| AspenTimes.com

Health care for all

Do you think health care is a human right?

Do you have health insurance? Do all members of your extended family? Does your neighbor? What will happen to the uninsured during this pandemic if the virus strikes?

Should health care be a right to all, no matter where we live or how much money we make? To me, no one should have to worry about something so very basic to society’s well being as access to health care.

In the United States we do not yet have universal health insurance. Forty-four million Americans lack health insurance and 43.5 million are under insured. This number has grown steadily since Trump became president because he and his supporters have tried to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Why?

They don’t believe in government-run health insurance. They think corporations, who charge much more than governments, should be able to make a big profit on health insurance. Those corporate profits make the insurance unaffordable to one-third the population of this country.

Trump also does not believe in preparing for a pandemic. Obama, along with getting health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions, also had a pandemic preparedness team of experts in place and shared all the details with Trump. Trump got rid of the team. In early February he sent 17 tons of emergency medical supplies to China because he believed COVID-19 would not touch the U.S. As a result we lack the masks, protective gowns and respirators we need now here.

Luckily for Coloradoans, Gov. Polis is working hard to get us what we need. He has also extended the period to get health insurance through Connect For Health Colorado You can enroll now through April 30. https://connectforhealthco.com

Illene Pevec


Are liberals behind coronavirus threat?

I’m still waiting for a leading medical authority to substantiate the imperative of the Draconian measures imposed on us to by our state and local governments to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

By means of comparison, according to our nation’s leading health authority, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, in 2009 the H1N1 pandemic infected 60,800,000 Americans, causing 274,000 hospitalizations and 12,400 deaths. Here’s a link to the CDC’s website for our fact checkers and for anyone who would wish to research further: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/2009-h1n1-pandemic.html.

By this H1N1 measure of comparison, the coronavirus would appear to be a relatively minor threat, and certainly would not be cause for any kind of national emergency. We didn’t shut down our economy in 2009.

This over-hyped and exaggerated threat is hideously misguided. And potentially worse, I suspect it may be a desperate attempt by liberals to end Trump’s triumphs by any means necessary in order to restore their power. Let freedom reign.

John Hornblower

Snowmass Village

Help others by taking care of yourself

To all the sheriff’s and police chiefs who are enforcing our health professionals mandates, thank you for taking this deadly unpredictable virus seriously and enforcing the stay-at-home orders.

It is no fun when you can’t breathe, are in excruciating pain, no vaccines or cures, not enough ventilators to keep you breathing, and then you die if your body can’t fight it off. Simple enough.

One way to convince yourself of the deadliness of this coronavirus is to turn on the TV and count the number of caskets lined up and the makeshift hospitals set up in parks all over the country. This is not fake news.

You do not want this disease. It’s our personal responsibility to stay at home, and, if needed to go out in public to get groceries once a week or month — to cover your face with a mask or scarf, wash your hands and face, and stay 6 feet apart.

Thank you to everyone for battling the boredom of being at home, which is much better than being bored lying in a hospital bed not being able to breathe.

Stay healthy. Be safe.

Toni Kronberg

Pitkin County

Put herd immunity over self entitlement

I bet we all know someone like this. Thinks the virus is overblown. Keeps their business on the side running. Involves others. Goes to like-minded friends for meals. Has excuses to not shelter, drive all over, feels entitled and independently proud in their normal life.

I know a few; don’t you?

Have you tried and failed to get them to change? Yes, I have. I read somewhere that Americans have a unique self-reliance and independence. I think it may be true. The problem is unlike before the virus, now we are called to run with the herd and protect it. We dare not resist and assert ourself, for now only the dangerously entitled do so.

You’ve all seen discussion of herd immunity. Helping the human herd gain immunity till we get a vaccine in a year at least is what will save millions. It’s what we are all called to do. And we will lose almost as many millions. I think this fundamentally is what so many do not understand.

This is a time to #STANDWITHTHEHERD.

Pete Grannis


Time to rein in Wall Street

Most of us watched the economic collapse of 2006 without being prepared. We didn’t know why it was happening. I saw the sub-prime interest rate on mortgages and mortgage-backed securities as a major risk to the economy, as I traveled around the world.

Now we have an economic collapse due at least in part to poor testing (preparedness), poor national response. We’ve again left it to the “free market” to be ready. The free market failed, as it always does with long-vision projects.

So today, we read that Wall Street players are taking advantage of the economic collapse and generating lots of profits. At this point in our economy, this is a zero sum game. Added value is not being created. Startups are down 50% over the past several years, as mergers and acquisitions replace public offerings. Unicorns, designed to crush the competition with massive capital, including Uber and others, are not robust or decentralized.

And Wall Street, driven by AI and machine trades, has found a way to extract more money from more people and super-centralize capital. Super-centralization is not resilient. It simplifies an economic attack strategy by identifying a central feature of the economy, as banking/insurance/brokerage mergers did.

It’s time for Wall Street and the Securities and Exchange Commission make selling short illegal during an economic collapse. We’ve seen how selling short accelerates the collapse before. Let’s not do that again.

Alex Huppenthal


Bullseye by Colson

I couldn’t agree more with John Colson’s assessment of Trumpites being intellectually and emotionally challenged, in fact some of them haven’t the native intelligence to come in out of the rain! (“Running through the COVID-19 woods,” commentary, March 31, aspentimes.com)

Perhaps they have hearing issues and the Republican cataract.

John, keep up the good work, maybe some of Trumpeters can read!

Gordie Lake

Pemberton, B.C.

A weak missive again on Trump

It is often said that a crisis doesn’t build one’s character, it reveals it. Reference is made to the last two columns by John Colson, who again used his platform to admonish Trump. If he wanted to criticize, there were many possible targets: China (cover-up attempt, silence whistle blower, delay informing the world, suggest the virus started in the USA), the WHO (delayed declaration of pandemic, leader covers for China), CDC, NHS and most state and local governments and agencies (lack of preparedness) and of course Trump. He could have written about Colorado state efforts and results. He also could have also chosen the high road and objectively reported on the situation. The topics other than Trump would have required effort, journalism.

Instead Mr. Colson took the easy route and issued yet another Trump rant. We can easily obtain those from the Washington Post, NY Times, MSNBC, CNN and many others; most all do a much better job at that anyway. He chose to divide people instead of trying to unite them. He revealed his true character.

Allan Bomersback


Aspen officeholders over their heads

Mayor Torre upon learning about the extension of social distancing restrictions until the end of April — “Boy, this sucks.” And behold the sight of Councilman Skippy Mesirow out for a run along the bike trail, huffing and puffing and making no attempt to social distance. News flash, guys, you were elected to serve not only during the go-go salsa days of epic snowfalls and an unlimited amount of tax dollars to fuel your pet projects, but also during unforeseen calamitous times which stress to the limit our institutions and the fabric of this town.

What have you given us, rank incompetence and diffident indifference? Step aside, guys, and resign now. Let the remaining adults on City Council appoint replacements who are competent and capable of making difficult decisions that will provide inspiration, guidance and a path forward. Face up to it, Torre and Skippy, you are hurting and not helping. You not have the right stuff to lead during these times. Or to slightly, paraphrase, “Boys, you suck.”

Neil Siegel


Help for substance abuse during troubled times

During these uncertain times, A Way Out is dedicated more than ever to helping those who are affected by a substance use disorder and who need support in getting better. Our mission remains to help those in crisis with drugs and alcohol access treatment and long-term recovery support.

A Way Out is currently providing free tele-health counseling and several virtual support groups. We continue to conduct assessments virtually, provide distance case management and walk people through the process of getting into addiction treatment programs.

During this crisis, A Way Out is experiencing calls from people who have been laid off or lost their job and for some, have even lost housing. For those who want to stop abusing alcohol and drugs and are interested in inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment and/or sober living, A Way Out is here to help. A Way Out has connected with treatment centers, outpatient treatment programs and sober living homes to be sure they are stridently following national and state guidelines. Fortunately, there remains help available for people who are in serious crisis with addiction.

While liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries remain an essential necessity by the state, it can be the very thing that fuels someone’s addiction during isolation.

We remain strong in our belief that everyone, if they choose, deserves the right to access quality substance use disorder care regardless of a lack of resources and that everyone, including their family, deserves the right to ongoing support for a healthy and happy life.

If you or anyone you know needs help, don’t hesitate to contact us at 970-948-0709 and/or by email at: director@awayout.org

Elizabeth Means

Director, A Way Out


American can’t wait until it’s free of COVID-19

Yackety yackety yack. Can we get the country back? Not all at once. It’ll be region by region. But we can’t wait til there isn’t an active case somewhere.

By that idiotic standard, the country is done.

Maurice Emmer