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Editorial
OUR VIEW
Our View: Cheers and Jeers

Cheer

Braxten Nielsen is giving new meaning to the phrase cowboy up.

The College of Southern Idaho rodeo athlete was competing Aug. 31 at the Twin Falls County Fair when his horse reared in the chute, pinning Nielsen against the gates.

His spinal cord was compressed. His spine twisted. And he broke his back.

Now, the 24-year-old from Roosevelt, Utah, is paralyzed from the waist down.

But that’s not stopping his cowboy attitude. Doctors have told Nielsen it’s unlikely he’ll ever walk again. Nielsen isn’t as convinced.

He’s thrown himself into physical therapy, and he’s taking his recovery just like his bareback rides: one second at a time.

We wish him good luck in his recovery and hope his story will be an inspiration for anyone facing adversity.

Jeer

Jeers to the GOP’s latest effort to repeal, reform or replace the Affordable Care Act. (At this point, not even Republicans can agree on which of the three this latest proposal does.) Congress has until the end of this month to act before a legislative rule change will make it all but impossible for Republicans to change the controversial health care law.

But this latest proposal, from GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, is just as bad as the party’s previous attempts this summer, efforts that would have stripped millions of coverage. After eight years of empty promises, a summer of chaos and a party still divided over its vision for health care, the GOP isn’t any closer to finding a workable fix for Obamacare.

This latest effort does deliver ideas worth more consideration, particularly the main thrust of the Graham-Cassidy plan that would give far more powers to states to manage health care for their residents. We generally believe that government works better the closer it is to its citizens.

But do you really want the Idaho Legislature in charge of your health care? Idaho lawmakers don’t exactly have a stellar record in this arena, particularly recently. Remember, the Legislature has been embarrassingly incapable of crafting fixes for the state’s so-called gap population, about 70,000 Idahoans without access to affordable care, despite controlling both chambers and the governor’s office.

We have serious doubts the Legislature would craft Idaho’s plan with the state’s most vulnerable residents in mind, protect people with pre-existing conditions or ensure easy access to affordable plans.

We believe the country’s health care system needs reform – Obamacare is not the ideal system – but this latest last-ditch proposal smacks of a desperate desire to keep a campaign promise even if it means hurting Americans.

We need a fix, but this isn’t it. We encourage Idaho’s congressional delegation to reject this plan and continue working toward a solution that will truly transform the nation’s health care system for the better.

Keep your promise, but get it right when you do.

Cheer

It’s not very often you’ll get 9 in 10 people to agree on something. At the College of Southern Idaho, it seems almost easy.

Fully 90 percent of the student body has rated their college experience at CSI as “good” or “excellent.”

And, according to the Community College Survey of Student Engagement, more than 96 percent of CSI students would recommend the college to a family member or friend.

That says a lot about the leadership, instructors and programs at the community college. Students leave CSI fully trained to join the workforce, educated through programs tailor-made for jobs available in the Magic Valley. Other students go on to other schools to earn four-year degrees. And some students stay right on campus to earn those diplomas.

Clearly, CSI is on the right track.


Mailbag
LETTERS OF THANKS
Letters of Thanks

Flag display a blessing

I would like to express my thanks to the Crouch family for the flag display at Cross Pointe Ranch. It is an awesome sight and can’t help but inspire you to count your blessings for living in the land of America.

Everyone should be touched by this display of patriotism for our country and be thankful for the men and women in our armed forces who protect the freedoms and way of life that we enjoy and take for granted every day.

Merna Johnson

Twin Falls

Snake River Queen provides fun for elderly

The residents and staff at Countryside Care and Rehab on the Minidoka Memorial Hospital campus would like to thank the staff of the Snake River Queen for their hospitality and the great time provided. Aug. 29 was a special day as Countryside Care and Rehab took 11 residents and a few family members for a relaxing ride down the Snake River. Chef Jeff Stromire prepared a nice lunch for us to enjoy while listening to music playing in the background. The river was peaceful and the weather could not have been better.

Residents told stories of their past times on the river. Others just were amazed by the water and birds. One husband and wife couple held hands and just enjoyed the time together. This was a great experience for the residents but also for the staff that went along to see the happy faces and learn more about the residents they take care of daily. In its eighth year of providing this special day, it just gets better every year. Thank you, Snake River Queen staff, for the opportunity to do such a great thing with our residents. It made our day.

Residents and staff Countryside Care and Rehab

Thanks for supporting Chicks N Chaps

The Filer Chicks N Chaps held our first Ladies Rodeo Clinic, Sept. 1, in conjunction with the Twin Falls County Fair and Magic Valley Stampede. It was a delightful, educational event teaching women about the sport of rodeo, while raising money for breast cancer patients. We especially would like to thank our sponsors: TitleOne Corp, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Donna Hall-Realtor and Edward Jones-Jerome. And a huge thank you to all the local businesses for your donations to help make our live and silent auctions successful: A Happy Camper, Addison Photography, Anita’s Buckin’ Bar, Ann’s Eyewear Boutique, Blu, Boyer Jewelry, Buffalo Café, Travis “Butch” Clelland, Cactus Pete’s Resort & Casino, Canyon Crest Event Center, Canyon Floral, Catering by Karen, Chick-fil-A, Chisum’s Horseshoeing, Clifbar, Cookie Basket, Cowboy Images Wild Rags, Daisy’s Old Time Confections, DL Evans Bank-Jerome, Elevation 486, First Federal-Kimberly, Fox Floral, Fringe Salon, Gordy Prairie, Jerome Golf Course, John Pitz, Kimberly Vet Clinic, Leon Reed, Marod Spa, Magic Valley Arts Council, O’Dunkens, Party Center, Plant Therapy, Putters Mini Golf, Quale’s Electronics, Rock Creek Restaurant, Rocket Express, Rudy’s, Samantha Perkins, Scarrow Meats, Serendipity Spa, SierraGold, St. Luke’s Auxiliary, St. Luke’s Catering, St. Luke’s Medical Center, The Barbershop at Gehring, Dale & Co, The Fringed Pineapple, Tianna’s Coffee House, Tomato’s Italian Grill, Tonya Corle, Tony’s 2T Auto, Vicker’s Western Store and Vita Bella Salon. All funds raised will be used to assist local breast cancer patients in the five-county area served by St. Luke’s Mountain State Tumor Institute in Twin Falls. Thank you to everyone who helped make our inaugural event a rewarding achievement.

Stephanie Novacek

Chicks N Chaps Auction chairwoman


Columnists
Jones: The Senate health care charade is grossly irresponsible

Jim Jones

I often wonder what happened to the Republican Party, whose banner I carried for many years, starting in the 1960s. Republicans believed in responsible governmental policies, based on sound evidence. The U.S. Senate was characterized as the greatest deliberative body in the world. Hearings were held to give interested parties the opportunity to testify as to how legislation would affect them and to eliminate any potential problems in the bill before passage. From time to time there were party-line votes but for the most part Senators of both parties worked across party lines.

Beginning in the 1990s, the U.S. House embraced party-line voting but the Senate retained its deliberative process. That, however, has changed in the last decade or so. Now, party-line voting is the order of the day, often without regard to the merits of the legislation under consideration. The Senate, like the House, now trots out complicated bills that have not had the benefit of hearings and calls them up for a party-line vote, even before Senators have had a chance to read or digest them or learn from their constituents how they will be impacted.

The prime example of this irresponsible conduct is the succession of health care bills that the Senate has brought up for a vote this year without holding hearings or giving constituents the chance to read and comment upon the legislation. Each bill has been substantially different from the preceding one so constituents have been continually blind-sided. What we do know is that each bill eliminated health care coverage for large segments of the population and jeopardized those with pre-existing conditions. Based on apparently informed reports, the present bill will do the same.

It is highly irresponsible for the Republican leadership to essentially pull a bill out of its whatever, without having a single hearing, and immediately put it to a party-line vote, especially where it will affect the well-being of millions of people and one-sixth of the U.S. economy. The medical and insurance industries are largely opposed to the present bill because of the disruption and uncertainty it will bring to the marketplace. The Idaho Medical Association and Idaho Hospital Association have come out against the bill, as have many organizations representing people who stand to lose health coverage.

From what is known of the Republican bill, rural hospitals will be devastated, many children will be unable to get necessary care under the CHIP program, and insurance premiums for Idahoans and others will see substantial increases. Each of the 50 states will have two years to devise its own health care plan. We have already seen how well that has worked in Idaho with regard to only a part of the problem — trying to deal with the Medicaid gap.

This is no way to make important public policy. Legislation with such far-reaching effects should be thoroughly vetted. The public, including members of the Senate, should have a chance to learn what is in the legislation and the opportunity to be heard. The provisions of the bill should be supported by the evidence. At minimum, the Congressional Budget Office should be given enough time to thoroughly review the bill and inform Senators as to how it will impact the public. Why keep the bill in hiding until it is sprung on the floor for a vote? If it has the merits its proponents claim, why not let everyone see for themselves? Taking action on a bill without understanding how it may affect the economy or impact people’s lives is something that responsible Republicans would never have done back when I grew up in the party.

And, it is not enough to say that the other party did it when it was in power. Even if that were the case, it does not excuse bad conduct. When a party is in power it is obligated under our constitutional scheme to act responsibly and in the public interest. Just because Johnny acted badly on the playground did not excuse misconduct on my part, according to Mrs. Molyneuex, my grade school teacher. When senators do not act responsibly or deliberatively, they should be retired by their constituents.


Jim Jones