Saturday letters |

Saturday letters

MFA Won’t Cost That Much

Elizabeth Warren says Medicare for All will cost $20.5 trillion and the taxpayers freak. That’s almost as much as the national debt ($23.8 trillion). But that estimate is based on current medical costs, which will surely go down with a single-source government health care plan.

First of all, let’s play B.F. Skinner and define our terms. Medicare for All is socialized medicine. Let’s not be afraid of the S-word. Fear-mongers who weren’t even born during the Red Scare of the ’50’s still don’t understand the difference between socialism and communism. Second, here’s hoping Medicare for All is better than the current Medicare which doesn’t cover dental, eye glasses, or hearing aids.

Let’s look at three prominent health expenses and the effect socialized medicine will have on them; pharmaceuticals, hospitals, and doctor’s fees. President Trump recently proposed opening up imports so cheaper drugs from Canada can be available to American patients. Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced such a bill earlier this year, but Senate Republicans, with the help of Sen. Michael Bennet, shot it down.

Why do you suppose Canada’s pharmaceuticals are so much cheaper? Could it be because Canada has had socialized medicine since the ’60’s? The price of Canadian drugs has dropped 20% since then.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

In Canada, the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t dictate costs to consumers that absolutely must have their product. The industry negotiates prices with the freely-elected representatives of people and the government won’t pay the exorbitant amounts Big Pharma gets in this country.

Due to our dysfunctional multi-payer system, 25% of your hospital bill goes toward administration, processing the bill. Ask any hospital medical employee what it’s like dealing with all those different insurance companies and their varying requirements.

Jacobin Magazine compared how we fund hospitals to how we finance public schools. The schools don’t have to give an accounting for each student. They’re given a lump sum that’s to be used to provide for all students. Canada and Scotland have such a system for hospitals.

Valley View Hospital is a nonprofit facility, but we all know they use their “excess capital” for accoutrements like single-occupancy rooms with fireplaces, carpeting and mountain views, and valet service. As such, Valley View is the most expensive hospital in the state.

There is currently a bill in the House (H.R. 1384) that would limit hospitals to operating costs and capital expansion that’d serve the community need, not the hospital’s profitability. As an inpatient at Valley View, I enjoyed the luxuries, but why should we here in populous areas have them at the expense of rural hospitals that’re closing because of low volume.

Doctors in France, where they have the best health care program in the world, make $95,000 per year on average. In comparison, U.S. physicians pull in $186,000. But our doctors are more qualified, right? It doesn’t appear that way. In obstetrics, for example, the infant mortality rate in France is 2.961 per 1,000 births. In this country it’s 5.8 per 1,000 births.

The biggest reason health costs will go down under socialized medicine is the system will be removed from the clutches of the predatory insurance industry. It’s in their best interest prices are high so everybody but the rich can’t pay them out of pocket. Big Pharma, medical supply companies, hospitals, and doctors charge what the market will bear, the market is Big Insurance, they have all the money in the world, and they’ll pay anything.

Will taxes go up? Certainly, but if we have a progressive government, the bulk of the load will be borne by that great untapped revenue source, the one percent and large corporations. Even if the middle class gets a slight bump, that’ll be more than made up by lower out of pocket costs.

Fred Malo Jr.

Time to drain Trump’s swamp

Trump thinks he’s a miracle — he’s just a mirage.

A miracle? An “amazing event, marvelous example, act of God”?

Donald Trump anointed himself a wonder, a phenomenon, a sensation and wrapped himself in the gold of kings to show competitors that he was above them.

His recent comments calling himself “the chosen one” in the New York Times on Aug. 21. reveal his blatantly delusional self image.

He put himself in judgment of others by demeaning and disparaging aspiring business entrepreneurs on “The Apprentice.”

The people who are fascinated by his arrogant display, drawn to the bawdy performances, have bought into his projections of success and superlatives.

When making his entrance onto the stage of presidential hopefuls who wished to represent and lead this country, he led with a stomp in the face to other human beings with derisive, belittling commentary.

For these reasons, a large and growing number of voters have a deep aversion to him, his administration and their positions. Instead of inspiring and carrying the nation to a higher place, he drags us down to an uglier and increasingly hostile and dangerous place.

He is a mirage, created from the heat within this country. He’s a distortion, a misreading of the land. He is leading the country into the desert.

It’s time to recover what he stripped from this country, stop the carnage that he has wrought, drain the swamp that he’s created.

Charmaine Locke,

Hemp can heal the planet

The Colorado Hemp Education Association, CHEA, would like to wish everyone the happiest of holidays and good fortune throughout the New Year.

2019 was historic. For the first time in over half a century, American farmers could finally grow industrial hemp again. A big step forward, but now we need the processing, and manufacturing infrastructure to turn all parts of this plant into thousands of products, replacing fossil fuel based plastics, toxic building materials, synthetic fabrics, harmful chemicals, etc., etc. Time’s a wasting. All hands on deck.

That includes our government. With the recent introduction of the new, “Hemp for Victory Act”, by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), we just may have that federal support. This important Act lays a solid foundation for the emerging hemp industry.

Please everyone, go to and sign their letter to Congress to help get this bill passed. Americans are just beginning to realize that hemp heals people. But, we still don’t have a clue about this plant’s capability to actually restore health and balance to our ecosystem. Yes, it’s true. Hemp can heal the planet too! Any serious discussion about climate change must include massively utilizing this plant as an integral part of the solution.

The spirit of Thomas Jefferson’s words that “hemp is of utmost necessity to the wealth and protection of the country” needs to ring loud and clear in the ears of today’s politicians.

So, go to to e-sign their letter, and look for (and ask for) hemp products wherever you shop. If we all do a little it will mean a lot. A big thanks to everyone who supported us this year, including Dr. Bonners Soap, Hemp History Week, and all the good people who put on the Aspen Saturday Market. The hempiest of holidays to you all!

Jackie Chenowith,

“I Still Believe”

And so this is Christmas
I still believe
We’ve laid down our weapons
Fear, hate and greed.
And so this is Christmas
Give if you can
Patience and kindness
Are part of the plan.
And so this is Christmas
The light’s shining bright
With love and compassion
There’s no need to fight.
And so this is Christmas
A child born to lead
He came bearing gifts
I still believe.

Robert Basinger

America needs to pay attention to what Trump has done to better the country

Wow!, Carbondale the air quality is terrible. After reading the opinions today I truly realize how the left is in the dark. Fred Malo suggests that we can trust the government with our health care. That spending will go down and you might even be able to keep your doctor. I fell for that one before. A couple of quick questions: Has the government ever lied? Where do foreign people go when they want the best medical care? One last question: When has socialism worked?

Next we have Charmaine Locke who wants to drain the Trump swamp. It seems to me he is doing a pretty good job at swamp draining — all time low unemployment, record stock market, bringing jobs back to America and exposing the corruption that has been in our government for years and years. Trump is not a smooth talking politician that we have grown up with but a brash businessman with a vision for success. America needs to pay attention to what he has done to better the country. The Democrats running for president are all claiming to be able to fix the country. What is their combined presence in the government? They have not yet fixed anything other than increasing their own bank balance.

John Farnham,

Trump is gaming the presidency and the country

Current full employment is happening with many lower wage earners working several jobs, while expenses skyrocket. The present economy is strong for owners and investors. And as we all know tax cuts have been at the top; government spending is up. Obamacare was deformed by Trump Republicans and undefended by a Congress well oiled by insurance companies. It was not given a chance in its original form.

Surely, Mr. Farnham, if you are putting your opinion out there you know the answer to your “one last question, when has socialism worked?” It has worked in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and extended the citizens of these countries security that doesn’t exist in this country. A better last question might be, is our government money better spent on enriching (capitalist) defense contractors, or its citizens? Is there more security in jets and missiles than in food, or health care, or day care security for people. This is not the socialism that owns all resources and production, it’s the democratic socialism that attempts to distribute the extraordinary profits of corporations in the form of taxes, toward the basics of life.

Your Donald Trump is not a rash businessman, but a crass, crude criminal who has enriched himself by tactics such as not paying subcontractors, hiring noncitizens for lower wages and protecting his failures with bankruptcy. He is a shameless hypocrite. Corruption in government may exist, but compared to the corruption that is a way of life for Donald Trump, government corruption is in kindergarten. Trump has a graduate degree (and is studying abroad). He is gaming the presidency and the country. We do agree that Americans need to pay attention to what he has done to “better” the country.

Barb Coddington,
Glenwood Springs

The richer we get; the less we give

As we are now in the season of giving, I hope that we Give Radically to the poor.

Rich? Anyone making $32,400 a year or more is richer than 99% of the planet. ( By that standard, many of us are radically rich.

Paradoxically, the richer we get the less we give, and a smaller percentage to poverty. (

Leading expert Jeffrey Sachs stated that “the cost to end poverty (worldwide!) is $175 billion per year for 20 years.” That’s “less than 1% of the combined income” of the world’s richest countries, and a fourth of the annual U.S. military budget (

In 2018, Americans spent $345.9 billion on golf (, sporting events, athletic equipment, gym memberships (, and alcohol (americancraftbeer .com).

A most famous radically rich man was once advised: “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor,….” Note: the advice didn’t promise to solve poverty or judge it. The advice was: just give. He was a good man who wanted to be even better. He didn’t sell all. Still, he must have given as he’d never given before.

Probably we aren’t disbanding our military, or quitting golf, sports, gear, the gym, or drinking. But we could do those things less (especially war) and give more.

My hope is that all of us pray on the opportunity costs, and then let’s just give. Give radically. To the poor. Now. This year and the next and the next.

Wayne Sheldrake,
South Fork

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