Letters this week concern a recall attempt, rising healthcare costs and the internet of things.

Mitchell shouldn't face recall

I am writing to oppose the effort to recall Oregon State Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell. The recall process is meant to provide a way to remove corrupt officials, not to censure someone for holding an opinion that differs from your own.

A recall election could cost our community up to $50,000. This is money that our towns cannot afford to divert from schools, health services or roads. Not only that, the special election will not bring any real change. If recalled, local county commissioners — not voters — will decide who replaces Tiffiny Mitchell, and the rules dictate that a vacated seat must be filled by someone from the same political party.

Voters who disagree with Rep. Mitchell's policy decisions would be better served by spending their time and money recruiting a solid candidate for the upcoming election in 2020, rather than wasting taxpayer money on a misplaced recall effort.

If you are approached by a petition gatherer, please decline. It's not worth the money or the hassle.

Suzanne Harold, Astoria

Seniors, people with disabilities hurt by rising Medicare costs

Despite the inevitable financial challenges I face as a retired Oregonian on a limited income, I am grateful to have all of the healthcare coverage I could possibly need through Medicare Advantage.

If I were to tell you about all of the benefits I receive through my plan at no extra cost — diabetes counseling, a SilverSneakers gym membership that includes exercise classes and community events, and preventive care screenings for high blood pressure, just to name a few — you might not believe me. But that's what is so great about Medicare Advantage, an all-encompassing plan allows me to focus on other things in life, like my family.

I'd much prefer if every member of my family were on Medicare Advantage. I help out quite a bit with my grandson's healthcare since he was diagnosed with a developmental disability. He is able to work and live on his own, but finances are tight for him as well. I've seen his traditional Medicare and Part D prescription drug plan fail to adequately and affordably cover his care, and I can't help but think that Medicare Advantage would serve him far better.

As is the case with essentially all conversations on healthcare, cost is a factor. But there's a tax that could go into effect called the "health insurance tax" that may raise costs on Medicare Advantage, a consequence I'm not able to take on right now.

I recently had the chance to sit down with the office of Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici to discuss this pressing issue, and I will tell you all what I told them: Seniors and others who need access to affordable health care are looking to our representatives to support a delay of the tax through the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2019.

Mary Lou Ritter, West Slope

Supply chain technology and its impacts

The industrial internet of things (IIoT) drives the modernization of digital supply. Solidifying digital supply chains requires a new awareness among the industry, as well as providing them with modern tools. While obstacles exist, implementing these new technologies will greatly enhance the effectiveness of global supply chains.

Standardizing digital supply chains may prevent a bottleneck effect brought about by the barrage of highly anticipated innovation.

The management of future supply chains will be quite different than what is common today. However, several factors are slowing the standardization of the IIoT. These include integration, accessing system data, analytical systems for leveraging data and net neutrality.

Digital supply chains will need to refocus their resources toward hiring qualified staff that can make data operational, as well as upgrading their servers and accounting for increases in energy consumption.

The future of net neutrality is a significant factor because of the role of IIoT providers.

Among the emerging technologies that will reshape digital supply is blockchain. It provides the kind of visibility and other logistical advantages that is much needed by modern supply chains. One hundred percent visibility is possible on a blockchain.

Regulatory compliance and product tracking improve greatly in a transparent supply chain business model, though, it does not come without its challenges. Data scientists who understand blockchain technology are needed to close the skill gap. The consensus is that the manufacturing and retail benefits of putting a supply chain on a blockchain outweigh the effort.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is often mentioned in the same breath of both blockchain and distribution. As machine learning and augmented reality advance, so do the applications for more efficient and effective supply chains. Automation of the future will include robotics to minimize any repetitive movements in a system. Finally, the mass adoption of cloud-based technology will lower consumer prices while encouraging industry growth.

Justice Owusu-Hienno, Beaverton

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