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Readers write in about health insurance, the needs of young people and bridging divides.

Now is not the time to mess with health insurance

As the old saying goes: If it isn't broken, don't fix it.

Senate Bill 208 and House Bills 3074, 3171 and 3172 seek to upend how we sort out disputes about insurance claims, opening up the process to new layers of lawsuits that will drive up premiums and delay people getting their claims resolved.

Oregon already protects consumers that feel they weren't treated fairly by insurance companies, letting them ask the state to investigate and also bring their own case in court. Instead, these bills tilt the process to encourage more lawsuits and stack additional duties on consumer protection agencies already facing tight budgets.

Oregon is not immune to the economic turmoil of the last year, and these bills will only worsen the problem.

Now is not the time for Oregon to experiment with these harmful proposals. We deserve the stability of the current system, particularly when people need prompt resolution of claims and affordable premiums. Please join me in urging our legislators to vote no on these harmful bills.

Lisa Lettenmaier

Owner/Principal Agent, Health Source NW

Youth need prompt attention amid pandemic

As the co-creator of a preventative program, in collaboration with Tigard-Tualatin School District and local juvenile justice leaders, I see firsthand how this pandemic has hit youth and their families especially hard because of the added weight of a year of shuttered schools. Without access to in-person learning, our vulnerable youth have been left with limited access to school and community resources that provide role models and mentors they desperately need.

The result? Drastic increases in adolescent mental health problems, especially depression and anxiety. Many students are struggling with distance learning because they are missing that personal connection with trusted people outside of their home.

Our youth and their families rely on a functioning network and support the community provides to keep them safe. When one or more of these critical components does not work, the entire community suffers.

Like these resources, the healthcare supply chain relies on multiple partners to bring vaccines into the state and directly to those who need it most. Manufacturers are working to develop more vaccines while healthcare distributors are working quickly to deliver vaccines to providers for administration.

Finally, educators are getting vaccinated. Schools are implementing reopening plans. Progress is happening. We need to get all resources back to normal and our kids back to school. We need more people vaccinated, and we need to do it quickly.

Jon Biles, West Slope

There is more that unites us than divides us

It's time for us to come together. It's past time that we move on from the hatred and divisiveness that politics has caused.

We have just lived through one of the most divisive and contentious elections in our lifetimes. It is time that we move on and get "back to basics."

What do I mean by back to basics? I mean get back to treating everyone with respect, dignity and decency.

We need to start looking at people as Americans. We need to see past people's political views

We can still heave debates about things. Debates are a healthy and important part of our democracy. When we are debating, though, we need to do so respectfully. We don't need to stoop down to calling people's names or threatening others or their families. This type of behavior is childish and yes, un-American.

We are all Americans. We all live in the best country on Earth. So let us return to the days of treating others with respect, dignity and basic human decency. Let us return to having healthy, civil debates. Let us leave the name-calling and the childish behavior in the past and strive to be better, to treat others with respect.

John Meissinger IV, Sherwood


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