High prices don't jibe with industry claims
As reported in the March 19 Statesman, an insurance industry study concluded Treasure Valley health care costs rose a stunning 11.3 percent per year between 2008 and 2011.
In response, St. Luke's Ken Dey defended: "Idahoans still have some of the lowest (health care) prices in the country."
Here's an example of Mr. Dey's "lowest prices." Just as the valley is dominated by two large hospitals, similarly in gastro-intestinal health care there are only two providers in Boise. For a routine colonoscopy, cost quotes from these two local providers: Idaho Gastroenterology Associates minimum of $2,025, $2,300 maximum; Digestive Health Clinic minimum $2,150 to $4,500 maximum (plus miscellaneous additional charges).
In comparison, San Diego's Sharp/Grossmont Medical Center quoted the same procedure at $1,100 and $1,000 at Digestive Care Medical Center in San Carlos. Both are "flat fees" - prices do not change due to time or activity required. In contrast, the Boise clinics charge like taxi drivers with meter running.
So a big question: With Boise's far lower living costs and household incomes, why do our Boise providers charge double their colleagues in far more affluent areas? That certainly doesn't square with Mr. Dey's claim of "some of the lowest health care prices in the country."
JON BOLT, Boise
Give credit for service
The individuals who help to choose public art, going back in years to the Boise City Art Commission and now the City of Boise Art and History Department, are all volunteers. They give, unselfishly of their time, energy, and yes, their money.
They are not mindless robots who are sold, or pitched, by artists. In addition, these individuals support the broad spectrum of the arts in Boise City. To infer otherwise is unkind, unthinking, and gracious-less. To Tim Woodward and other critics, I say try it sometime.
STEPHENSON S. YOUNGERMAN, Commissioner, Art and History Department, Boise
We know the problems; let's discuss solutions
Arctic ice melting. Seawater in New York subways. Record heat in Australia. Oceans rising. Global warming. Blah. Blah. Blah.
I am tired of hearing about this problem. I want to hear more about solutions.
How about more coverage of the record low prices of solar panels? They were about $4.19 per watt in 2008. Now they are about $0.65 per watt. Electricity from sunlight reduces the need to burn coal and natural gas for electricity.
Or could we have a discussion of zero energy homes? In Massachusetts, homes are being built with massive photovoltaic arrays that not only power all the electricity needs of the house but also power an electric vehicle like a Nissan Leaf for 30,000 miles a year.
Or how about more coverage of electric automobiles? Ford, Chevy, Nissan, Mitsubishi, BMW, Tesla, Volkswagen, Coda, Toyota, Renault and Fiat have electric cars that are either in the marketplace or about to be released into the marketplace. Electric cars (particularly if powered by solar panels) eliminate the need to burn fossil fuels.
Articles about the solutions to global climate change would help society transition into the post-carbon era.
REED BURKHOLDER, Boise
Robert Boester's Reader's View in the Statesman's April 19 issue was a fine example of the honest way to become a citizen of America. I wish he had addressed the fact that aiding and abetting a criminal act is also a crime, that these self-serving politicians - including Obama - are as guilty of it as anyone who hires illegal aliens. What excludes them from the laws that govern the rest of us?
DELMAR L. PHILLIPS, Emmett
President, Congress killing America
Responding to a letter dated April 20 from Richard L. Mickey.
While we all see what we want to see, and believe what we want to believe, sometimes a reality check is necessary.
The Republican Party is not killing America! It could more certainly be said that Congress and the president are killing America. All of Congress. Consider the blocking of job growth. The State Department has finally approved the Keystone pipeline. But it is being blocked by the Obama administration - 30,000 plus jobs. The incredible number of new regulations from the White House, in concert with desired tax increases and the uncertainty of the gigantic cost of Obamacare, keep businesses from expanding and new businesses from starting. Listen to the business leaders and recognize that private industry creates jobs and economic growth, not government.
We must consider from whence the sequester came. It was the brainchild of the Obama administration, and an equal number of Republicans and Democrats negotiated, but to no avail. They could have stopped the sequester, but they did not.
Crapo and Risch voted aye on an alternative background gun bill authored by Sen. Grassley of Iowa. Unfortunately, no legislation will change Newtown, or Aurora, or Columbine.
WILLIAM R. LOGSDON SR., Boise
School system marked by indoctrination
The root of the word educate is from the Latin, ducere, meaning to draw or lead. The prefix "e" means "out of." The teacher draws out of the student his potential, versus indoctrination where the teacher "puts in."
What we see today in public schools is indoctrination: State-favored theories taught as facts that promote a false narrative used to advance Marxism.
Simultaneously, the false narrative is fortified outside of school by a web of self-validating, overlapping pseudo-authorities. They echo one another casting the roles of victims and suspect. They proclaim social justice as the remedy for the Big Lie about the sinister character of the American people. Challenge the narrative and you're a hatemonger.
If I said that we're living in the equivalent of pre-World War II Germany you might dismiss it as crazy talk. Is your rebuke the product of your own independent historical research and reasoning, or is it The Narrative - an involuntary ("indoctrinated") reflex to a politically incorrect claim (modern heresy)?
Interestingly, PC is largely a self-policing intellectual paralysis. We dodge the painful consequences of dissent by self-censorship. Johann Wolfgang Goethe said, "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
DOUG TRAUBEL, Mountain Home
The voters spoke
Whose job was it to say, "No" to Luna for the $21 million for "Pay-for-performance" for teachers? The voters said, "No." Then "Who?"
BETTY LUGINBILL, Garden City
We're too quick to reach conclusions
It seems that the presumption of innocence in this country is a total farce.
The Tsarnaev brothers may or may not be guilty of placing the IEDs in Boston, but they sure haven't been afforded the presumption of innocence.
What we've witnessed is the media-filtered actions of two frightened individuals after their photos were released nationwide, and thousands of law officers with assault weapons hot on their trail. The same thing with the ex-policeman who burned up in the cabin in California; there was no presumption of innocence there, either. It may be a bit hypothetical, but if that man would have come out of the cabin waving the white flag of surrender, he would have been riddled with policeman bullets and everybody knows it. They would have said "we thought he was brandishing a weapon," the ombudsman would have said they were justified in their actions, the media would have concurred and the policemen who did the killing would have gotten a week off with pay.
RON ALLEN, Caldwell
A disgusting practice
The article in April 22 Statesman about the transfer of mentally ill patients from Nevada to other states was disgusting. Sad to say, Idaho's record is no more exemplary.
I sought help from Sage Resources two years ago for a 100-year-old man living in terrible conditions, and was advised that they do not remove anyone from a facility. Sen. Curt McKenzie was also contacted, but now his wife can try to help a convict gain release.
Serfdom is ugly.
BETTY BURGE, Eagle
Pay attention, drivers
Jeers - To the driver of the silver car who decided I was driving too slowly so they sped up and went around on Montana Avenue at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 26. Did you fail to see that area is a school zone and the speed limit is 20 mph? Pay attention.
CARLA WARNER, Caldwell
Don't mail checks
Regarding our U.S. mail delivery. I am so disappointed in our mail delivery, that in the past couple months I have sent my sons and grandkids birthday cards (with money), only to find out that my son's and grandkids didn't even get them. I sat by my phone waiting for a call to let me know they got them, and nothing. Several days, even a week goes by and nothing. Money all gone, kids disappointed that grandma forgot them. This happened four times in six weeks. These were cards going from Boise to Kuna, Middleton and Melba. But talking to several people, even postal people, there is "someone out there" opening up our mail, especially if it's a card and they think money is in there. They take it out and get rid of the cards.
Right here in Boise. Shame on you. So disappointed in our system. Anyone else out there had this experience?
Beware people, don't send money.
PATTI PRYOR, Boise
I was interested to read your April 24 article on the Sage Grouse. It sounds to me as if you would like to return to the 19th and early 20th century. You would rather put a transmission tower on private land than BLM land where it might disturb a grouse or a hawk. I understand that livestock grazing is also very detrimental to the grouse.
There are plans to cut grazing allotments in Owyhee County by up to 40 percent. That will let the grass grow and be just ripe for a lighting strike. I guess wildfire isn't detrimental to the grouse. The real threatened species is the Owyhee County rancher. The rancher is the finest steward of the land as his livelihood depends on stewardship of the land.
I wonder if the officials putting all the stress on our ranchers are on the take from the myriad of left wing environmental groups whose stated purpose is to remove all livestock from the federal range. The Sage Grouse is our Spotted Owl - a hoax.
PEMBROKE T. RATHBONE, Marsing