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2 Letters to the Editor

Expansion of 160 west of 159 not complete success

Last Thursday evening I was surprised that the westbound side of Highway 160 up the hill from 159 was freshly paved and striped and open for two-lane travel.

For the most part, the road is nice with only a few dips and bumps. As usual, the new cattle guard near 159 is not as smooth as it could be.

However, the biggest disappointment comes at the west end of the construction just before the passing lane that goes up to the top of Spring Mountain.

As far as I’m concerned, someone really dropped the ball. You now have two lanes traveling up the hill and then merges to one lane for LESS THAN A QUARTER OF A MILE before you again have two lanes on up the pass. HOW STUPID IS THAT?

How much would it have cost to continue some 2,000 more feet of road on the westbound side so it would connect to the passing lane? I’m sure the answer is that it will be corrected when the pass is expanded to four lanes, which could be five or 10 years from now and it will cost three times more money. In the meantime, trucks and slow-moving vehicles will cause a dangerous bottleneck at the merge point.

William Black

We need to have state-managed health care

Recently, while having a conversation with a local woman who operates her own small business, we got onto the subject of health care. I learned that she is a single parent with a teenage son, and does not have medical insurance. Surprised, I asked how she handles matters. The lady explained that she could not afford the cost of insurance and that she pays for medical and dental services in cash. Then I asked, “What if you or your son must be hospitalized?” The lady smiled, shrugged and commented that she hoped for continuing good luck. This made me wonder how many other Americans find themselves in similar circumstances.

I’m guessing that the number isn’t small. If you’re keeping up, you know that the health care issue is stalled in Washington, primarily because conservatives, moderates and liberals in Congress are unable or unwilling to reach agreement on a bill that can satisfy the needs of many.

Some federal oversight is useful, such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control, and certain other regulatory agencies. But in a country of 300 million, is it really possible to have a one-size-fits-all national health program? I’m doubtful. The VA is still in the process of retooling their system, while tens of thousands of our veterans wait for treatment.

Complex problems are often made solvable when dealt with – piecemeal. How about in 50 pieces? Rather than the federal government being solely responsible, the individual states should manage health care within their jurisdictions. It could start by establishing baselines for delivery of services relative to income and residency. Medicare would provide additional support for the indigent. The states may find it necessary to impose an income-based medical services tax and/or increase property taxes. A special corporate tax might also be required. Those with income above a given threshold must purchase health insurance.

Naturally, any proposal that suggests raising taxes, whether individual or business, will always be met with resistance. Even so, Americans are left to consider alternatives. Do we prefer to continue benefiting from 21st-century medical technology or are we willing to accept something less? In the third world they understand precisely what that means.

Some states will probably have unique circumstances to address. But skilled and dedicated administrators can efficiently manage all issues. The time has come to move ahead with state-managed health care.

Ralph Bazan

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