Dedicated firefighters; Study water issue; Focus on local issues — Letters to the Editor 1-13-18

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Lucky to have dedicated firefighters

My wife and I have four hardwire smoke detectors with battery backups in our house. Over the past 17 years, we have had to have the batteries replaced numerous times — and when one device goes off at 2 a.m. in the morning, it causes stress.

I could once do the replacement myself. But I no longer climb ladders, so have always resorted to calling an electrician whose home-call charge is at least $75, plus then the cost of the battery.

A few days ago, my wife contacted the Sisulaw Fire Department asking if they had someone that could replace a battery because it was going off and beeping loudly. That same day, Tony Miller, the Interim Fire Protection Officer, came over.

The first thing he did when he walked into our house was to use a device to check for carbon monoxide. He then changed the battery in the detector that continued to beep. He then mentioned that the detectors had a life of about 10 years and ours were 17 years old.

He then asked if we wanted to find a replacement or have him replace the old with new. Today, he showed up with four new detectors with a lifespan of 10 years with an internal battery that cannot be replaced — so no more changing batteries.

This is a program that the State Fire Marshal has in place and it is no charge to a family.

Tony was professional, very courteous and gave us some insight into firefighter’s training and his duties as the Interim Fire Protection Officer.

Florence is fortunate to have such a dedicated individual working for us.

—Win Jolley

 Florence

 

More study needed on water issues

Two great lakes, one in good health and one that has chronic symptoms. With that said, the Dunes City Council, in my opinion, took action to draw water from  the healthy lake without doing due diligence.

As a good neighbor, I’m not against Siltcoos Lake for obtaining good drinking water by using Woahink Lake as a source. But what is disturbing to me is that I feel the Dunes City Council should have ordered a new environmental impact report before dropping the gavel.

But they chose not to, which may come back as a problem in the future.

Again, I am not against good clean drinking water for Siltcoos Lake residents. But I believe Dunes City Council rushed into a large impacting decision by not doing a study on healthy Woahink Lake.

—John Colwell

Dunes City

 

Focusing on local issues has broader impact  

Regarding Michael Allen’s Letter to the Editor (“Climate Change Underreported by Local Media,” Jan. 10):

I declined to participate in the nationwide EMAC effort because the “other climate mayors across our state” were initially folks like the Mayor of San Francisco and Portland, and was as much a reaction to the actions taken by President Trump in relation to the Paris conference as it was out of concern for the environment.

I have struggled hard since becoming mayor to keep anyone from using our city government to further any political agenda (and that includes mine).

Another aspect of my decision was that neither the Mayor of San Francisco nor I can have much impact on Global Warming, and I have worked hard to see that our staff and committees focus on things that will support the work plan of the our city.

I was happy to support the efforts of our local EMAC to regulate Styrofoam in our community because that has a direct impact on the City of Florence.

I believe I was elected to serve the Citizens of Florence and to guide the efforts of the City Council and staff in the responsibilities set forth in our City Charter and Code.

Those responsibilities focus primarily on providing essential services to the City and making it a better place to live.

Nowhere do I see a mandate to support any regional or global effort that is partisan in nature or one that furthers anyone’s political agenda.

—Joe Henry

Mayor of Florence

 

Passage of M101 assures against cost shifting

Katie Prosser’s Letter to the Editor (“War on the Working Class,” Jan. 10) unfortunately confuses or conflates many issues and her efforts to place stigma on Measure 101 aren’t founded in fact.

A couple of examples:

1) The bicycle or vehicle taxes, have nothing to do with M101.

2) Health insurance providers of the Legislature are not exempted from M101. The exemption for Medicare resulted from federal law, not state choice.

Every worker insured through an employer would expect to benefit from M101 passage through lower overall healthcare premium prices. Every person buying “individual market” coverage will see lower premiums (and by “lower” I mean reduced from what the price increase trend would otherwise be.)

Why? By keeping the health care costs of 400,000 new (as of 2014) Medicaid enrollees from being shifted over to Oregon “group” and “individual” market policies should they become uninsured by repealing M101.

Passage of M101 accomplishes this: Using 95 percent of federal — rather than state — funding.

If the 400,000 have no such coverage, their ER charges and other provider costs will be shifted over to all other carriers using those same providers. In turn, the carriers would seek higher approved rates from the state.

These lower premiums are confirmed by a major 2016 study looking at national impacts of the recent Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Oregon and many states adopted such expansion while many GOP-controlled states rejected it. The study compared 91 pairs of counties, each pair having similar health demographics.

The only difference for each pair was respective location for one county in a state that expanded Medicaid versus rejecting such expansion.

The study result: “Marketplace premiums in states that have expanded Medicaid are, on average, substantially lower than in states that have not ... We estimate that Marketplace premiums are about 7 percent lower in expansion states...” (Underlined in original text.)

The study, conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, and titled “The Effect of Medicaid Expansion on Marketplace Premiums” is at https://aspe.hhs .gov/pdf-report/effectmedicaid-expansion-marketplace-premiums.

Granted, healthcare finance is not a simple issue. But a “no” vote only promotes immediate insurance price instability — and risks increasing premiums.

—Rand Dawson

Siltcoos Lake

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