Protect wildlife

This fall, Oregon has a chance to play a big role in the global fight against wildlife trafficking. In 2015, voters in Washington state passed a landmark measure to ban the trade of products from 10 wildlife species, including elephants, rhinos, several big cats and marine creatures like sea turtles and rays. California in 2015, passed a ban on ivory and rhino horn in its state legislature, and Hawaii followed suit this year.

Oregon is the last West Coast state left to take action against wildlife trafficking. Endangered wildlife parts often come by boat from overseas, and it’s up to us to make sure that they do not come into our state. If we are unable to pass this measure, it could result in a funnel effect that will see more and more products from these animals being smuggled into Oregon. It is our turn. It’s more than just for Oregon, this is our opportunity to shut down the entire West Coast.

Sue Dougherty


Parking manners

If you have a handicap placard, you have the right to park in any handicap spot. However, if you’ll notice some handicap spots are designated “van or wheelchair” accessible and have an area to the left or right with white stripes. Those spots are specifically designated for people in wheelchairs and/or wheelchair accessible vans.

When I transport my husband in his power wheelchair, I need one of those spots in order to put the ramp down and load and unload him in his wheelchair.

Therefore, I’m asking that if you have a handicap placard and there are other nonvan/wheelchair handicap spots available, please take those spots and leave the wheelchair spots open for those of us who need that extra space.

Sherry Cupp


The power of St. Charles

I read with much interest your front-page story concerning the high costs at our only area hospital, St. Charles, and the consequential loss of health insurance options in Deschutes County. I know from previous stories in your paper that the health insurance companies must have their rate increases approved. I wonder why there is no similar requirement for the actual hospital health care costs themselves. The examples given in the article indicate that in many cases, the costs for procedures at St. Charles are well above the state average, and in several cases, they are the highest in the state. With St. Charles as the only provider of hospital services in the Bend area, and with no agency to oversee their cost increases, they are in effect a monopoly.

The fact that only two health care insurance companies are willing to provide private health insurance here next year is certainly not good. We need a way to bring the charges at St. Charles back down and make it possible for more health insurance companies to do business here. St. Charles used to provide charity care for those who could not afford it. I feel like St. Charles has made us all charity cases now!

Thomas Kelley


Expand Medicare

This is response to your July 5 article, “Two more health insurers won’t sell 2017 policies in Bend,” wherein you reported that, after 2016, in Deschutes County, neither Regence BlueCross, BlueShield of Oregon nor BridgeSpan Health will sell individual policies — the type of medical insurance policies that people buy for themselves or their families. While this withdrawal from the county is alarming (because it will make it harder and more expensive for individuals to buy medical insurance) it is hardly surprising. It is not surprising because it is hard to keep medical insurance affordable when you are trying to pay high overhead, provide top management executives with overly generous compensation packages and also make a profit.

The best solution for Deschutes County, the rest of Central and Eastern Oregon and the nation would be the universal expansion of the U.S.’ single-payer medical insurance, Medicare. Medicare is the broadly popular health plan that already covers all Americans over 65. Medicare’s administrative costs are very low (only about 2 percent) and its size gives it the clout to extract large discounts from doctors and hospitals. Combine those facts with the facts that Medicare does not have to provide top management executives with overly generous compensation packages or make a profit (so those monies could go to medical coverage) and you have a solution to the problem. All of which adds up to why “Medicare for all” makes the most sense.

Jim Crary, the Democratic candidate for Oregon’s Second Congressional District.