Letters to the editor Dec. 31

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Solution to climate change

With the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report I was again distressed over this big world problem. Yes, I can turn down the heat and take the bus, but my personal impact seems so small. Then I found a great solution.

In October Canada adopted the federal policy “Carbon Fee and Dividend”. It is based on the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) solution. Last month the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 7173, was introduced in our Congress, also based on CCL’s solution.

It is easy to understand!

1. Carbon Fee: A low but rising fee on fossil fuels at the source (mine, well, port)

2. Carbon Dividend: Fees collected are paid back to all Americans (government does not keep)

3. Border Adjustment: A fee on carbon-intensive imports is paid back to U.S. businesses who export

4. No additional regulations on CO2 as long as targets are being met.

So, how will this curb climate change? It is effective because companies are encouraged to seek cleaner, cheaper energy options which reduce emissions. Import countries are encouraged to create their own carbon policy.

The Energy Innovation Act is good for people. It will create millions of additional U.S. jobs as the clean energy economy grows. Americans will get payments each month.

As I breathe in fresh cold air and view the beautiful Flathead blanketed in snow, it is painful to imagine shorter ski seasons and longer fire seasons. Be relieved. We have an awesome solution.

—Robin Paone, Whitefish

Which way the wind blows

I was arguing with a Canadian at the border last night against global warming, and he insisted America was too selfish. I explained we produce a lot more products and inventions than Canada. So, he warned me things would change once we had a one world government to regulate America. “Fat chance, Harold!” was all I said, then left.

It seems to me there is no global warming, only a lot of envious Canadians and French, who’d either like to win a war for the first time in their history, or invent something more important than the snow cone. I may not be a scientist but “...You don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows!”

— Mike Donohue, Kalispell

Wonderful stories

Thank you to the Daily Inter Lake for publishing R. Thomas Funk’s wonderful stories. Some of the stories wrap their arms around you and some give you a bit of a gut punch but they are all so enjoyable.

Please tell me that there is a book of short stories by Mr. Funk out there somewhere!

—Myni Ferguson, Whitefish

Support Medicaid expansion

I have worked as a registered nurse for over 20 years, and in my current role I am dedicated to helping patients navigate the complex health-care system. My goal is to help people overcome barriers to health, and I often start with addressing their access to health-care coverage.

The Medicaid expansion program has enabled so many Montanans the ability to have access to health-care services, with current enrollment showing 9.2 percent of the state population – this is not just a number to me, these are patients that I work with every day.

We have the opportunity to reach out to legislators during the upcoming session to let them know why we support continuing the Medicaid expansion program after it is slated to sunset in 2019. I have seen a notable shift in the health of patients that are taking part in more preventative screenings and are more invested in their health. These are our neighbors, friends, families, small business owners, and many people who are working hard to support their families. Everyone, despite their income, should have access to breast cancer screening, colon cancer screening, mental health and substance use services—just few of the services Medicaid expansion has enabled folks to receive.

The number of Montanans who didn’t seek health care due to cost dropped by 16 percent with Medicaid expansion, a percentage we can expect to continue growing. This is a huge success for our state, and for our community. Healthy communities in turn equal hard-working successful communities. Health-care workers invest time, commitment and passion to ensure everyone whom we have the privilege to care for has the opportunity to live a healthy life, which Medicaid expansion has helped us do.

—Nancy Henriksson, Kalispell

Divided Republican caucus

As a conservative Republican primary candidate this past summer I described what I viewed as a divided Republican caucus. One of the first votes this session will be in regard to House rules. In a few weeks a minority group of our Republican caucus may vote with the Democratic party to overturn decades of legislative precedent. If or when this possible future occurs the divided Republican caucus will weaken our bargaining power to kill bad bills in committee. To the conservative voters of our state, take note of which legislators vote with the Democratic party to change the rules.

The main debate this session is and will be Medicaid expansion. If the Democratic party were in the majority I can assure you they would never vote to change the rules. We as a state can afford the program as it stands today, I understand the argument. Keep in mind however Obamacare imploded prices and punished the individual paying for private health insurance all their lives. The Affordable Care Act turned out to not be affordable, that was an easy outcome to predict. Our state can afford Medicaid expansion at these unrealistic funding schedules only because we pay 10 percent (roughly) of the overall program’s cost. Montana will most likely pass Medicaid expansion this session, it is a temporary solution to a nationwide failure in leadership.

To lower our health-care prices nationwide regulatory rules need to allow more free-market solutions for people who can pay on-demand in cash and/or through their own personal tax-free health savings accounts. More competition creates better outcomes.

­—David Dunn, Kalispell

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