Fix surprise medical bills issue

Having been hit with surprise medical bills in the past, I am pleased to see Congress is looking for a solution to this problem. Medical insurance is supposed to make it easier for patients to see a doctor or get medical care. Congress must keep this in mind as they take up the issue of surprise medical bills, which happen when insurance companies pass the costs of out-of-network care on to the patient.

Many of the proposed solutions that have been floated to hold down costs forget this important point: Surprise bills are a problem because patients should be able to see a doctor when they need to. California tried to set reimbursement rates. Instead of lower costs, the state is experiencing doctor shortages that hit rural areas particularly hard.

Other rate-fixing proposals will give insurance companies the incentive to shrink their own provider networks to maximize their profits while giving patients fewer and fewer options — especially when it comes to emergency medical care. Congress often looks to the states for answers to our nation’s challenges. When they look at the example set by California, they should see an answer to surprise billing that that only makes the problem worse.

Kari Johnson


Seek compromise gun owners

I understand my fellow citizens’ attachment to guns and their right to own them, even as terrible mass shootings unfold, one after another. However, it is time for those that interpret the Second Amendment as sacred to consider reasonable compromises on access to guns. Reasonable proposals for limiting gun ownership, not video games, needs to come from gun advocates, rather than just those opposed to guns. Why?

The constitutional argument that gun advocates retreat to when pressed with deadly facts is shaky ground. Our constitution once protected the right of Americans to own people, and that wrong was corrected despite slave owners’ unbending defense of the right. As a constitutional right, gun ownership isn’t comparable to slave ownership, largely because the latter right was constitutionally clear and the unfettered right to gun ownership is not.

It won’t take a war to limit guns; they will be defined away. America’s gun advocates need to come up with ideas to keep our society safe from terrorists, racists and madmen, and need to get our politicians behind reasonable restrictions — try supporting HR8 passage in the Senate. Only in this way can we expect to keep gun ownership as a right of reasonable people.

Geoffrey Wiggin

Rapid City

Portrait of democratic socialism

I have extracted from Sebestyen’s Biography of Lenin, 2017, key elements of his description of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin). I believe the same characterization can be applied to much of the Democratic left in 2019.

“In his quest for power he [Lenin] promised people anything and everything. He offered simple solutions to complex problems. He lied unashamedly … He justified himself on the basis that winning meant everything: the ends justified the means.”

“… Lenin thought of himself as an idealist. He was not a monster, a sadist, or vicious. In personal relationships he was kind and behaved in the way he was brought up … He could laugh — even, occasionally at himself.”

“… He built a system based on the idea that political terror against opponents was justified for a greater end. It was perfected by Stalin, but the ideas were Lenin’s. He had not always been a bad man, but he did terrible things.

“… one of his old comrades who admired him for many years … said perceptively that … ’he desired the good…but created evil.’”

For all the would-be socialists who would institute socialism differently and better and for all the “independent” voters who seem to make elections “beauty contests” instead of principled decisions: Beware.

Rodney Michael

Rapid City

Every life has a value

Every life has a God given value and dignity, whether it is one murdered by a gunman or 30. We cry and wail over this tragedy.

3,000 babies were aborted today. And it will be repeated tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. But no one weeps for them.

It must be the guns that are used in the killing that drive the liberals crazy. They pass laws and have no problem killing innocent children even after they are born and applaud themselves on this accomplishment.

As a society we don’t see the cause of the mass shootings and total disregard for life, which began with legalized abortion and the direction it is pulling us.

Don’t weep for the kids on the border or the big city rat holes. Don’t weep for the victims of these shootings when we kill the unborn future of our nation and the dignity each of us are endowed with. If we can’t expect wisdom from our elected leaders, could we at least expect consistency?

Choose life. When we don’t, we won’t value any life. This is what is happening to America.

James C. Sowers

Belle Fourche

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