Market-based doesn’t work
Our Congressman, Dan Newhouse, has repeatedly advocated for “market-based health insurance,” promising that for-profit health insurance companies will deliver on the goals of less-expensive, higher-quality, and more-available health care in the United States. He is not alone in pushing this mantra. Neither he nor others provide evidence to support their infatuation with market-based health insurance. On the contrary, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that market-based health insurance provides very expensive, lower-quality health care.
The majority of health insurance issued in the United States since World War II has been issued by market-based health insurance companies. We, therefore, have decades of experience with this sort of system. It has performed poorly, based on comparisons with other industrialized countries, which generally do not rely on an unregulated market. Americans pay much more for health care (including premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles, employer contributions and taxes), twice as much as other industrialized countries, and get much less. Compared with 34 other industrialized countries, the United States ranks 26th in life expectancy, and 31st in infant mortality. Only Chile, Mexico, Turkey and the United States don’t have universal health care. Illness and medical bills are the leading cause of individual bankruptcy in the United States.
We should look at our own experience with non-market based health insurance (i.e. Medicare) and how other countries provide better and less-expensive insurance for all citizens. Medicare for all would be a big improvement over market-based health insurance. There are lots of success stories from other industrialized countries, with decades of track record. None of them rely on unregulated market-based health insurance. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to get my health insurance from a system whose primary goal is not to make a profit, but to provide a service.
David Clement M.D., Winthrop
Keep smokejumpers here
As the U.S. Forest Service considers the possible relocation of the North Cascades Smokejumper Base, the agency should not lose sight of the central role the base plays in the Methow Valley’s local economy:
• The base employees 16 people year-round with many more seasonal positions and contractors, and is responsible for over $800,000 annually in direct federal spending in our community.
• It helps diversify our local economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism-related activities, and provides living wage jobs in an area where households earn half of the statewide median every year.
• The base’s crew provides skilled support for projects in the Methow Valley Ranger District beyond fighting fires, allowing our local district to accomplish far more than they would without the extra help.
It’s critical that the smokejumper base stay in the Methow Valley, for these economic reasons and many more life-safety reasons. TwispWorks has set up a website where people can quickly and easily email the two Forest Service staff in charge of the Preliminary Project Analysis and add their names to a list of those who want the base to stay here: www.twispworks.org/get-involved/hot-topics. Please take two minutes and add your name today.
If the recommendation is ultimately that the base should stay in Winthrop, our work as a community does not end. Without significant reinvestment in the base, we are likely to have this perennial conversation about closure again in the near future. So let’s raise a strong voice for retaining the North Cascades Smokejumper Base here in Winthrop and giving it the investment it deserves.
David Gottula, President; Winthrop Chamber of Commerce
Fishing Derby gratitude
On behalf of the Methow Eagles Aerie #2584 I would like to take the opportunity to thank the sponsors and volunteers who helped organize this year’s Annual Methow Eagles Fishing Derby held at Pearrygin Lake State Park on April 22. Without the donation of fishing supplies as well as food and drink from our local businesses, it would be difficult to host this event. Thanks to everyone involved! Thank you to Twisp Do-it-Center, Hanks Harvest Foods, The Outdoorsman, Winthrop Tenderfoot, Winthrop Ace Hardware as well as volunteers and Eagle members Rich Reeves, Dick Hill, Mark Seguin, Mike Hanley Sr. & Dale Petersen.
Worthy Secretary, Lindsey Bryson; Methow Aerie #2584