Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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February 2, 2013
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I write regarding U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton's My Side column in the Post Independent of Jan. 26, "No budget, no pay for Congress." I read the column with great interest and feel that I must add the following.

This column includes the statement: "There are many opportunities to root out federal waste, fraud and abuse immediately. Examples include the $3.9 billion that was lost through fraudulent tax returns last year, millions spent on lost equipment, and billions wasted on duplicative federal agencies and programs."

While it is important to reduce waste and duplicity, the $3.9 billion that is identified comprises a mere 0.11 percent (that's 11 one hundredths of 1 percent) of fiscal year 2012 federal expenditures, which totaled $3.6 trillion.

As most Americans are well aware, the opportunities for federal spending cuts lie in more substantive areas, notably military (somewhere in the vicinity of 19 percent of expenditures) and entitlements (about 62 percent of expenditures).

My source is an online report issued by The Heritage Foundation quoting Office of Management and Budget figures.

Cuts made in other areas are token efforts, at best, and will do little to solve our debt crisis.

Secondly, the headline "No budget, no pay" is somewhat misleading, as congressional pay will be placed in escrow until a budget is achieved. Perhaps it should have been titled "No budget, delayed pay."

It is truly a shame that it has come to this. When Americans send representatives to Washington, it is with the belief that these representatives will do the jobs that they are assigned, crafting a budget and spending responsibly to name a few.

Despite my criticisms, however, I do agree with the final statement in Rep. Tipton's column: "Let's get to work." Please do.

Mark J. Michaud

Glenwood Springs

Every day some of us bear the burden of extreme worry.

Some of us are worried because we have no health care insurance. We don't have it because we can't afford it.

This worry, combined with the lack of affordable basic and essential health care, can easily exacerbate simple health problems into the complex, costly and overwhelming conditions that weigh heavily on individuals and on the community.

Health care insurance coverage is vital for the health of individuals and communities.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the opportunity for coverage for everybody is on the horizon.

Now is a great time to get curious about affordable health insurance coverage, and to find out how to use the health care exchange provided by our state, under the mandates of the ACA. This health care exchange now provides connections to insurance coverage plans to fit your location and needs.

In October of this year it will provide direct sign-up for plans, and in January of 2014 it will chip in to help pay insurance premiums, according to individual need.

It is also time to think about your friends and neighbors, employees and family members struggling to afford insurance or giving up on the idea of having health insurance. Consider sitting down with them at a computer (try the website getcoveredco.org, or search for "ACA Colorado") to show them what is coming up and help them get on board.

At least reassure them that help is on the way. At least realize yourself that help is on the way.

Peg O'Brien

Woody Creek


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The Post Independent Updated Feb 2, 2013 01:17AM Published Feb 2, 2013 01:16AM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.