Letters to the Editor, July 26, 2019

Parks; health reform

Support our parks

Proposition 1, King County Parks, Recreation, Trails and Open Space Levy is imperative to preserving and maintaining King County’s most valuable assets — our forest, parks, open spaces and trails.

The city of Issaquah recently purchased 46 acres of forested open space known as the Bergsma Property. This acquisition adjacent to the Cougar Mountain Regional Wild Land Park may not have been possible without the current parks levy funds to help with the purchase.

In addition, this replacement levy will help build and sustain the current trails on Cougar Mountain, the surrounding Issaquah Alps and other King County parks and trails. Under the new Levy, important programs such as Trail Direct can continue to make open space and parks accessible for all King County communities.

Over the last two years, Save Cougar Mountain’s 2000-plus supporters have demonstrated the importance of maintaining, growing and protecting our parks and open spaces. We urge our community to continue this vision and vote “Yes” on the King County replacement levy.

Representatives of Save Cougar Mountain

Susan Neville

Kay Haynes

Ken Esemann

IDRs are good health reform

Throughout the country, patients are struggling with surprise medical bills that come in the mail weeks after they have received treatment from what they thought was an in-network physician. These bills can be significant, creating real financial hardship for Washington families. Thankfully, Congress is working on a solution to this problem — but I fear the “medicine” in this case could be as bad as the “disease.”

Some in Congress are focusing on a “benchmarking” approach to that would pay doctors too little, increase an already troubling trend of provider consolidation, and put up unnecessary barriers to patients accessing care. Thankfully, others in Congress are focusing on a different — and better — approach called Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR), which incentivizes providers and insurers to negotiate in good faith and saves patients from receiving surprise medical bills.

Our U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier has it right — she’s supporting an IDR approach. As a medical doctor, Schrier knows how important it is to ensure patients have access to care. I urge Rep. Schrier to work with Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to ensure that IDR is part of any surprise billing bill that emerges from the U.S. Senate.

Colette Dow

Issaquah

Vote ‘Yes’ on parks levy

The Issaquah Alps Trails Club (IATC) urges all King County residents, particularly those living around the Issaquah Alps, to strongly support and vote “Yes” on the upcoming 2020-2025 King County Parks,Recreation, Trails and Open Space Replacement Levy that will be on the Aug. 6 ballot.

Under the levy, about $810 million would be generated over six years for the county’s 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 28,000 acres of open space. The property tax would cost about 18 cents per $1,000 of assessed value (or about $7.60 per month for the owner of a home valued at $500,000).

About 39 percent of the Levy will fund operations and maintenance of our parks and trails. This will help King County Parks keep pace with our growing population by funding repairs and renovation of our aging facilities including play areas and ballfields. Additional Levy funds would help make parks more accessible to all King County residents, expand regional trails and fund open space acquisition.

For 40 years the IATC has advocated for, and witnessed, the benefits to conserving open spaces and providing parks and trails that the levy will fund. The levy funds are essential to preserving and maintaining the many incredible parks, trails and open space we all love. Please vote “Yes” on Aug. 6.

John Sherwin,

Issaquah Alps Trails Club president

David Dunphy,

Issaquah Alps Trails Club president elect

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