Recently I had lunch with a couple who had just picked their son up from his first day of preschool. He proudly wore a paper animal on a string around his neck.
For this family, days like this are always bittersweet. While they enjoy watching their son learn and explore his world, they also think about their daughter Vittoria and wonder what she would be doing now. Vittoria, who would be 12 this month, died four years ago, waiting for a heart transplant.
There are 1,186 children between the ages of 6 and 17 on the national waiting list. What will the new school year hold for these children? Some might be able to attend school. Others may be confined to a hospital. Sadly, one or more of these children may not survive the wait for transplant.
While we may not want to think about our own mortality, or that of our children, there are some things we need to consider; such as life insurance, a will, and organ, eye and tissue donation.
One more organ donor may have saved Vittorias life. Please discuss donation with your family and say yes to donation on your drivers license or at www.yesidaho.org.
DIXIE MADSEN, public education coordinator, Intermountain Donor Services, Utah/Idaho
The state health exchange is a federal program. When the insurance benefits offered and plan coverages required are based on federal rules; when changes in insurance premiums must be justified under federal law; and when federal Department of Health & Human Services can override actions by the state exchange, it is federal.
Theres more. Idahoans were told their financial and health information would be secure at the state exchange.
But instead of Idaho capturing and controlling your information when you enroll Oct. 1, youll be enrolling directly on federal government software.
And more. HHS develops the rating system for plans offered on the state exchange. It conducts satisfaction surveys on Idahoans about those plans. It even requires the state exchange provide a toll-free number. How far has the federal government intruded upon state sovereignty when it orders Idaho to create a telephone number?
The state Legislature can stop the federal grants the state exchange needs to get set up. At least three Supreme Court rulings said the federal government cannot compel states to adhere to a federal regulatory program. Ergo, the federal exchange. It is worth exploring.
STEPHEN M. ACKERMAN, Kuna
The United States Postal Service was built into the Constitution. It has been, and continues to be, an integral part of a communication network that binds us together as Americans. It provides a universal service for a universal price. Many of you have heard about the financial crisis the USPS is experiencing. It has nothing to do with labor costs, or volume decline, or any number of reasons the forces of privatization claim. It is a manufactured crisis that Congress created and Congress can fix.
As president of the Clerks Union, I hear every day from employees upset by what they see as declining service standards. I want the public to know that postal workers sympathize with them and desire to provide the service they deserve. In the interest of fixing the problem, Congress and management run the risk of alienating the very people we serve. This does not need to happen. The USPS can and should continue to be one of the most trusted and dependable services provided by the government. Privatization will not improve anything.
We need your voice in keeping this institution alive and providing good middle-class jobs for Americans. Call your representatives and demand responsible reform.
TROY INGRAHAM, president, Local 650, American Postal Workers Union, Boise