some common-sense changes. More should follow.

Jesus charged his disciples to preach to all nations, but the Roman Catholic Church’s shortage of missionary priests finally requires common-sense rule changes for the greater good (“Vatican looks at celibacy exception,” June 18). Pope Francis proposes to offer very limited opportunities to ordain married men in remote areas — older indigenous individuals of proven character who are “respected and accepted members of their community,” even if they have “an established and stable family.”

We have experienced so much sex abuse scandal from a significant number of so-called celibate priests. Traditional rules and standards have been compromised and tolerated, most likely due to the desperate need to retain a shrinking group of individuals willing and able to devote their lives to a traditional priesthood. Pope Francis might do well to expand the concept of married priests further, promoting higher standards for all priests to meet the needs of the church body. He might even eventually expand his “revolution” to ordain women priests, an inclusive measure beyond lip service to preach to all nations.

Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis

CLIMATE CHANGE

It’s here, and more is coming

Something needs to be done about global warming because it’s causing more natural disasters like droughts, floods and wildfires to happen. In fact, in 2015, there were 10 natural disasters in the U.S. that totaled $1 billion in damages. This affects us because it is damaging homes, communities and buildings and it needs to change.

Global warming is making the earth dangerously hot. Earth’s temperature has likely risen more in the years between 2000 and 2009 than it did in the previous 1,300 years. This means that the world will eventually become so hot we won’t be able to live on the earth if we don’t change.

Luke Frelix, Minneapolis

The writer is a seventh-grader at Hiawatha College Prep-Kingfield.


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