Letters To The Editor

A few online business tips

I wanted to thank Julie French for the excellent article about "E-biz".

I'm teaching a course at Southern Oregon University called "Building a Web site from Scratch" and we spend several sessions answering many of the same questions her article posed. I have a few points to add:

1. I disagree that there is any "magic formula" for businesses these days. The Web is simply a new platform for business; as always, whether your business benefits from "slicks, clicks, or bricks" is completely dependent on the type of business.

2. In general, just like brick and mortar retailing, Web sales are seasonal, with summer being the slowest season, by far. In a summer tourist town, obviously this trend is reversed for brick and mortar stores. However, if local retail Web sites like Emz Blendz are seeing this same slow winter trend on their Web site, they may be tying the site to their brick and mortar business in some limiting way. Often it's difficult for small businesses to "think global" and find ways to reach qualified customers on the Web.

3. On a related note, web sites for summer tourist businesses should take note of the increase in winter e-commerce, because it is a golden opportunity for them to help dull the blow of Ashland's slow Winter. And be patient.

John F. Williams

Sustained Growth bad for health care

As a military retiree with Medicare and your voting constituent, I urge you initiate and/or support any legislation that will amend or repeal the Sustained Growth Rate (SGR) formula of Medicare Law.

The SGR formula mandates a 10 percent cut in physician reimbursements on Jan. 1. As the Congress does not work weekends and takes off early for Thanksgiving and Christmas, you have less than 20 days to stop these cuts; if left unchecked, the next 9 years the scheduled of cuts would total approximately 40 percent; during this same period physician costs are expected to increase 20 percent.

Since 2002, the Congress has merely blocked the cuts for one year at a time, and has usually authorized a small percentage increase of reimbursements. The correct action of the Congress should be to amend or repeal the SGR provision.

A recent survey by the American Medical Association of nearly 9,000 doctors shows that if the payment cuts take effect:


162; 60 percent of doctors will limit new Medicare patients;


162; 70 percent will defer purchase of needed information technology in 2008;


162; 50 percent will reduce their staff; and


162; 14 percent will stop treating patients entirely.

Tricare reimbursement rates are indexed as a fraction of the Medicare Allowable Amount. Thus, these SGR cuts will impact all military retirees and their families whether they are under age 65 with Basic Tricare or 65-plus with Medicare+TFL (Tricare for Life). In far too many areas of the United States, there are already regions where no physicians will accept Tricare. Based on the above dismal statistics, these "black holes" will continue to increase in size and number.

So much for the promise of free lifetime health care for military retirees and their families.

Please do all within your power to stop the cuts in Medicare reimubrsements scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1.

Ronald L Ross CWO3 ret

Gold Hill

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