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No county tax levy funds spent on health care
In response to the questions answered by candidates in the Aug. 9 Montevideo American-News, I felt it was necessary to clarify some statements made by a candidate for county commissioner.

The statement, as written is last week's paper was, "Similarly, Family Services are currently required by the state to provide Medical Assistance as a secondary insurer for children of divorced parents who qualify. In its current state, this is wasteful practice that costs the county thousands of dollars in order to save the recipient from paying even the most minimal of deductibles."

Family Service agencies in Minnesota are not required to provide Medical Assistance for children of divorced parents, there is no state mandate to this effect. The health care programs available to children in our state are available according to family income, regardless of the marital status of the parents.

If a family qualifies for health care services, the family is required to maintain their existing health insurance if it is determined cost effective. This actually saves taxpayer dollars because Medical Assistance is then the secondary payer, the private health insurance is the primary payer.

Although health care programs through Family Services are funded by taxpayer dollars, they are funded 100 percent by state and federal funds according to state and federal mandates. There are no county tax levy funds spent on health care services.

If anyone has questions about funding for health care or any other benefits provided through our agency, I would be happy to answer those questions.

—Betty Christensen
Director, Chippewa County Family Services, Montevideo

Quit before it's too late
Since January, I have spent more than a month in the hospital and many of those days in intensive care because of CPOD/emphysema.

I smoked for 50 years and was told in the late 1990s that I would be on oxygen in a couple of years. Well, I didn't listen, but in 2004 my doctor put me on oxygen even though I had quit smoking in 2003. Since I was a smoker for so many years, my lungs were so damaged that, even on oxygen, I get bronchitis at the snap of a finger. All scents bother me, such as cleaning fluids, perfumes, soaps, exhaust fumes and scented candles. It gets worse every year.

It saddens me to see people smoke, and even when you talk to them about the dangers of smoking, they continue to smoke. But the real bad thing is seeing the young boys and girls picking up used cigarette butts behind the VFW Legion and Eagles and on the streets of Barnesville.

Television ads do not even come close to telling how bad smoking really is for everyone, not only the smokers, but those around them, or how it affects your whole life. It is now a difficult chore for me to talk any distance, to wash up or to even go to the bathroom. Even with oxygen, your lungs can't put the oxygen into your blood so it can reach your muscles. People just don't realize this until it is too late.

I invite any one of you to call me or come visit me so I can explain what it is like to not be able to breathe, until you have been near death a couple of times in a six-month period. Or ask my family what it was like to see me suffer with a breathing tube down my throat. It is not a very pleasant picture.

—Ron Cole