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Readers this week critique federal healthcare, immigration, transportation and education policies.

Support for a 'Medicare for all' model

I greatly favor a nationalized health insurance program (not a nationalized healthcare system).

The apparatus is largely already in place, in the form of Medicare, so the simplest thing would be to just extend it to all citizens. Raise a tax, based on income (just like the current Medicare tax), to pay for it. Employers would continue to pay their subsidy, but instead of holding it privately, or contributing it to a private insurance company, it would be sent to the U.S. Treasury (like Social Security payments are now). Individual payments to private insurance companies would be obviated, the result of which would offset the tax increase.

Harold Hutchison, Forest Grove

Politics, not immigration, to blame for border crisis

President Donald Trump's call for a wall between the United States and Mexico is nothing new. It is a call inflamed by Mr. Trump's repeated appeals to falsehoods and racism.

We need better in America. Congress should advance bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform. Reform can strengthen the border while creating an earned pathway to citizenship.

The crisis at the border today is a result of Mr. Trump's morally bankrupt policies that have separated children from parents and resulted in the deaths of children. It is time to end the Trump shutdown and for all elected leaders to promote the common good over division.

The Rev. Chuck Currie

Director, Center for Peace and Spirituality

Pacific University

Car culture is fundamentally unsustainable

Transportation, most of it from passenger cars and light trucks, generates nearly 30 percent of America's global warming emissions. The very existence of mass transit as a necessary, or even popular alternative suggests there might be something wrong with driving, an idea which is at best irritating and at worst unthinkable. Besides, if to everyone's surprise the scientists' predictions come true, no one really believes there will be anything big government, or even some eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire can do about it.

But that's OK, because by that point we'll be mining for unobtanium on the planet Pandorum — or at least fracking for shale oil near Lake Oswego. The Era of Happy Motoring will go on, presumably forever.

The bottom line is that conservatives oppose mass transit to prove once and for all that global climate change is not a real problem and there's no alternative to driving anyway. Let's hope Oregon voters prove them wrong once again by shouting back at whatever corporate-sponsored ballet measure initiatives they throw at us: No more freeways that destroy every neighborhood they plow through. No more road widening without the buses to make good use of it. And no light rail — no bridge.

Gerhard Magnus, Portland

Rollbacks to Title IX put students at risk

Students in our schools should not have to experience sexual harassment or violence. That's the promise made more than 45 years ago by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in any institution or program that receives federal funding. But Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has proposed a new set of regulations that would fundamentally weaken Title IX and put at risk the promise of equity.

The Department of Education's actions amount to a blatant rollback of strong and necessary protections, particularly for student survivors of sexual assault. The proposed regulations, issued November 16, would weaken Title IX's protections by narrowing the definition of what constitutes "sexual harassment" or "assault" to potentially exclude much of the abuse students experience. Also, the rules would make it much harder for students to come forward and receive the support they need.

The American Association of University Women stands with survivors. We remain committed to protecting and defending Title IX and pursuing its vigorous enforcement. I am appalled that we are having to deal with something so basic. We plan to fight against these proposed changes by contacting our state and federal legislators.

Claire Berger

President, American Association of University Women (Hillsboro-Forest Grove Branch)


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