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Thanks to

veterans

Veterans, we write with a special thank you for all that you did to make the Welcome Home activities for Charlie Battery troops on April 3 even more meaningful.

We were told by a returning soldier that the thing that touched his heart the most was seeing the lines of veterans in various communities (starting with Villard) standing and honoring them with their flag lines. Your tributes were noticed by our troops and your communities and they are appreciated.

As we waited at the Morris Armory, we saw the Morris group of veterans waiting to greet our soldiers in the same way. What an honorable thing to do -- to welcome their brothers back home with flags held high!

Thank you to the various veterans groups from this area who attended the Welcome Home Ceremony at the University of Minnesota, Morris PE Center and took part in the presentation of colors. Your presence there and your service to our country is greatly appreciated.

We know that your veterans groups provide many services to our communities. Many of you serve as honor guard for veterans funerals. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for that service as well.

God bless our troops and God bless our veterans!

Barb and Tom Hesse

Cyrus

Morris Family Readiness Group

Half-truths on health care

The opposition to the national health care reform law seems to have cleaned up its act a bit. Instead of the outright fibs which I objected to in the letter to the Morris Sun Tribune from Allen Wold, the latest salvo from Diane von Ende ("no euphoria over health care bill," April 17 Sun Tribune) uses speculation, half-truths, and misleading statements.

To begin with, it is true that some of the most important general financial benefits of the law will not kick in until 2014. However, some of the most severe health care injustices will be alleviated or ended in September of this year. First, rescinding coverage to policy holders because they become sick (yes, you read that right), which is currently legal, will be banned starting this fall. Second, children with "pre-existing conditions" will be able to get private health insurance, also starting this fall. Third, adults with pre-existing conditions will be able to join a national insurance pool starting this fall (although until 2014 they will have to pay a higher premium if they want this coverage). Fourth, insurance companies will have to pay for preventive care such as vaccinations and mammograms without charging any co-pays or deductibles. There are many more provisions that will take effect this fall, but these are the biggies for most individuals.

Moving on, I was certainly not confused about the CNN poll which I quoted. Ms. von Ende could have easily found this poll on the net; I first heard it on CNN. To go into detail: The first question asked whether the respondent favored or opposed the health care bill: 39 percent favored the bill; 59 percent opposed it. But then a crucial follow-up question was asked: 43 percent opposed it for being too liberal, while 13 percent opposed it for not being liberal enough (3 pecent opposed it for undetermined reasons.). Simple addition shows that a majority of 52% thought the bill was either acceptable or too conservative, just as I first stated.

However, Ms. von Ende is herself confused about another survey, which she wrongly attributed to the American Medical Association. The mail-in survey was in fact conducted by Investor's Business Daily, obviously not a medical group. And while 45 percent of the responding doctors did indeed threaten to quit, the methodology of this "poll" is highly suspect. Most mail-in surveys get tossed in the trash, and those who do respond are usually those who are angry. I'll make Ms. von Ende a bet: one year from now, if nearly half the Stevens County doctors have quit, I'll take her to dinner at the local restaurant of her choice.

One final point: yes, this law will actually save money! This is mostly because "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Under the current set-up, many people cannot afford preventive health care, either because they are uninsured, or because they are so poorly insured that they have to pay high bills out of pocket for preventive care. These people then get sicker and sicker, finally ending up in the Emergency Room or in the hospital at great cost. Someone has to pay their medical bills, and that someone is you, the taxpayer and the insured public; because the hospitals have to bill Medical Assistance or raise their rates to cover the uninsured. This insane system must and will end, and it will save us all money.

Is this law the final answer to all our health care problems? Probably not. But it's a good beginning. Let's monitor it and continue to work to improve our health care system, so we can once again lead the world in good health.

Elizabeth J. Hinds

Morris

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