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We need to hear more from council candidates

I have to admit I am not a computer geek so to speak however, I recently discovered in the Council Bluffs web page there is a section called “Minute with the Mayor” which is informative and current for the most part and a method to communicate with the public. This, of course, is not as personal as a town hall setting.

I think I have offered the suggestion to the current city council candidates this would be a good way to have some back and forth with the citizens since we’re lacking any council web page.

There is not a lack of topics to cover looking forward and the question is how assertive of a leadership role will they bring forward. The norm has been address what is put on the agenda and no press releases or initiatives from individual council members.

Sam Irwin

Council Bluffs

Medicare for All could help substance abuse crisis

September is National Recovery Month, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2019 marks the 30th year that National Recovery Month is celebrated. I’m writing because I believe Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan is the best way to take on the substance abuse crisis in America.

I’m 29 years old, I manage a retail store in Iowa, and I’m an alcoholic. I have spent my entire adult life battling a disease that afflicts nearly 20 million Americans. With the help of treatment and a recovery program, I celebrated 2 years of sobriety on August 12.

At age 27, I was homeless, jobless, and out of options. I was blessed beyond measure to finally be able to go to rehab. I spent 28 days in an inpatient facility, and six weeks in outpatient care. I was so excited — my life began anew unlike anything I had ever experienced. I didn’t have health insurance, and luckily for me, the treatment facility I visited had financing available. At seven days sober, I readily agreed to anything that would help me continue my journey.

Then I got the bill: $20,000 at $324 a month is what it costs for me to be alive today. In addition to daily expenses like housing, food, and transportation, I am also working to pay off $25,000 in student debt. My combined student debt and alcohol treatment bills run $500 a month, which is approximately 20% of my income. Sure, my employer offers health insurance, but I can’t afford the premiums due to my previous medical bills and student loans.

I pray every day that I don’t become afflicted by a major illness or medical emergency because I won’t be able to afford it. The rehab facility I went to no longer offers financing to people without private insurance due to the risk, meaning that people have to come up with cash or pay high deductibles or co-payments to get the life-saving treatment they need. God forbid, if I ever relapsed, I would die. I don’t have another chance to beat addiction because I can’t afford it.

Medicare for All would help ensure that I and all Americans receive the life-saving treatment and care that we deserve.

C.J. Petersen

Breda

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