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Letters to the Editor for Sept. 2

Congrats on a fantastic Woodbury Days

Our congratulations to the organizers of Woodbury Days and to the members of their committees.

We moved into Woodbury in 1976 and have never missed the parade. The 2009 parade was the finest we have seen. We watch the parade by Royal Oaks Elementary and expect to experience many delays with large open spaces between units, but this year there were none. And the caliber of the groups in the parade was unsurpassed.

The "Taste of Woodbury" was fantastic, including nearly every restaurant doing business here.

The informational and commercial tent displays were plentiful and all done professionally.

The entertainment provided by various groups on the bandstand was outstanding, the Saturday night fireworks, beautiful.

Finally, the selection of the company providing rides and games, rounded out the event perfectly.

Dick and Sharon Wolff


Rural women and health care

I am so grateful for the work that Rep. Bunn does every day at the Minnesota State Capitol ensuring that access to health care is at the very top of the legislative agenda. I also appreciate how helpful Rep. Bunn and her colleagues have been in the effort to frame the national health care reform discussion.

However, as Congress returns to Washington to continue the conversation around meaningful health care reform, I have become increasingly concerned about how women, especially rural women, are might fare in the ongoing health care reform debate. We must ensure that rural women are not left out of one of the most important public policy discussions of a generation.

As the nation discusses various models of health care reform, it is essential that any emerging proposals comprehensively address the complex needs faced by rural Minnesotans.

In Greater Minnesota, a combination of poverty, lack of insurance, provider shortages and simple geography merge to create significant obstacles to basic health care services that profoundly affect the health of many rural women.

For example, Minnesota health statistics indicate that rural women are 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer than are women living in metropolitan areas. Rural Minnesota women are also more likely to be diagnosed at an older age, and at a later stage of the disease, when treatment options may be less successful.

In addition, fewer rural women receive recommended, preventive gynecological care, including mammograms, Pap tests, and colorectal cancer screening than do their urban peers. Teen pregnancy is endemic in rural Minnesota. Fully 43 counties in Minnesota have teen pregnancy rates higher than the state average; all but two of these counties are in Greater Minnesota.

In light of health care reform discussions taking place in Minnesota and across the country, we need to work together to eliminate disparities and improve public health for all women. Any proposals for health care reform must reduce barriers to receiving health care services and improve health outcomes for rural women. Geography and economic status should not determine a woman's health or her fate.

Leicha Frampton


Looking for an honest plan

There have been many letters and comments ( sometimes heated ) published in our Bulletin regarding health care. They are running both pro and con to a government-run program.

The DFL liberals believe that the government is the answer to everything, and apparently something for nothing is possible. They may consider these something for nothings.

We could cut taxes without cutting spending. We could have easy credit and low interest rates without overextending ourselves. We can run high federal deficits and finance them by borrowing abroad without end. We can create a major entitlement to pay for retirees drugs without raising taxes. We can pump the money supply faster than economic growth with no ill effects.

All of these seductive promises are turning out to be lies, and we don't need another one. Sadly, government now appears just a device for imposing some peoples' will on the rest of the people. The strength of government is that they have the legal power to enforce that. They (our Congress) sit in Washington isolated from everyday people and presume to dictate the rules of everyday life.

Government, supposedly the servant of the people, views itself as the master.

In regard to the health care bill, no matter how wealthy our nation is, the government cannot provide health care for all people AND provide ALL the healthcare everyone would want. Trade offs are sure to come.

If universal access is a given, then the amount and quality must necessarily be changed. I don't argue with the fact that reform is necessary and when a politician either GOP or DFL comes up with an honest plan I and most Americans will all sign on.

John R. Penas


Health care affordability headed the wrong way

I admit to a problem understanding Mr. Tatreau's August 26 letter. Possibly something ended up on the cutting room floor. However, with regard to his statement that "Compelling others to pay for the healthcare of another is the exercise of tyrannical control," for example, does Mr. Tatreau not believe in, or intend to utilize, Medicare? Or, what is his position on funding of health care for our wounded soldiers and veterans?

Mr. Tatreau says that people come from all over the world to partake of our wonderful health care. This is true - notably, at our own Mayo Clinic. At the same time, however, Americans themselves are traveling to countries such as Mexico or India to receive their medical treatment, because we cannot afford our own health care.

From "Many U.S. corporations looking to slash employees' medical bills are making India a medical refuge, as are under-insured and uninsured Americans" for procedures that include "cardiac bypass surgeries, organ transplants and complex spinal surgeries," at a cost savings of sometimes 90 percent.

Mr. Tatreau states that "To make it [health care] more available, more competitive, is what we need to do. And we can do it." I believe I read once that he had been a medical doctor, so he should know whereof he speaks.

I would like him to share with us his plan for how he would accomplish that noble goal without government's "interference," as health care availability/affordability surely seems to be heading in the wrong direction when left alone.

Carol Turnbull


Enough with scare tactics

"On what planet do you spend most of your time?"

That was the question Rep. Barney Frank asked a young woman wielding a picture of President Obama with a Hitler mustache at a town hall forum on health care reform. On what planet, indeed, would a delusional woman accuse a gay, Jewish Congressman of supporting Nazi policies?

On what planet does a plan to provide health care for all Americans become a plot to take health care away from "real Americans" and give it to illegal aliens, who will, in fact, not be covered by the proposed plan?

On what planet do dissenters bring loaded weapons, including semi-automatic rifles, to meet with the president of the United States?

On what planet do protesters hang their Congressmen in effigy, send death threats to members of Congress, and drown out fellow Americans with whom they disagree, not letting their neighbors have their say?

On what planet does requiring Medicare to cover a voluntary discussion between a patient and his or her private physician regarding options for end of life care, including advice on living wills and health care directives, become a "death panel" that is going to "do away with Grandma"?

On what planet is offering Americans the option of choosing a public plan like Medicare, along with private health insurance, the same as a Nazi or Communist takeover of our nation?

On what planet is a health care system that is unavailable to nearly 50 million Americans and that results in lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than all the other industrialized nations, and even some third world nations, considered "the best in the world"?

On what planet is a duly elected President, whose birth in Hawaii, one of the 50 states, is verified by an official birth certificate, by officials of the state of his birth, and by birth announcements in the local newspapers printed at the time of his birth, accused of being a "Kenyan imposter"?

I have no doubt that the people who make these preposterous and inflammatory claims are motivated by genuine fear, but they are being had. They are being fed lies and they are being manipulated by media and political elites who dissemble for money.

Our health care system is broken; we spend more as a percentage of GDP than any other nation, yet too many Americans are left out and our outcomes are disgraceful. Absolutely no one is proposing anything even remotely resembling socialized or nationalized health care. There is no discussion, none, of a single payer system, there is no plan for a government "take over" of health care.

The plans being discussed would simply make the current system work better.

Health care in this country is rationed on the basis of money. We need health care reform, and we need it now.

Joyce Denn