Letters to the editor

Medicare issue is deeper than reported

I am writing in response to your Dec. 26 front page article on Medicare's shortcomings (Doctors raise Medicare concern). Whether Dr. Maurer actually said that physicians are abandoning Medicare beneficiaries, or more likely that he was misquoted, with one possible exception not one of the physicians in our community is "abandoning" Medicare patients.

What primary care physicians are doing is limiting the percentage of Medicare beneficiaries in their practices for the very basic reason that if any one of these practices were to consist entirely of Medicare patients, the practice would quickly go bankrupt. The unsavory truth of which the general public is not aware is that a primary care physician's costs (rent, utilities, wages, insurance, malpractice insurance) exceed Medicare reimbursements.

So what is preferable ... a practice with 30 percent Medicare patients or no practice at all?

Because of inadequate Medicare reimbursements, in the recent past we have lost two of our internists who have had to close their practices and accept employment with the Veterans Administration system in White City.

On the bright side, we here in Ashland are fortunate that our hospital has recently been able &

for reason of Medicare financing logic too arcane to explain &

to establish a Center for Internal Medicine open to all patients including Medicare beneficiaries. But for the larger community, Dr. Maurer is correct there needs to be a major shift in Medicare reimbursement for our primary care physicians to be able to provide care for Medicare beneficiaries.

John W. Barton, M.D.

Applause for Access to Birth Control Act

I was very pleased to read your article on Jan.1, "Access to Birth Control Act took effect Tuesday."

This is an act that compliments the character of our lawmakers and the State of Oregon.

In addition to covering birth control under prescription drug plans, "The Access to Birth Control Act" also ensures survivors of sexual assault have access to emergency contraception in Oregon hospital emergency rooms. Almost — and 5 women report having been the victim of rape or attempted rape. Emergency contraception offers a safe, effective and humane option for sexual assault victims.

I am honored to live in a state where rape survivors receive needed care and compassion, not discrimination or condemnation. Women in Oregon now have increased access to birth control. Contraceptives have a proven track record of enhancing the health of women, preventing unintended pregnancy, and reducing the need for abortion. Birth control is essential to women and families because it allows parents to plan for their children.

Thank you, Ashland Daily Tidings for your acknowledgment of this new Act for Oregon women.

Sheryl Alderson


WWII widow waits for VA help

My husband was an airplane mechanic on the USS Enterprise during part of his naval service. We were married 57 years and he died this past October. The Veterans' Administration Office tells me that it can take up to a year before the benefits I'm due will be dispersed.

Why is that?

How many other widows are going through this experience?

A discouraged Navy widow.

Lynne K. Nelson


Green displays courage in hiscommentary

Amazing courage! Mike Green's editorial commentary on Jan. 4 dared to say what no media person will ever say: That the media fails to report the information inconvenient to the empire. Imagine suggesting that the corporate media would fudge the truth just to support the corporate empire.

Everybody thinks "al Qaida did it," but is it true and where did we get the information?

Those are real questions.

Bravo, as a media guy, for finding the guts to question what well might be a pervasive media-driven myth. And thanks for modeling for us actually questioning the "corporate truth" coming from the corporate media. So rare!

William Kauth

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