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Letters of Thanks

 Thanks, CSI, for Science Camp

Thanks you, CSI, for the great Science Camp you provided for the many kids last week. The teachers had many ideas and things for the kids to do. Before and after classes the kids were enthusiast and were excited to learn. Thank you all!

Jeanene Ellis

Grandparent of Spencer and Colbie from Nampa

Ceremony was great

The 2017 Idaho Rodeo Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was a huge success. Many people contributed and the words "thank you'" are heartfelt. Mychel Matthews of the Times-News, Joe Martin KMTV, The D. L. Evans Banks with Josh Rose and Jim Evans, TEC Distributors - Coors Tony Vest, Katie and staff at the Canyon Crest Dining and Event Center. Terry Rowe and staff at St. Luke's Foundation. Channy and Lonnie LaVell, Bob Humphries, Karrie Ricketts and Deanne Bell, our IRHF Board Members, and all volunteers. Thanks also to all the donors to make this year the best yet! The turnout was huge and everyone appreciated "The Best" of the Gem State Rodeo Inductees!

Thanks again!

Zeb Bell

Vice president, IRHF

Kids Art in the Park a success

On behalf of the Magic Valley Arts Council, I would like to thank the following community members for their support of the 26th annual Kids Art in the Park, July 29, in the Twin Falls City Park. We were able to offer a half-day of arts workshops to 370 kids.

Major support was provided by Keveren Foundation, Browning Charitable Trust, Optimist Club of Twin Falls, Twin Falls Rotary, Pepsi Beverages, Falls Brand Independent Meat, PSI, Five Fish Press, Clif Bar, Chobani, Magic Valley Printing and Tour Ice of Magic Valley.

Additional contributors: Karen Fothergill, Les Reitz, Bob and Linda Sojka, Safe House volunteers, Dan Brizee - Brizee Heating Air Conditioning, Community Adult & Juvenile Probation Service volunteers, Twin Falls Lions, Robin Dober, Costco, Kathy Hansen, Bette Smith, Alice Anderson, Jan Mittleider, Leon Smith, Joe Shaw, Fred Meyer, Home Depot, Albertsons, Nathan Wheeler, Amelia Wheeler, Tyler Smith, Pegan Cook, Mary Kay Martin, Carol Hollifield, Jean Shawver, Lisa Donnelley, Dennis Bowyer, Susan Waters, Jewel Vieu, Cheryl Sevello, Mardo Eaton, Culver’s Restaurant, Alex Neudorff, Elias Spooner, Katherine Wheeler, and 27 art teachers that made it possible for another successful Kids Art in the Park event.

Carolyn White

Executive director

Magic Valley Arts Council


Columnists
OTHER VIEW
Other View: Trump has a plan to make health insurance more expensive for you and the government

President Donald Trump is trying to decide whether he wants to make health insurance more expensive for people purely out of spite.

This is apparently a hard choice for him. Trump has equivocated for months now about whether he will keep making Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction payments. Those are just the subsidies the government gives insurance companies to make up for the fact that they are now required to subsidize their poorer customers themselves. Trump might be able to cut them off, though, since there is some question whether the money for them was actually appropriated in the first place.

Republicans had successfully sued the Obama administration over this, but the case is still under appeal—an appeal that Trump could drop if he so chooses (although state attorneys general could pick it up). And it looks like he might now that the Republican attempt to repeal and perhaps replace Obamacare has fallen apart. That, at least, is what he tweeted in the aftermath of the GOP’s failed health-care vote. If Trump can’t get rid of all of Obamacare, it seems like he’ll settle for getting rid of the parts of it that make it work.

Trump did warn us that there was going to be so much winning, we’d get sick and tired of winning.

Now, the important thing to understand about all this is that Obamacare limits how much working-and-middle-class households have to pay in premiums and how much everyone pays out-of-pocket. However, it does this in two different ways. When it comes to premiums, it lets insurers charge whatever they want, and then gives people making 400 percent of the poverty level or less -$48,240 for individuals, or $98,400 for a family of four—whatever subsidy they need to keep this from being too much for them. But when it comes to copays and deductibles, it puts a strict cap on how much insurance companies can make people pay.

The problem, though, is that these out-of-pocket limits are still too much for a lot of people. After all, a $7,150 maximum for individuals or $14,300 for families—that’s what the limits are this year—isn’t a lot of help for someone only making, say, $20,000. So to deal with that, Obamacare sets an even lower limit for low-income people, and forces insurance companies to eat the costs.

Well, at least upfront. This, you see, is where the CSRs come in. They subsidize the subsidizers. And with good reason. If the government didn’t, it would actually end up paying more money for everyone to pay higher premiums.

Without the CSRs, insurance companies would lose money on the lower deductibles they have to offer low-income people, and, to offset this, would charge higher premiums across the board. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation estimates it’d be something like a 19 percent increase on average. Now, this actually wouldn’t be a big deal for people who got health insurance subsidies, since those go up as premiums do, but it’d be a disaster for everybody else. It wouldn’t be good for the government either. We just said why. It’s that the subsidies it pays go up in tandem with premiums. Spending less on CSRs, then, just means that it would spend more on health insurance subsidies—enough to wipe out all the money it would save on them, and then some. Indeed, the Kaiser Family Foundation thinks that cutting the $7 billion of CSRs would force the government to spend $9.3 billion more on these other subsidies. That’s right: the government would be spending more for us to get less.

So, the way things are now, CSR money is going to get spent one way or another. The government can either do it in time to stop premiums from going up, or wait until they do and spend more money on it. Trump, at least judging by his tweets, seems to favor this second, more destructive option as a way to sabotage Obamacare if he can’t repeal it.

I guess that’s what Trump meant about running the government like a business. A bankrupt business.


Editorial
OUR VIEW
Our View: Cheers and Jeers

Cheer

Good government looks to the future.

That’s why the city of Twin Falls deserves a cheer for a sweeping plan to reorganize the city’s fire stations.

As the city grows, it’s vital to have fire stations close to the biggest population centers. That’s not the case now, where the city’s east side is without a station. A quick reminder: New housing is booming on the city’s east side, and the area is home to a new school. It needs a fire station.

Government’s primary role is to protect its citizens, of course, to provide public safety as the base foundation of a community. If people aren’t safe, not much else matters.

The city on Monday approved plans that could lead to the construction of new fire stations better positioned to respond to neighborhoods. And it’s likely the community’s existing stations will receive upgrades designed to make an already top-notch department even better.

Earlier this year, the fire department began responding to medical emergencies in addition to fires. The department says the policy change has already saved lives. Imagine how many more people could be saved if fire stations were better positioned, leading to quicker response times.

We fully support the city’s plans to study fire-station placement, especially if it leads to an east side station. It’s a win for all city residents when we can live in comfort knowing a fire truck is just minutes away should disaster strike.

Jeer

President Trump this week announced his administration’s support for a program that would curtail the number of green cards issued by the United States and introduce a new system for determining who gets in based on their ability to contribute to the American economy.

There are plenty of things to support about the plan (and more than plenty to oppose it). The plan was actually unveiled in April and went absolutely nowhere. Considering that, and the fact that Congress has a packed legislative calendar for the rest of the year, and it’s unlikely this bill is going anywhere anytime soon.

For us, the fact the administration is focusing on green cards instead of a wider and more sweeping immigration reform designed to benefit the nation’s ag and service sectors is downright disappointing. The United States is no closer to a reform that would benefit companies and workers in the Magic Valley, where an immigrant population is filling jobs, especially in agriculture, that native-born residents simply do not want.

In the Magic Valley, immigrants aren’t stealing jobs from U.S. residents; they’re filling jobs U.S. residents will not work.

We’d certainly like to see more leadership on the issue from Idaho’s congressional delegation, which includes Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador and Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.

The Magic Valley economy would absolutely collapse under the kinds of hard-liner approaches that demonize foreign-born workers the president’s administration seems to favor. Common-sense Republicans like Simpson and Crapo must have louder voices in this debate.

Cheer

A horse is a horse, of course, of course. Unless you’re talking about the newest equine addition to the Rising Stars Therapeutic Riding Center, which helps people with disabilities through working with horses.

The therapy center won Lucky, a 7-year-old Gypsy Vanner, in a national online contest. The breed is unusual. As reporter Mychel Matthews explained in a story this week, “Vanner horses, bred by Roma after World War II to pull caravans, are known for their short, muscular bodies and calm disposition. Lucky is dapple gray and stands just 14 hands high.”

The breed’s oversized hooves are hidden by long hair called feathers.

Lucky will be used in therapy for all kinds of children with disabilities. It’s widely accepted that working with animals have positive effects on some children with autism, in particular.

Welcome to the Magic Valley, Lucky.