60 Newspapers Wouldn’t Publish this letter Critical of Kids Plan

Below is a letter by a small businessman that was sent to 60 newspapers and never used. It gives an honest criticism of Kulongoski’s Healthy Kids Plan. We think it would be terrible for the media to only show you one-side of this important debate, so here is the letter that editors are ignoring:

Closer look at Healthy Kids Plan.

In the debate over Oregon’s Healthy Kids Plan, many significant failures of the program are getting little attention. Most Oregonians agree that something needs to be done to help uninsured children get good health insurance. However, the state of Oregon needs to take a hard look at this plan and really study the details and funding, which are being passed over by both the media and many Legislators.

The plan encourages parents who have health insurance for their kids, through their employer to switch to a state assisted program. Many families in Oregon responsibly pay for their children’s health care and forego other luxuries such as expensive cars and the latest gadgets. Even at the newly reduced qualifying amount, this proposed plan would be available to families of four with household incomes of $62,000. The State should be very concerned about how many people will opt out of their current plan to a free, taxpayer subsidized plan.

The State should also be worried about how many families move to Oregon to join the plan. Yes, they do have to prove residency in the State of Oregon for 6 months, but the requirements are very vague, and there is no prohibition of coverage for children who are not legal residents or citizens of the United States.

Finally, the plan requires funding from a cigarette and tobacco tax increase which means that 20% of Oregonians, those that smoke, will be paying for the plan. In addition, retailers such as myself will lose even more sales to Internet and other black market purchases. Our stores rely on the sales of cigarettes to make a profit, and some of the 3,000 retailers in Oregon will have to lay off employees, many of whom have benefits and health insurance. Recent news articles have highlighted the fact that cigarette tax collections are declining. Yet the State of Oregon tosses the economic numbers aside and is pushing forward on an important piece of legislation that relies on an unstable funding source. And, only half of the projected revenue actually goes to the Health Kids Plan.

Representative Merkley’s, who is helping to pass the plan, states in a press release that “nothing we will consider this session is more important for families than affordable, accessible health care for all Oregon’s children.” It’s true. Consequently, the Oregon Legislature should take the time to study the details, get the facts on their unanswered questions and find a stable funding source. Does the State really want to force children off the plan in two years, due to lack of revenues and huge enrollment numbers? If not, Legislators need to get it right the first time when implementing this program. We owe it to Oregon’s kids.

Jim Trenary
(503) 588-7872
Jim is the CEO of James D. Trenary, Inc. which owns and operates 12 retail stores and gas stations throughout the state of Oregon, while employing over 140 people.

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Posted by at 04:50 | Posted in Measure 37 | 34 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Steve Plunk

    Rational, reasonable and well written. Not a rant but a solid statement of fact and opinion. I would sure like to know why it was not printed and why guys like this are ignored by the media and our elected officials.

  • Jerry

    Jim – well said. The plan is a complete joke – more government, more waste, more bad things. Anyone who is in favor of this plan is simply a big government fan who wants more waste and control – not anyone who really cares about any kids or anyone else. If solicalized medicine is so great, which is just what this is, then why are people from countries with it flocking here to get treatment?
    Could it be that it has never worked anywhere it was ever tried?
    Keep state government out of our lives and our pocketbooks.
    Fools.

  • John Fairplay

    Yes, great letter. thoughtful and well-reasoned. But way, way, way too long. I am not surprised no papers printed it. Shorten it to 150 words and you’re likely to get printed.

  • I’m in agreement as well. The unionization of newspapers and the media in general has caused the 4th Estate to become a useless tool for citizens to voice their opinions. Media held in the hands of the few is worthless for the protections it provides people from the abusea of the other 3 branches of government.

    Perhaps if Jim had not owned up to owning stores that sell tobacco products, his letter may have been published. Everyone reading this should contact their local paper and submit such a letter without mentioning any vested interest in tobacco. His honesty probably cost him. After all honesty is not in the tool kit of the opposition.

  • gus miller

    I would suggest submitting it to one newspaper at a time as an op-ed column (up to 500 words).

    It can be e-mailed: [email protected].

    Newspapers are understandably reluctant to publish something that has been mailed to multiple outlets.

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