Letters to the editor Aug. 18

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Red flag laws

I support rational gun control as a fourth-generation Montanan, a pastor, the mother of a victim of gun violence, the widow of a Navy vet who served as a deputy sheriff, and as a hunter.

I am pleading with our senators to fund the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that passed the House in April. One of the things holding this up is its inclusion of a “red flag” extreme risk provision. There is growing support for red flag laws. The work done by our domestic violence shelter programs far outweighs the cost of violence in terms of both lives lost and law enforcement budgets.

I ask them to remove the Dickey Amendment that hamstrings the Centers for Disease Control’s ability to gather and share information about gun deaths. Use that information to craft meaningful laws. ALL our laws should be built on comprehensive truth and reality. Public health departments have been calling deaths from guns a public health epidemic for 40 years.

A recent form letter from Sen. Daines of Montana states, “Many experts believe firearm restriction proposals would be ineffective in preventing violent crimes.”

Differences exist among law enforcement personnel, but I consider them to be the experts. The world’s largest professional association of police leaders is the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Their official Firearms Policy Position Statement clearly supports a ban on the sale of assault weapons, closing gun show loopholes and more key regulations. Their experience and input into this debate is of the highest value. They stand committed to influencing tangible policy change. Following their call, pass universal background checks and stop the sale of assault weapons.

I pray that you will never have to endure the searing grief of losing a loved one to gun violence. Far too many of us have. May God’s peace find a home in your heart.

— Rev. Susan “Su” DeBree, Helena

Beware of ‘Medicare for all’

Medicare is giving your grandparents the shaft today, and you too will get the shaft; it’s just a matter of time. Because medical care becomes progressively socialist, care is rationed or denied to those most in need. Why? Because resources are finite, and treatment is expensive for individuals with chronic illness and severe acute illness. Medicare does not allow the physician to use their training, skill and judgment to properly treat the sick.

Since Obamacare passed, veterans have longer and longer waits to get health care through the VA system, and the same thing has happened to Medicare recipients. If your Medicare parent or grandparent can’t get in to see a specialist for three or four months after referral by their family doctor, you probably think it’s because medical specialists are so busy. Nope. In reality, most of the delays are due to rationing. Reason: Medicare barely pays enough to keep clinics going. I’ve been told the reason it’s taking so long to get in is because my patient is on Medicare.

Obamacare also caused most physicians to work for large corporations such as hospitals instead of working directly for you, the patient. Medical care has become a bureaucratic monopoly, no good to the patient. Even worse, when the physician works for the corporate big shot instead of the patient, it severely compromises the precious doctor-patient relationship.

Medicare for All: Offer people the deception of “free stuff,” then use it as club against patients most in need. Then by sleight of hand trap them in a system with no way out and nowhere to turn. This deception needs to be pointed out and YOU need to act.

—Dr. Annie Bukacek, Kalispell

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