As a Medicare recipient, I was intrigued by your front-page story "Trump sets off Medicare frenzy" (Nov. 25). As I read the article, it appears insurers, hospitals, drug manufacturers and some doctors are asking for regulatory relief from Medicare rules enacted decades ago in a very different health care environment. At the same time, Medicare fraud continues to be vigorously prosecuted by the Justice Department, and health care advocates worry that relaxing Medicare regulations could be an incentive for even more fraud.
It seems like some of the existing regulations are blocking attempts to provide people like me and other Medicare participants relief from coping with rising drug prices, incentives to stay healthy and better coordinated care. My question to both sides of this debate is: Why can't we do both — relax or eliminate outdated regulations while at the same time increase Medicare-fraud scrutiny? A real compromise would have those benefiting from deregulation help fund increased Medicare fraud enforcement.
This situation does not have to have one winner. A good compromise could make all of us winners.
James Gambone, Orono
It's time to reconcile state history that contributes to homeless camp
Your article "Move is cold comfort" (Nov. 25) allows us to hear some of the voices of the mainly American Indian residents of the homeless camp in Minneapolis. We hear about the importance of community, on the one hand, and poverty, mental illness and drug use, on the other. I would ask, what does this tell us about our responsibility as a city and state?
Sadly, the erasure of indigenous history in this country has left most of us blind to the root causes of our problems. I would like to propose a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in light of the Hiawatha encampment. Canada has led the way in this, as well as the Wabanaki People in the state of Maine, as documented in PBS' recent Independent Lens show "Dawnland." The show focuses on the terrible history of residential schools set up to take American Indian children from their families and rob them of their language and culture. We did that here, too, in Minnesota. I believe nothing will change, really, until we come to terms with the truth of what we've done, what happened to the indigenous people and what we must all do to repair it.
Nance Kent, Minneapolis
Facts to oppose senior tax cut lead to a different answer
Lori Sturdevant makes good points about not exempting state taxes on Social Security ("Math doesn't add up on senior tax cut," Nov. 25). My questions are these: Will the extra money in the state treasury actually be used for the causes she mentions? Is the $353 million added to treasury because of taxing Social Security really that much in a state budget that is in the billions? Can there be cost cutting in other areas?
Senior citizens are living longer. Once retired, many cannot improve their economic outlook. Why do the majority of states not tax Social Security? Shouldn't there be a reward for working hard? I am all for supporting early childhood development and other causes that Sturdevant suggests. My question: Is taking from seniors really the best choice? Are there other areas it can come from?
Hopefully, her assertion that many politicians support no state taxes on Social Security simply to get the senior vote is not true. Hopefully, they support it because they believe it helps seniors have a better financial life leading to a higher quality of life.
Gordon Hayes, St. Paul
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Thank you to Lori Sturdevant for articulating the reasons legislators need to stop the push to eliminate state income taxes on Social Security. Taxpayers with low incomes already receive that benefit and the rest of us need to step up and support the many functions of state governmental agencies. I, for one, have no trouble seeing my tax dollars used to support education, the environment, infrastructure, human services and the many other functions that help make life in Minnesota good for us senior citizens.
Shelley Robshaw, St. Paul
Governor's legacy marked by failure to compromise for benefit of state
The Star Tribune missed the mark with its article about Gov. Mark Dayton's legacy ("Dayton's legacy sits with tiny learners," Nov. 25). That legacy has already been written! Dayton will go down as the most partisan governor our state has ever had.
His constant refusal to even inch somewhere close to the middle caused two terms of very ineffective leadership. There were so many opportunities in those two terms where a middle ground would have meant results. Maybe the results would not have been totally what he wanted, but they would have been good for the state and good for the people of Minnesota.
Dayton failed as a senator, and he certainly failed the state of Minnesota. That's his true legacy!
Thomas Johnson, Bloomington
Four more reasons why Klobuchar will win race for presidency
Regarding your article about Sen. Amy Klobuchar being swept up in presidential speculations ("Winning formula for the pivotal Midwest?" Nov. 25). I have thought for months that Amy will be our next president for four reasons:
1. It starts in Iowa. Iowans love the Iowa State Fair, Amy loves state fairs, therefore, Iowans are going to love Amy. She will win Iowa easily and establish herself as the clear front-runner.
2. Other candidates will be moving to the left. Amy will be the leading left-center candidate, where a Democratic candidate needs to be to win the presidency.
3. All things being equal, the Democratic Party wants to nominate a woman.
4. My football coach theory. When a university fires a football coach, it often hires a coach with the opposite personality. After President Donald Trump, Democratic and independent voters will be ready for a no-nonsense, experienced, professional politician with a track record of success. That's Amy Klobuchar!
Jerry Gale, Brooklyn Park
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The article had a very sinister photo of Amy Klobuchar. I shared it on Facebook and have been getting complaints. I promised I would take the article down because of the photograph.
Caroline Windau, St. Louis Park
No joking matter: No birch logs will grace this Minneapolis home
I wonder if James Lileks reads the Star Tribune. For years, various articles told us to boycott nurseries, flower shops and hardware stores that sell birch logs or display them because several large areas of woods have been stripped of birch trees for the purpose of profit. Department of Natural Resources employees and private landowners have worked hard to end the practice. This particular article ("Birch log instead of a tree? Fir real?" Nov. 25) is not his usual tongue-in-cheek — this one is too cavalier and thoughtless. Think about it, James.
Barbara Nylen, Minneapolis