September 11, 2009

Letter to the Editor

Of bark beetles and global warming

The hearing Sens. Mark Udall and John McCain conducted recently in Estes Park concerning climate change and our national parks was reported by some as a “proof” for global warming. Having attended the hearing myself, I found that to not be the case.

Throughout the hearing it was obvious that both senators assumed anthropogenic carbon dioxide is the primary reason for any changes that occur to our local climate. That assumption, however, was never substantiated or allowed to be challenged.

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The panelists scheduled for the hearing also talked as if they had no serious concerns with the global warming theory as the principle cause for changes in the ecological balance in Rocky Mountain National Park.

However, no statistical or other compelling evidence was mentioned that demonstrated a cause and effect between global warming and the greatest immediate problem for Rocky Mountain National Park today, the bark beetle infestation. The best case they made was to cite the stress of the recent drought and some mild winters that favored the growth of bark beetle populations have very distant correlations to the theories that anthropomorphic carbon dioxide is warming our planet at a dangerous rate.

If global warming is the main reason for the bark beetle outbreak today, what explanation is there for the bark beetle problems Colorado had in the 1970s? Back then a drive down U.S. Highway 285 showed the same tree kill as a trip along I-70 does today. How could that have been, as Colorado temperatures were, in the 1970s, at the lowest point we have seen in the past 80 years?

Additionally, to implement the course of action that global warming advocates urge, we must reduce carbon dioxide at virtually any cost. This will do little to help alleviate the bark beetle epidemic. The only direct effect would be to divert that much more of the money we could use to address the immediate ecological needs of our national parks.

If this hearing was just another bully pulpit for the global warming advocates, it was not a step forward for the people of Colorado.

If the federal government ends up working harder to maintain healthy forests, then the hearing in Estes Park will have been a success. I trust that will ultimately be the case.

State Sen. Kevin Lundberg

Loveland

Medicare buy-in as public option

Health-care reform has been framed by corporate and Republican interests as a gift to insurers, with mandates that require everyone to buy their product, and subsidies to increase their profits. The United States stands alone in propping up for-profit insurances as central to primary health care (a practice illegal in most advanced nations). Private insurers guarantee their shareholders’ profits by denying health care to their policyholders. Employer-provided coverage, too, is built on sand, as employers increasingly avoid rising costs by changing policies or shifting costs to employees.

President Obama and the Democrats have not made the best case for meaningful health-care reform as a significant contributor to economic recovery. A single public-payer health-care model that, unlike private insurances, permits true full choice of private providers has demonstrated in over 20 federal and state studies the ability to save enough money to provide comprehensive coverage for all.

Democrats should reclaim the issue and trump the debate by making Medicare buy-in their “public option.” Medicare is known and liked by most people, and its structure is in place – no need to create a whole new program at additional cost. Enlarging Medicare’s risk pool by permitting younger people to buy in on a sliding scale would improve its financial stability.

Additional improvements would encompass eliminating costly high subsidies to privatized Medicare Advantage plans, and permitting negotiation of drug prices as is done in other countries, while improving provider reimbursement.

Michele Swenson

Denver

Helping to put the public back into public art

(NCBR, Aug. 14-27, 2009)

Every time I come across one the painted transformers in Fort Collins it makes my day. I continue on with a smile while thinking about how they “transform” in so many ways. And the project is proof positive that public art and artists contribute to cultural life in practical as well as visually enriching ways.

Deborah

Employers expect 10.5 percent increase in health-care costs

(Business Report Daily, Aug. 25, 2009)

It is interesting to note that the cost of living has not increased in the last fiscal year, yet health-care costs have gone up over 10 percent during the same time. While social security retirement checks will not get an increase in FY 2010, the total check payments will have to be reduced because of the health-care cost increase. It’s no wonder that a new health-care program is needed in our country.

Ed Robert

Fort Collins

POLL COMMENTS

Amidst budget cuts, should municipalities reduce construction permit fees?

(Aug. 27-Sept. 7, 2009)

Often cuts in revenue to government entities costs more in the long run to the average citizen. Cutting a permit fee by say $50 or even $100 probably wouldn’t increase the number of citizens obtaining permits; over a range of 1,000 permits, it could cut one person’s salary, or increase other costs more.

Harriet Orr

What concerns you most about health-care reform?

(Aug. 14-27, 2009)

My concern is that the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists will buy our elected congressmen and use scare tactics and lies to preserve their profits. Their primary and often sole concern is profit for their shareholders and executives. The free market is not working well for health care. In many markets there is no meaningful competition for insurance or drugs to force prices down or service levels up.

Ray Swanson

Of bark beetles and global warming

The hearing Sens. Mark Udall and John McCain conducted recently in Estes Park concerning climate change and our national parks was reported by some as a “proof” for global warming. Having attended the hearing myself, I found that to not be the case.

Throughout the hearing it was obvious that both senators assumed anthropogenic carbon dioxide is the primary reason for any changes that occur to our local climate. That assumption, however, was never substantiated or allowed to be challenged.

The panelists scheduled for the hearing also talked as if they had no serious concerns with…

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