The solution to the Minnesota Legislature's ongoing paralysis over Real ID ("Real ID bill rejected by Minnesota Senate," March 7) is appallingly simple. Don't do anything. Let the deadline run out. Don't get an extension. Everybody flying in this state must then travel with birth certificates or passports clutched in their sweaty hands.
Forget about the inconvenience to ordinary schlubs like me. We may be many, but we don't count for much. However, once this state's high-profile executives and traveling sales forces start screaming about the inconvenience they are subjected to, it is safe to say the needed reforms will pass very rapidly. Especially if their wailing is accompanied by threatened cessation of campaign contributions.
Bruce Downing, St. Cloud
HEALTH CARE POLICY, FEDERAL
Home care is but one of the tangles in the repeal bill
The impact of this new Republican plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act leaves out some very important issues. One of these is home care. Home care is undervalued through financing. This leads to a paucity of home care providers and services. The result is that people go home and do not receive care, or a family member reduces or quits employment to provide the care, or the person stays in the hospital. In pediatrics, the latter two are the typical path. Children with special needs sit in intensive-care units for months waiting for home care to become available.
Bills going through the Minnesota Legislature have attempted to change reimbursement policies so that qualified professionals can be obtained and retained, but so far this has gone nowhere. Inadequate home care leads to higher costs because the hospitals pick up the slack, and hospital care is one of the faster-growing expenditures in health spending.
While the ACA didn't go far enough to recognize this connection, the new repeal bill greatly reduces this. What will happen then is that children will sit in ICUs, adults will sit in hospitals waiting for home care, or family members will disengage from economic participation to provide the care. In the worst case, home care will collapse, and this will increase utilization of hospitals. Either way, patients and families lose; we all lose either by increased expenditures or reduced economic participation.
Ian Wolfe, Minneapolis
The writer is an RN.
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The new Republican health care bill contains plans to "defund" Planned Parenthood. Reasonable people can disagree on abortion, but the fact is that stripping federal money from Planned Parenthood will not reduce abortions. Planned Parenthood does not take federal money for abortion services. Taking away federal money simply means denying patients with Medicaid the chance to use Planned Parenthood's high-quality health services. It won't prevent abortions, but it will prevent men and women in Minnesota from getting cancer screenings, STD screenings and birth control. Often, these services are not readily available elsewhere, or they are too expensive — it's not simply a matter of patients choosing a different doctor.
As a volunteer at Planned Parenthood, I've seen patients travel great distances to access the excellent care Planned Parenthood offers. I've seen the respect and care Planned Parenthood staff members afford patients, no matter their age, race or financial status. Defunding Planned Parenthood won't stop abortions; it will only deny people basic, essential health care.
Ashleigh Lambert, Minneapolis
HEALTH CARE POLICY, STATE
First six weeks of life are critical; don't legislators know that?
It is bewildering to see the continued Republican opposition to the concept of a six-week maternity leave for state employees temporarily implemented by Gov. Mark Dayton at the relatively puny estimated cost of $2 million per year. Does this stem from ignorance of the facts that the first six weeks of life are the most vulnerable for infants from a health and well-being standpoint, when a simple infection could lead to a costly hospitalization and potentially life-threatening consequences? Denying new mothers the opportunity to nurture and protect their newborn for a few weeks without fear of losing their income or employment is an unconscionable stance rooted in politics rather than humanity, and shames a great state with a reputation of health care excellence.
Walid Maalouli, Eagan
The writer is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota.
'STAND YOUR GROUND' LAWS
To confront or retreat? Latter allows a situation to defuse
The March 8 commentary by John R. Lott Jr. on "stand your ground" laws ("The facts don't support fears of armed citizens") was flawed from the start. It is based on the premise that killing an aggressor is the best means to ending a dangerous situation. Retreat provides time for a situation to defuse, potentially saving a life. Why shouldn't this be the first step? If we believe in the sanctity of life, shouldn't we be using every means possible to preserve it?
Steve Japs, Plymouth
Bash Trump, and it boomerangs
It's hard not to believe that the end result of this constant, unrelenting bashing of President Trump by every single media outlet is going to have the exact opposite effect. Speaking for myself, I am so sick and tired of all this garbage that I just quit reading all of it — tune it out, so to speak. If I am right about this, those doing all the bashing will need to realize that what they are doing is helping Mr. Trump in the long run and not hurting him or his presidency at all. I hope they decide to keep it up. It will more than likely get him elected to a second four-year term. Thank you!
Dave Colburn, Hayfield, Minn.
Do you always feel like somebody's watching you?
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks strike again ("WikiLeaks says it has CIA hack secrets," March 8). All those who praise the leaks — in the name of "openness and freedom of information" — are simply deluding themselves in thinking that certain other nations in this world will chuckle at our nation's discomfort and simply move on. Duh! If anyone thinks that the U.S., Russia and China all operate on the same ethical principles, then they are obviously oblivious to what happens daily in this dangerous world. How does it protect your personal freedoms if we lower our protection against those proven bad actors? Please wake up.
Walt Kilmanas, Minnetrista
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Thank God for WikiLeaks.
Steven Boyer, St. Paul
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Few should be surprised that there is no privacy left in our world. Virtually all of our electronic media are subject to discovery through hacking. They may be watching you right now, engaging in drug deals, sex trafficking, financial fraud, pornography, tax evasion, terrorism, threats, etc.
Perhaps this will require everyone to lead exemplary lives, free of criminal behavior. Everyone will be encouraged to live their lives for good, holding their heads high, free of any guilt, knowing that big brother (and God Almighty) are smiling at them. What's wrong with that? No privacy? So what!