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Plus, our readers also like Merkley and Wyden, think the City Council should put the neighborhood changes on the ballot, and say workers need support beyond Labor Day

Until we can find a way to enact a fair and affordable health care system in this country, we need to pressure Congress to at least fix some of the glaring problems in the system.

One of these is surprise medical bills. An example would be an insured person who schedules an operation with an in-network provider at an in-network facility and one of the team, for example an anesthesiologist, happens not to be in network and, therefore, bills at a substantially higher rate.

While the individual is cared for, they often face hardship when the bill arrives with the out-of-network rider.

Senate Bill 1531, the Surprise Medical Bills Act, gives some relief through a process called Independent Dispute Resolution, which has been working for the people of New York.

There is a competing bill SB 1895 called the Lower Healthcare Cost Act that uses the same customary billing by ZIP code that has consistently shortchanged lower-income districts and rural America.

Let's urge our federal lawmakers to enact the Surprise Medical Bills Act to give us some protection until they are able to institute affordable health care in this country.

Mark Sturbois

Southeast Portland

Keep great senators fighting for us

Oregonians are so fortunate to have Sen. Jeff Merkley representing us in the U.S. Senate.

Merkley is running a grassroots campaign, and does not accept donations from corporate PACs, right-wing megadonors, Big Pharma, Big Oil or corporate polluters.

We all need to remember that the ultra-right has unlimited funds to fight against progressive senators, and we need to support Merkley's campaign for reelection.

We need to keep great senators in the Senate, fighting for us.

Marian Drake

Northeast Portland

Put neighborhood group changes to a city vote

With all the impassioned letters published on the subject of (Portland City Councilor) Chloe Eudaly's proposal to write neighborhood associations out of the city code, the City Council should heed these signs and put such revision proposals on the ballot.

Let the people of Portland decide this issue, not a small group of bureaucrats with questionable self-interests and little transparency.

This would be an exercise in democracy.

Frank DiMarco

Portland

Wyden, Merkley should help fight AIDS crisis

During the past 15 years, we've made immense progress in the global AIDS fight, but the disease remains a deadly crisis. Every day, the AIDS epidemic claims over 2,000 lives.

Now that there's been an agreement on the budget, it's important that Congress sends a clear signal to the world that America intends to continue our historic one-third commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, one of the most effective and efficient health partnerships on the planet.

Today, the countries most affected by AIDS are contributing more to the fight than ever before. But the battle is far from over, and the United States must continue to play a critical leadership role.

Viruses like HIV do not respect borders. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley can help us win the fight against AIDS by supporting America's one-third commitment to the Global Fund ($1.56 billion), which will be used to incentivize billions of dollars in investments from other donors and save millions of innocent lives.

Carolyn Barber

Southwest Portland

Workers need support beyond Labor Day

Another Labor Day has come and gone, but that doesn't mean our support for workers and unions should dwindle.

In fact, with multiple labor strikes looming, Oregonians need to show their support now more than ever. As a University of Oregon alum, I want to make clear I stand with university employees who are fighting for better working conditions, including a livable wage.

The cost of living in Oregon is rising, and university employees are falling further and further behind. The wage increases management has offered are inadequate and disrespectful. We know there is enough money to pay workers fairly and keep tuition down. I believe both should be a priority.

However, university management is choosing to spend new state funding and other revenue elsewhere, such as a raise for management positions and debt-funded construction projects.

There's always a lot of talk about workers' rights on Labor Day. But if we truly believe that everyone deserves a livable wage, we need to keep the conversation going 365 days a year.

Christina Stephenson

Northwest Portland


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