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Our readers also believe Congress must protect Medicare Advantage and that the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Plan will increase congestion.

COURTESY PHOTO: DREAMSTIME - A letter-writer says the federal budget should focus on such issues as gun control and climate change, rather than the Pentagon. The purpose of governments has been defined to serve three basic needs. They are to provide an umbrella of safety, to lend a helping hand when needed, and to give everyone the opportunity to be all that they can be.

What sense does it make for our government to have a budget that focuses on the military if the biggest threat to our safety and well being and be all that we can be if the legislators are not willing to focus on combating climate change, meaningful gun control (getting rid of automatic weapons), giving families assistance so that they can climb out of poverty, providing universal health care for everyone, and passing badly needed immigration reform?

We have bragged about being the greatest nation on Earth. I suggest that the obstructionists in Congress are helping this nation to be less that great, not the shining light at the top of the hill that proclaims that we can be safe, receive a helping hand when needed, and be able to be all that we can be.

Gary L. Hollen

Northwest Portland

Congress must protect Medicare Advantage

When I retired more than 20 years ago, I had to find the right health care plan that was dependable and affordable to meet my needs, especially as a retiree living on a fixed income. I even talked to other retirees to determine the right health insurance plan for me. I was grateful to learn that Medicare Advantage was an option. Medicare Advantage provides me with affordable coverage, thanks to low premiums and capped out-of-pockets costs. With robust prescription drug coverage and integrated benefits, this program has given me the assurance I need to feel confident in my health care.

And, I'm not the only senior in Oregon who has come to depend on this program. In fact, 47% of Oregonians who are Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage. Given the tremendous benefits the program provides, these statistics are not surprising.

Medicare Advantages offers additional benefits that traditional Medicare doesn't cover, like vision, hearing, and dental benefits, and even telehealth options — all of which have been especially helpful during the pandemic when my living costs have continued to go up and we've had to stay home. Our legislators need to continue to advocate for strengthening this program even more. Oregon seniors deserve the best health care available.

I hope that Congress continues to promote programs that serve the needs of our communities.

Ray Johnson

Southwest Portland

Rose Quarter highway expansion just another boondoggle

Eric Fruits writes in the Sept. 29 Portland Tribune that no-growthers are killing a straightforward Rose Quarter highway expansion project.

Has Mr. Fruits ever heard of induced demand?

Like the Mt. Hood freeway would have been, this project is a boondoggle for the construction industry. It does not fix the congestion problem. It will magnify it.

Build it and more cars will come. "For economists interested in urban transportation, there isn't really any debate," Fruits wrote.

If you want to understand, read an illuminating Sept. 28 article by Bloomberg, "The Unstoppable Appeal of Highway Expansion."

The creation of more concrete travelled on by more gas fueled cars and trucks will increase global warming as well. Invest in public transit, not the oil and construction industries.

Paul Majkut

Northeast Portland


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