Tribune readers discuss earlier stories and columns, the November election, and much more.

Business column left out city's ills

I was interested to see an opinion column from the representatives of business interests from three areas of our state. I appreciated that they acknowledged the challenges we face — the humanitarian crisis of the unsheltered, housing affordability, violence in the streets as well as international issues like inflation and COVID-19.

They went on to highlight the success over time of the outdoor equipment and sportswear industry. I then expected them to circle back to the difficulties we face, and tie this successful industry somehow to our efforts to overcome our state's struggles. But it rather went on to advocate for the pubic sector to support the growth of this already successful industrial segment.

There was no reference back to critical human struggles that take place all around us and in our own homes. I looked up at the title to this piece again, and realized they wanted us to quit dwelling on our shortcomings and just look at our strengths. That is their answer to improving the state of Oregon today. Instead of using the public sector to solve the issues that we know we can overcome, these writers suggest we should use the public sector to invest in and support an industry that has been successful for decades.

And then no one will notice the unsolved ills of our beautiful city?

Adele Pelletier, Portland

Kotek is leader in reproductive rights

Tina Kotek is the only candidate running for governor that we can trust to protect reproductive rights.

As House speaker, Tina led the way to pass the nation's strongest abortion law ensuring all Oregonians, no matter how much money they make or where they live, can access reproductive health care — including abortion, without obstacles.

And now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, we have Tina to thank for having the foresight to step up protect our rights.

All leading reproductive rights organizations stand with Tina and have endorsed her as our next governor because Tina is Oregon's leading champion for defending reproductive freedom.

Christine Drazan promises to veto any legislation to protect/expand safe abortion access. And as for Betsy Johnson, she claims to be pro-choice but meanwhile she's supported, and even donated to, anti-choice Republicans like Cliff Bentz who was the only member of the Oregon delegation to vote against protecting abortion access in Congress. Betsy is always trying to have it both ways, we can't trust her to fight for us.

Tina is fighting for a brighter future for Oregon on reproductive rights, housing and homelessness, environmental protection, mental health and recovery, economic opportunity, education and child care, and gun violence prevention

Vote and support Tina Kotek!

Anna Maher, Lake Oswego

Reader questions point of stories

In reading about the legal issue involving bakeries and same sex celebrations and bakery refusal to provide a cake, am I to assume that all business signs stating that the business has the discretion to decline service to anyone, is now null and void?

Also, I find it interesting that the media had a big promotion on a new Lincoln High School, but did not see and validation need. And a couple pages later in the newspaper, the old (current) school will be torn down, while the constant plight of homeless folks is presented. The logic of this escape's me.

Rich Carson, Beaverton

Senators look into benefit managers

I was pleased to see that the Federal Trade Commission will launch an inquiry into the operations of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBMs run prescription drug coverage for big clients that include health insurers and employers that provide coverage.

Last year, Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, investigated price drivers in insulin and specifically called out PBM practices in a joint press release in which they recognized that "the business practices of and the competitive relationships between manufacturers and middlemen have created a vicious cycle of price increases that have sent costs for patients and taxpayers through the roof."

What makes matters worse is that patients often do not benefit from the discounts PBMs receive. Patients with deductibles often pay based on the undiscounted list price of a medicine while their health plans can pay nothing and still receive a rebate. In fact, half of commercially insured patients' out-of-pocket spending is based on the full list price.

PBMs' practices need scrutiny if we are really going to get our arms around drug costs. The FTC's action is a good step. Congress should follow suit and take a hard look at PBMs.

Mick Harris, Southeast Portland

Innovation needed for celiac disease

We need to support medical innovation. As somebody who has been suffering with celiac disease, we have spent years hoping for a cure. And, while there is real promise on the horizon for more effective treatments, there is currently no cure for a celiac diagnosis.

For people like us who are living with this autoimmune disease, avoiding gluten is currently the only method for thwarting small intestine damage and disease symptoms that can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, depression, fatigue, headache, a blistery skin rash and iron-deficiency anemia. Consuming a bread crumb can re-trigger symptoms and intestinal damage. Following a lifelong gluten-free diet in a world full of hidden gluten-containing ingredients requires constant vigilance and daily life risky and anxiety-provoking. Gluten-free foods are also more expensive than their gluten-containing counterparts, and many people don't have access to the support of a dietitian to help them plan a balanced, gluten-free diet

The good news is, after so many years of limited progress, there are currently 24 potential therapies at various stages of development, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. The bad news, there was only one potential celiac disease drug in Phase 3 clinical trials and that was recently discontinued. Plus, 90% of all proposed drugs fail in the clinical trial stage, and almost 60% fail in Phase 3 trials.

We believe it is very important for our federal lawmakers to keep this in mind as they consider ways to address drug and health care costs. Once drugs are available, they must be accessible. However, we must be careful to not make an already perilous medical innovation process even more fraught. People with celiac and so many other diseases are eagerly waiting for a better treatment or a cure. Let's make sure federal polices support that work

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