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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From our readers

Issue Date: August 20, 2014

Aug. 12

Letter to Editor:

Recently, I had some very serious health issues that led me to the Bay Area Medical Center Emergency Room and ultimately to be admitted to have emergency surgery. I spent 10 days in the hospital recuperating.

I do not believe I could have received better care at any other hospital. I am very impressed with the professionalism of all the employees at the Bay Area Medical Center from the emergency room to the ICU. Everyone treated me with the utmost respect and dignity. My medical issue was diagnosed promptly and efficiently and an emergency surgery team was called in immediately. Dr. Adeel Kahn was the surgeon who performed my surgery. Dr. Kahn and his staff of surgical nurses/assistants are very professional. When I was about to go into surgery one of the surgical nurses, Robin Reif, came in to talk to me. I have known Ms. Reif for a long time and was quite relieved to have her on the team.

Dr. Kahn did an excellent job and came in to visit me sometimes two or three times a day to see how I was doing.

I was in the ICU and I cannot say enough good things about the nurses in that department. They are absolutely fantastic and did everything they could to boost my spirits and aid the recovery process.

In my opinion, we are very fortunate to have BAMC in this community and to have all of the experienced, dedicated, professional employees who work at BAMC.

Again, thank you for the excellent care I received at BAMC.

Sincerely,

David G. Miron



Editor:

School is about to start and we have 125 children left for whom we need to buy a new set of school clothes. We try to restrict this to about $50 each, but as you probably are aware of the prices of shirts, tops, jeans and shoes, it’s difficult.

Each year parents tell us how much their children appreciate the new clothes... how the clothes help then feel good about themselves, confident and ready for the first day of school. Maybe you remember how positive and excited your kids felt as you sent them off to meet the challenges of the new school year.

If you have funds that could help us meet the school clothes needs of one or more of these local children, please send a generous donation to: St. Joseph Conference - SSVdP, P.O. Box 563, Marinette, WI 54143-0563.

We are a licensed charitable organization in the state of Wisconsin. Any monies donated are tax deductible. One hundred percent of these funds will go to meet the basic needs of local children.

Thank you for your generosity.

Peace of Christ,

David Harper,

Treasurer



To the Editor:

Medicaid Decision Was the Right One

I continue to read with disappointment the calls to accept federal funds to expand the state’s generous Medicaid program. Furthermore, the claim that Republicans are blocking citizens from accessing healthcare is dead wrong. 

Protecting taxpayers from future costs of an unsustainable government program is one of the reasons the Governor and lawmakers decided to turn down the federal funds. Considering the federal government’s mounting debt and financial instability, I find it hard to believe they would live up to their promises down the road. Furthermore, after 2016, the federal match is already set to decline, leaving the state to take on a greater share of the expansion costs. I’m confident it would not be wise to take the federal money, knowing that in a few years the state could be on the hook for a large portion of the cost. At that point, Democrats would likely urge us to raise taxes to fix yet another ObamaCare shortcoming.

Democrats continue to argue the federal expansion would’ve saved the state $119 million during this budget cycle. What they fail to mention is that expanding Medicaid would actually cost taxpayers billions in the long run. A point that is lost on some is where that federal money comes from – the taxpayers. I believe we were right not to jump at the chance to spend more of your tax dollars to grow government based on the reasoning the dollars would come from the federal pot of borrowed money rather than the state coffers. Misguided is what I call a proposal that claims to save taxpayer dollars, yet expands bureaucracy and the very programs which are fueled by those dollars.  

Moreover, an expansion of Medicaid to those who can otherwise attain affordable coverage in the private sector would mean even higher insurance premiums for everyone else on private insurance. This is due to the cost-shifting that takes place as a result of low government reimbursement for providers.   

The Wisconsin plan that the Governor proposed and the legislature approved is a thoughtful and fiscally responsible approach to Medicaid. We implemented reforms that ensure every person living in poverty has access to health care - for the first time in state history. This is worth repeating; the Republican-controlled Legislature and Governor Walker worked together to ensure all persons living under the federal poverty level now have access to coverage. 

Don’t take my word for it; instead review a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation that says we are the only state that didn’t accept the federal money, yet had no coverage gap starting April 1st. Under our plan, every person living in poverty on the BadgerCare waiting list has access to the program - a list that had been in existence since 2009 when the Democratic controlled legislature imposed it. Furthermore, our state will continue to have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country. 

Republicans have made significant commitments to protect the vulnerable that rely on medical assistance programs. Last session alone, an additional $1.2 billion was put towards Medicaid, representing the single largest increase in funding to any agency in state government. Medical assistance programs now cover 20% of the population, totaling $7 billion per year. 

Moving forward, we will continue to ensure that a safety net is in place for our most vulnerable citizens. All things considered, the best solution to our challenges is a strong, thriving economy. Putting people back to work and expanding the private sector job market is the answer, not relying on borrowed money, more government bureaucracy, and new entitlements.  

John Nygren (R-Marinette)

89th Assembly District

Co-Chair Budget Writing Committee,

Joint Committee on Finance



Editor:

Congress, particularly the House, has recently demonstrated their disregard for retirement income security by supporting legislation to fund national highway projects on the backs of retirees through an accounting gimmick known as pension smoothing, delaying pension funding. Congress time and time again has taken care of corporations but virtually nothing has been done to protect their retirees. It’s time for Congress to provide protections in the following areas. 

- Stop corporations from taking pension assets from defined pension plan trusts to pay lump sum severance and early retirement incentives. Congress should amend the Employee Retirement Income Protection Act (ERISA) law to require that any plan amendment that gives some participants a benefit increase payable in the form of a lump sum must be immediately funded to a 120% or higher level.

- The Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) should ensure equitable calculations of benefit payments earned by retirees, as required by ERISA. 

- Corporations are increasingly using De-Risking. This technique robs retirees of ERISA protections. The Feds should require the Department of Labor to provide ERISA protection for pension plans benefits in voluntary plan terminations and require reinsurance.

- In this day and age it is ridiculous that retirees are told how their pension plans are doing – with data 15 months old. Congress should require more detail and clarifications be provided to retirees in their Annual Funding Notice (AFN) on a more timely basis and show the disposition of plan investments.

Let’s see Congress do something for retirees along the lines of what the National Retiree Network recommends.

Nick Vento,

Crivitz


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PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
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