Letters: Creative ideas needed instead of new bridge
OK, so the rhetoric about building a new or improved bridge (between Oregon and Washington) is just a fantasy. If we decided on building one now it probably would not happen in my lifetime. I want someone to come forward with some credible, creative ideas to solve our commuting problems. Let me offer a few ideas. Please don't shoot them down until you really think about them.
First, if you build a hospital on top of a hilltop how do you get thousands of people up there? You build a tram. Why can't we build several trams that span from Vancouver to Portland — one by the Interstate 5 bridge and the other by the I-205 bridge?
They could arrive close to the MAX light rail at the Portland Expo station and/or commuters could catch a ride service to take them into Portland. The cars could line up the way they do at the airport.
Someone also could build a parking lot on the Vancouver side and charge for parking. People would gladly do that so as not to endure the commute. The return on investment should be realized in a few years. Why not?
Second, the train. It is incredibly sad that we can take an Amtrak train from Vancouver (and from Longmont and points north) right into Portland and vice versa but not on a regularly scheduled and convenient time.
Why can't we have trains going into Portland between 6 and 9 in the morning and 3 and 6 in the afternoon? Both Washington and Oregon could collect $1 per passenger per trip and Amtrak will get their fare. This would sweeten the transportation revenue for all three.
Third, boats. We have incredible apartments and condos being built on the Vancouver wharf. Why not have boats that would take passengers from a point in Vancouver (perhaps by the condos) across the river to a pickup station of ride services that would be lined up in the morning to take passengers to their appointed destinations? The reverse would happen in the evening. Again, both Washington and Oregon could set a per passenger per ride fee.
I believe creative ideas like these (and there must be many others) need to be carefully discussed, and please don't tell me that "politics" won't let it happen. If there is money to be made, politicians can find a way to make it happen.
Holocaust education must include American Indians
One can commend the Oregon Legislature for directing that Oregon schools teach about the European Holocaust. But I find it curious and discouraging that we will teach our children about "evil" Europeans, but there is no similar law requiring educators to teach about the American holocaust inflicted on Native Americans.
One can at least hope that the new curriculum will explain how Adolf Hitler himself approvingly described the model he used to devise his early visions of a "final solution to the Jewish Problem" — the treatment of American Indians by the U.S. government.
Bad prescription plan worse than no plan
I agree with Ms. Haughton-Pitts' piece from Aug. 15 that, "We need relief from high cost of prescription drugs." This is a huge problem and it far past time that Congress address the issue in a way that will protect Americans and Oregonians.
As always, the devil is in the details and Congress is looking at multiple proposals to tackle drug pricing. It is critical that they get this right. I agree with AARP that the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act is a right step and a far preferable one to the Trump administration's favorite proposal: the International Pricing Index (IPI). IPI would benchmark prices of most Part B drugs to an average calculated among a group of approximately 16 countries. Effectively, this would import foreign price controls and in an attempt to lower Medicare Part B prices.
This sounds great in theory but many leading patient groups are concerned about the ramifications of IPI in terms of what it will mean for access to critical treatments and medicines. There is evidence that patients in the 16 countries that would set the benchmark for IPI do not have access to state-of-the-art medical innovation.
For example, restrictions imposed by the United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence create substantial barriers between patients and life-saving treatments — recent analysis shows that nearly 92% of oncology treatments were subjected to access restrictions between 2013-17. Further, Americans get access to new cancer medicines an average of two years earlier than patients in Europe.
It is great that AARP is fighting to protect seniors and consumers on this issue. Over 59 million seniors and people with disabilities rely on Medicare Part B for essential treatments, and IPI would put access to that care into question. Congress should reject IPI and look to other solutions.
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