LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Cuts hurt local pharmacies
After 12 years as a pharmacist, I would like to believe that our elected officials value the services provided by pharmacists as much as our patients do. Prior to leaving office, the previous governor ordered significant cuts to the Oregon Health Plan pharmacy reimbursement, effective March 1. These reductions are devastating to my pharmacy. Legislators have the power to reverse this reduction but have not yet done so.
Everyone agrees that pharmacy costs are on the rise and that something needs to be done to control health care costs. My concern is that community pharmacies instead of drug manufacturers are being asked to bear the brunt of the savings. A reduction in pharmacy reimbursement will not control the costs of drugs, which will continue to rise.
The manufacturer, not the pharmacy, sets the cost of drugs. Alternative approaches tried by other states would provide a much bigger benefits to the Oregon Health Plan.
Pharmacies depend on fair reimbursement to provide accessible, knowledgeable care. When elected officials target pharmacies for Oregon Health Plan budget cuts, they are threatening one of the best sources of health care that many health plan patients have.
I urge legislators to reverse the reduction in pharmacy reimbursement scheduled to take effect on March 1, and to work with community pharmacies to ensure that the Oregon Health Plan pharmacy program is well managed and provides high-quality care to its recipients.
KENNETH S. McCLOUD
Eugene has no clue on diversity
It amazes me how much inconsiderate gall the Eugene City Council has in trying to make decisions that relate to neighboring cities. Who do the council members think they are? To make a blanket decision to change a city street name and not invite our mayor or City Council to discuss the issue is typical of the Eugene council's arrogance.
We moved to Eugene five years ago and relocated to Springfield three years ago. It seems that Springfield is always portrayed as the bastard child. Having Centennial Boulevard changed to Martin Luther King Boulevard is not a bad idea. But not being given the common courtesy to be able to provide input on it is a very bad idea indeed. Eugene has no clue of what diversity is all about.
The name change is supposed to stand for diversity. I worked as a police officer in Los Angeles County for 16 years. After the Rodney King civil unrest, we were sent to cultural awareness, customer service, and diversity training. In this training we learned of many cultures and their habits and traditions. We also learned how to treat and be treated.
I am of Samoan ancestry. Our children and I have experienced some questionable "diverse" treatment when in Eugene, which is part of the reason we have moved to Springfield. The Eugene council should step out of its cocoon and understand that we in Springfield are not all backward country folks.
Kristof has firm grasp
I'd like to commend The Register-Guard for carrying the work of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.
Kristof has long experience working throughout the Middle East and Asia, among other things as Times bureau chief in Beijing, Hong Kong and Tokyo and on assignment in North Korea.
My wife and I have lived and traveled in Asia for years. Based on our own experiences there, we have come to thoroughly appreciate Kristof's grasp of Asian issues and the fresh wisdom expressed in his various writings. I firmly believe he is one of a precious few American journalists who, from our Western viewpoint at least, seems to really understand the culture and politics in Asian nations. For this reason, especially, I always devour every word in his columns and give stronger weight to his overall views on foreign affairs in general than I would any other journalist.
Peaceniks have double standard
"Hundreds of cruise missiles have been fired into Iraq by U.S. forces to punish the Baghdad government for obstructing the work of the United Nations weapons inspectors. Sirens sounded the all-clear in Baghdad after nearly six hours of sustained attack ordered by President Bill Clinton to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction."
These words were broadcast by the BBC News on Dec. 17, 1998, just four short years ago.
As a matter of fact, "Slick Willie" launched more cruise missiles into Iraq than were fired during the entire Persian Gulf War under President Bush in 1990-91.
Hey, wait a minute - I don't remember seeing the peaceniks doing any 1970 fashion shows at the federal courthouse when Clinton bombed poor Iraq. Nor do I recall Congressman Peter DeFazio guest-stumping at any peace rallies.
What's with that? Partisan peaceniks?
DONALD P. RICHEY
Fed up with tax structure
When Measure 23 failed in November, I was downhearted. I knew that for nine out of 10 Oregonians, the plan proposed by the Health Care For All initiative would have been so much better and cheaper.
When Measure 28 failed in January, all I could think was how dumb people are when they vote against a measure that could help most of the population in so many ways for such a little investment. I'm beginning to think differently as I see how the state budget is dissolving into a financial disaster.
Maybe the voters were saying they have had enough of this unfair tax structure in which the poor and middle income people carry the largest part of the tax burden. Maybe they are saying they have had enough of unfair taxation, and they made a mistake when they voted for Bill Sizemore's tax care packages for the rich. With the rich and their corporate powers now paying two-thirds less in taxes than they did before, its time for our legislators and governor to come up with a really progressive tax that allows our people to pay according to their ability to pay. Get to work!
Americans need help, too
I sure wish someone could explain to me what the government officials are doing.
In the past few days I have been watching the news channels, and on one of them I hear the Democrats say, "If it weren't for the Republicans we could get this bill passed." Then on another channel, you can hear the Republicans say, "If it weren't for the Democrats we could get this bill passed." What happened to people working together as people, and not as parties, for the good of the country?
As Americans, we send millions of our dollars to foreign nations to help them build their governments and to help feed their starving people. Good for us. But what about the millions of Americans who can not even afford health care, medication, heat or proper housing? I understand that we have to help other nations to keep them on our side - but people, we need to help our own at the same time. We need to try to talk to our congressmen, senators or whoever will listen to us and get the word out that we, the people of the United States of America, need help also.
Please, please, let them know we are here and want to be heard.
UO shouldn't take sides on war
Recently, the University of Oregon Senate declined to take an official position on the prospect of war with Iraq on the grounds that it is inappropriate for the university to take sides on issues unrelated to its educational mission.
I believe this is a wise decision, especially since there is a wide range of opinion on Iraq among faculty and students - to say nothing of the citizenry that supports the university as a public institution.
This contrasts with the unfortunate decision of the Oregon State University Senate to pass an anti-war resolution. The debate whether UO should take an official position now moves to the University Assembly.
As the United States and its coalition head toward the final countdown on Iraq, it would be wise for the assembly to refrain from taking sides, pro or con. UO President Dave Frohnmayer is to be commended for his strong leadership on this issue.
Hubris has tragic results
San Jacinto, Agincourt, the Battle of Marathon, the Spanish Armada: History is filled with examples of arrogant men and armies finding disaster against much smaller, weaker foes. The common knowledge of the Civil War was that the Army of the Potomac would march straight to Richmond and end the war on its first day at the first battle of Bull Run. All were humiliating defeats.
More than the Byzantine spins and twists in all the reasons for making war - that we must go to war to prevent war, that in order to stop the rogue nation of Iraq we will become a rogue nation ourselves if the United Nations doesn't concur - I am worried about the astonishing hubris of our war hawks.
They've already carved up Iraq's oil franchises; they're busily planning for the Iraqi occupation; they've even sketched out the post-Saddam government. We are following the classic prescription for a devastating military setback - arrogant overconfidence.
Were disaster to occur the consequences for the United States - our position in the world, our relative security in that world - would be set back far beyond any reckoning of those who seem to think that war is a casual event, like a fund-raising concert or another gala.
I have someone's World War I trophy, found in an abandoned ranch house in New Mexico. It depicts a German imperial crown surrounded with the motto "Gott Mit Uns" or "God's on our Side." That government was in tragic error. Right or wrong, I hope we're not.