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September 23, 2009     Sentinel Tribune
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li illllllll'Ulilllltlllllli ' - " : SENTINEL TRIBUNE Viewpoint Wednesday, September 23, 2009 Page 4 To Everyone over 55 We have a lovely place for us to meet at the Westbrook Senior Center. We need members, or there won't be a Senior Citizen Club before long. Anyone over 55 years of age is considered a Senior Citizen. We have a Sunset Club that meets at 1:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month and this is for the women. We have Fun Time the second Wednesday of each month, and this is both men and women. The last Monday of the month, we have a Potluck for both men and women. We have dues like all organiza- tions do, but you are welcome to come anytime and see what it is like. We play other games for those who don't play cards, like dominoes, etc. Hope to see you all soon. Betty Natterstad, Secretary Consensus still possible with Healthcare Reform Despite the skepticism of many Democrats, genuine bipartisan- ship on healthcare reform is not only still possible, but is probably the only way to get major reform passed. Support for reform is certainly dwindling. A recent NBC poll found that just 41 percent of Americans support the Presidents' healthcare proposals, while 42 percent think they're a bad idea. Only 24 percent believe their care would improve under Obama's plan; 40 percent think it would get worse. Americans also believe - cor- rectly - that negotiations between the two parties have become acri- monious. A recent Pew poll, found that 63 percer/t of Americans think that the President and Republicans aren't working together, up from 50 percent two months ago. More respondents pin the blame for,the breakdown on the GOP than ,Obama.-But the slice that thinks the President bears some responsibility is now at 17 per- cent, up from 7 percent in February. There's still widespread support for reform in principle, though. Sixty percent of respondents think the healthcare system needs "major reform" or a "complete overhaul." So the American public can be won back. But only if the Democrats embrace bipartisan- ship. The administration recently took a step in that direction when it signaled a willingness to support a national insurance co-op system over a public option. In another move sure to shore- up GOP support, the President has reportedly agreed to oppose repealing the "non-interference" clause in the Medicare drug bene- fit. Bold acts of bipartisanship have taken place outside of the White House, too. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has been gaining steam in his cam- paign for a "third way" reform bill that aims to shift people off of employer-based insurance. And despite pressure to call-off bipartisan talks, the Democratic members of the influential "Gang of Six" are engaging with their Republican colleagues. Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus has prom- ised that they "remain committed" to achieving a bipartisan bill. During his recent interview with radio host Michael Smerconish, the President com- mended the Republican members of the Gang of Six and said that he's "happy to make sensible com- promises," and looks to center negotiations around his core prin- ciples of "cost control, competi- tion, [and] making sure that peo- ple have good, quality options." There are plenty of innovative policies based on the President's core principles that will affect change and garner support from both parties. A full-scale overhaul might not be politically possible at this time. Policymakers should re-visit plans to institute electronic med- ical record keeping and make insurance more portable. Tort reform also hasn't received enough attention. And preventa- tive care programs tend to be uni- versally popular and have a track record of bringing down long- term costs. Healthcare reformers should re- devote themselves to reaching across the aisle. Abandoning bipartisanship now would further divide the country, jeopardizing future legislative efforts and making it that much harder for the government to address the huge challenges we're facing. By Douglas E. Schoen Area GSS thoughts on healthcare reform As our nation continues to debate the many aspects of health- care reform, we are concerned by some proposals being considered by Congress that would cut Medicare funding for seniors' skilled nursing and rehabilitative care. As the administrators at 4 area Good Samaritan Society campuses, we see first-hand how Medicare beneficiaries recover from debilitating illnesses, regain the ability to walk or talk, and become healthy enough to return to their homes and communities through the care this funding pro:. vides. The America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 pro, poses to slash Medicare funding nationally for skilled nursing facilities by $32 billion over the next ten years. These cuts cannot be absorbed by facilities such as ours; they are not in the best inter- est of quality senior care; and they will impact jobs and wages for caregivers. We fear that these cuts to Medicare funding will put our res- idents at risk and not achieve the collective goal of healthcar reform that aims to improve the quality of care available, expand access and coverage to all Americans, and preserve choice. With so much ongoing debate surrounding healthcare reform, it is imperative the entire Minnesota Congressional delegation fully consider the long term care needs of our state's elderly and infirmed citizens. We hope Congress will consider the devastating impact provisions to cut funding for skilled nursing care will have on our Medicare beneficiaries. On behalf of our residents and our fellow dedicated employees, we urge our lawmak- ers to remove these cuts from the final reform package. Sincerely, Nancy Wepplq GSS-Windom Tim Swoboda GSS-Mt. Lake and St. James Andrew Hewitt GSS-Westbrook Gordy Hormann GSS-Jackson Subs.cribe .to the Sentinel Tnbune AI Bart... "Stories from the BaH Cave" Buying shoes I stood at the end of the farm field waiting for the monstrous green machine to come near. It roared close and stopped. The driver, a lifelong farmer, opened the cab door and climbed down from the tractor. He looked like Paul Bunyan on a good day. He had a week's growth of beard and was wearing a gimme cap advertising a brand of seed corn, a Carhartt shirt, and pink Crocs. What is wrong with this picture? Pink Crocs? Plastic shoes with large drain holes that help feet breathe while collecting small stones. I wear Crocs, but they are camouflage-colored so that no the car on my way to the shoe store. I whimpered like a hound that knew he was on the way to the vet's office for neutering. I did- n't know how rd ended up in the vehicle. I guess my cries of, "1 am not going shoe shoppingr' might have been a little vague. Or per- haps, without knowing it, I had learned to speak Klingon. Shoes are a necessity. The only joy some people get is the pleasure of taking their shoes off. It's tough for a barefooted man to leave the house in Minnesota during the month of January. I don't hate shoes. If I did, I would paint my feet to look like Crocs. I walked to the shoe store like one would notice them. Sisyphus pushing a gigantic rock I wish I had been wearing pink up a steep hill. I am uncomfort- Crocs when I caught my wife eye- able in shoe stores. I feel like I do , ing my feet. She focused on my during that sticky time in the car " "[oafe'/sl held together by, seoeral .I before I decide to vein and turn. .cplors of duct tape, as if sheW(re,,., on the air conditioner.. attempting to win a staring con- " My appearance in ishoe store test. The shoes flapped like clown is akin to a Martian landing in the shoes when I walked. That kept me from ever stepping on a cat. In other words, the shoes were barely broken in. They weren't much to look at, but they had a couple of things going for them.. They were comfortable and they were paid for. I always wear shoes when I take a bath. I do that in case of a fire. It is wise behavior but hard on shoes. "Look at those shoes," she said, her words dripping disgust. It was obvious to her that my footwear needed a facelift. "They no longer hold a shine." Storm clouds drew near. "You need to get some new shoes," said my lovely bride. The next thing I knew, I was in mall. I was like a penguin in Death Valley as I walked into an enterprise that was as dark as a Baptist saloon. I had to go to a shoe store because rm not willing to buy shoes by telephone or online. I like being able to honk a shoehorn. The salesman, Harry Highpants, with his trousers pulled up to his Adam's apple, appraised my feet, and immedi- ately guessed the size wrong. "Boy, I thought these size nines would fit you perfectly, but it looks like we're going to have to go with a size thirteen," he bubbled in his best Dale Carnegie imperson- ation. We looked at footwear. Well, my wife and Harry looked. I glanced. I admitted being proud that I could still get into the shoes I'd worn in high school, asked about the trade-in value of my old ones, and mumbled something about having headlights installed on my new shoes so I could walk at night. There was a dazzling array of specialized shoes--walk- ing shoes and running shoes. I wondered what I would do if I were walking along, strolling the stroll of the innocent and unin- formed, when a mongrel of pit- bull/Rottweiler/Doberman/wolf parentage decided to pursue me in the hopes of eliminating a cou- ple of my appendages. Would I have to stop to take off my walk- ing shoes and put on my running shoes? My wife didn't hear my com- ments. Her hearing has become selective ove the yi/at.' t's difficult f nee to 4ook'St"any pdce tag without flinching. Thi pair of overpriced footgear cost the Earth. For an extra $19.95, I could have added an extended warranty--the perfect guarantee for someone who draws a disabil- ity due to gullibility. I passed on the offer when I discovered it did- n't cover bathing damage. When the shoe nearly fits, buy it. Better yet, buy two of them. I left the store with shoes that pinched a bit. I'm hoping they will stretch, but having tight shoes isn't all bad. Tight shoes take a man's mind off his other prob- lems. AI Batt 2009 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 http://albatt.net/ Sentinel Tribune (ISSN 8750-3905) Thomas Merchant Managing Editor Lisa Moravec Advertising Representative Junette Merchant Office & Production Joan Spielman Office & Production Carolyn Van Loh Contributing reporter Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties: Cottonwood, Redwood, Lyon, Murray and Nobles $38.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $42.00 per year. Out of the state $48.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscription will be pro rated accordingly. "Snowbirds" may put their paper on hold at no extra charge while they are gone, or pay $6.00 extra to have it mailed out of state. 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