Soap Box

Big pharm CEO salaries sickening

To the editor,
Why does health care in America cost so much? Why is every other industrialized country in the world able to provide lifelong health care to every citizen for half of what we spend?

Here’s part of the answer: David Cordani, CEO of   Cigna, “earned” $19 million last year. Larry Merlo, head of CVS Health, raked in $22 million. Michael Neidorff, CEO of Centene, made $26 million.

Axios reports in 2018, 62 health care CEOs made a combined $1.1 billion when calculating the actual value of cashed-out stock. What were these huge salaries based on? The CEO’s ability to make a profit for their shareholders. How do they make a profit? By denying us health coverage. By taking in more money in premiums than they pay out for our health needs.

How do these CEOs sleep at night? That’s one question I don’t have the answer to.

Partnership for America’s Healthcare Future is a lobbyist group made up of health insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists. They are busy spreading propaganda to ensure that this corrupt system of “health care” that puts their profits over our health continues. Last week the American Medical Association quit the coalition.

As long as the profit motive remains part of our healthcare system, we will receive expensive, substandard care. National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA) will remove profit from the health-care equation. It will provide lifelong health care for every American, just like every other industrialized nation has been able to do for its citizens, for less than what we spend now.

– Philip Riffe, Hesperus

Scouts thank local businesses

To the Editor,

The boys and girls of Cub Scout Pack 508 would like to publicly thank Tim, Vessie and Carly from Zia Taqueria for helping us get delicious food for our annual banquet earlier this year, and also Katie at Cream Bean Berry for donating 2 gallons of ice cream for our recent ice cream social. Our pack is a strong resource for all youth in our community, and we are made stronger by the generosity of local businesses like these.

– Cub Scout Pack 508


'Thoughts, prayers' don't save lives

To the editor,

The Red Flag Law should be in every state. This recent mass shooting in Odessa, Texas, would not have happened if law enforcement had been able to take guns away from this redneck shooter when he was firing at animals from the roof of his home, as reported by his nextdoor neighbor.

Uh, officer, is this the guy you played football and drank Lone Star beer with?

To see a picture of a 17-month-old child nearly dead from a military style weapon that also killed seven others over Labor Day sends chills once again – all because this guy lost his job and could care less if he lost his life by caring out just another senseless mass shooting.

From Columbine/Sandy Hook kids to this, when will common sense measures get implemented??!?!! Question marks and exclamation marks should be tattooed on the foreheads on ALL the folks that only have “thoughts and prayers!”

– Sally Florence, Durango

Time to hold train's feet to fire?

To the editor,

The local “daily” newspaper published an edited version of my letter Aug. 16. Unfortunately, they edited out the most important part. I think it is important to share with your readers also, especially after another recent fire at E. Second Ave and 30th Street, which the DSNGRR attorney insinuated was caused by transient butts. (Cigarette butts, that is.) Fortunately, Durango residents ably doused the blaze.

On Aug. 5 at 10 a.m., a DSNGRR pop car followed the train through Hermosa. On the back of the car was a pump and a surprisingly small water tank. North of the Highway 550 crossing, the operator dismounted, went to the back of the car and turned off a valve to the water tank, which had apparently been left open. I could clearly see that there was only 4 inches of water remaining in the tank. The driver/fireman paused momentarily to give us a look, got back in the car and headed north. As we crossed the highway, I could see the trail of water left between the tracks headed south. I believe the next place to get water to refill the tank would be Rockwood, well beyond where the 416 Fire started. It seems that the fireman didn’t need water, which is a good thing because he had very little.

This incident does not reflect the promises made by the DSNGRR to be responsible and proactive after the 416 Fire last year. Maybe it’s time to hold their feet to the fire.

– Christopher Meyer, Hermosa

Rip off the profit-motive band-aid

To the editor,

Last fall I met a retired couple living nearby in an RV. Their daughter had contracted a debilitating disease requiring costly treatments. Although they had health-care insurance, their daughter did not. Out-of-pocket expenses devoured their savings, their possessions and finally, their home. Care for the daughter was available, but their insurance company would not approve it, and she passed away. In addition to their deep grief and dire financial suffering, the couple carried a sense of guilt, as if they had failed their child.

It’s a uniquely American scenario.

In America, 62 percent of bankruptcies are due to medical bills. Over 1 million Americans go medically bankrupt each year, stacking financial ruin on top of suffering an often life-threatening illness.

These days we hear hard-hearted political discourse designed to protect corporate profiteers and no one else. Well-funded think tanks pump out anger-stoking messages against “socialist” medical policy, pretending that caring for “the least of these” – what Jesus stood for – is a bad thing. Many uninformed voters, understandably angry at poor health care, are ready to blame someone. This think-tank propaganda fools some voters into actually believing that we’re not all “the least of these.”

All other developed countries love their universal health care. In 2004, Canada overwhelmingly voted Tommy Douglas, the originator of Canada’s universal health care system, to be “The Greatest Canadian.”

America can also have a health care system that covers everyone. By removing the profit motive from health care, National Improved Medicare for All will cover us all and for less than we’re paying now.

– Adele Riffe, Hesperus