Letters to the editor-10-10-2013

October 10, 2013 

Health Exchange

Idaho citizens stand to benefit greatly from the state-run health insurance exchange, officially named, “Your Health Idaho.”

The health exchange will offer 161 health insurance plans we can choose from to buy coverage if we don’t have insurance. The exchange has individual health and dental plans as well as plans for small business. Since we’ll be able to compare plans and their costs easily, insurance companies will have to compete for our business in a more transparent way. The exchange will also help Idahoans understand the monthly premiums and how premium assistance can make coverage affordable.

What does that really mean for Idahoans? It means that many of Idaho’s uninsured families will have protection from huge medical bills if an emergency occurs. In Idaho, more than three quarters of our uninsured are in a working family.

With Idaho having the highest percentage of minimum wage workers in the nation, it is understandable how so many families have little left to pay for health insurance.

“Your Health Idaho,” is a step in the right direction to help families access preventative care versus costly ER visits and mounting medical bills.

CHRISTINE PISANI, Public Policy staff, Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities, Boise

NSA Reality

“Humans have an infinite capacity for self-deception” and it is nowhere more apparent than in the selective gathering, dissemination and interpretation of so-called “news” regarding Snowden’s unauthorized classified information disclosure.

I write because of all the erroneous coverage and criticism NSA has received from this so-called “spying”. That is such a loaded term without any validity until its context is fully explained.

I have family members who work for NSA in Maryland. I have associated with their friends and fellow workers. I have walked by NSA’s Memorial Wall of 171 cryptologists who have died in the line of duty. Every time I have been in the Fort Meade headquarters I have witnessed nothing but patriotism, particularly in the promotion ceremonies. Nowhere will you find brighter minds. The mega-qualifications of the people are astounding and put many college professors to shame.

No matter your political leaning, try to get beyond relying on sound bites, quips, uninformed blogs, put-downs and other people’s thoughts in forming your own opinions.

MICHAEL CIVIELLO, Boise

Abedini

Thank you for the update on Saeed Abedini. As soon as I learned about the prisoners’ release, I began looking for his name.

Our little church congregation in central Georgia has Saeed on our prayer list every Sunday. Perhaps further developments will result in his release very soon. Blessings to his family and friends who eagerly await good news. We wait with you.

DAN KING, SR., Dublin, GA

Dams & fish

Rocky Barker’s recent article discusses proposals for spilling water past dams to help juvenile fish downriver but neglects one key point: federal agencies already spill 24 hours a day at these dams, tailoring levels to the needs of juvenile fish, which has likely contributed to this year’s record chinook salmon returns.

Barker states federal agencies rely mainly on transporting fish for mitigation. Not true. Improved fish passage is our primary strategy with more efficient spill at its core. The point of surface passage is not to use less water but to direct more fish to pass through spill. Performance standard tests show this, and survival through the dams is reaching the upper 90th percentile.

Significant debate continues over delayed mortality and whether it exists.

Rather than chase theoretical assertions, federal agencies are applying sound science with proven results: Abundance trends for salmon and steelhead are improving — and since ESA listing in the ’90s, high returns for most stocks are getting higher and the low returns are getting higher, too.

We’re not done improving federal hydropower dams, estuary and tributary habitat, harvest and hatcheries. Meanwhile, a million adult chinook returning past Bonneville Dam is good news we can all rally around.

SARAH MCNARY, Bonneville Power Administration; ROCK PETERS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and KATHRYN PUCKET, Bureau of Reclamation, Portland

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