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Rising prices for pharmaceutical drugs

Finally someone is taking a stance on this issue. I was pleased to see one of the presidential candidates discuss and propose solutions for the number one health concern in our country (Des Moines Register, 9/21/15).

It’s a fact that the prices for brand name prescription drug prices increase every year. Even the prices of generic brands have skyrocketed more than 1,000% in the last year (New York Times). Unfortunately, when drug prices soar, patients face serious life-threatening consequences.

These high costs prevent the drugs from getting to the patients who need them the most. It’s absurd that we live in a wealthy country yet people are dying of disease — not because there is no cure — but because the cost of their required drugs is too high. Even with health insurance, patients don’t have the money to pay out-of-pockets costs for the life-saving drugs.

With our first-in-the-nation caucus status, we Iowans are in a unique position to have our voices heard by all of the presidential candidates. I commend Bernie Sanders for starting the conversation in his op-ed piece and I urge other presidential candidates to share their ideas. Let’s continue the conversation and ask the candidates for their solutions to the cost of drug prices that are a life-threatening problem and a serious financial burden to Iowans.

Rose Brandsgard

Re: “How socialist is Sanders?”

     I was, well, appalled that Joe Lane should raise the question about how socialist Bernie Sanders is, but we should all be prepared to deal with the full spectrum of questions regarding our candidates on each side, so I suppose I shouldn’t be appalled very much. He made some excellent comments to raise our awareness as to the rhetoric that is being showered upon us from every side. It’s amazing that there should be such an abundance of wisdom in our representatives while our country, and our place in the world has become such a shambles.

     I know that socialism is a very complex concept of government. I know this because there is such a prevailing level of intellectual confusion regarding its implementation, or the lack of it. So I’ll try to keep it simple: There are two brands of socialism, and neither of them should be alluring to citizens of this country because socialism poses far too many obstacles before a constitutional form of government. One kind of socialism is international communism that made its mark in the world under the leadership of a couple of Russians who became soviets after the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. Those two would be Lenin and Stalin. The other kind of socialism is national in scope rather than international, and it’s understandably called national socialism, from which the word, “Nazi” was drawn. National socialism was promoted in a rather vicious way by Adolf Hitler in Germany. Many of us remember him well, and we didn’t like him because he was all about forcing his will, with tanks, upon the rest of the free world. Germany was an enemy of this country because we didn’t agree with him about his determination to create a Third Reich.

     Both of these socialist forms of government have a common denominator. That denominator is big and powerful central governments, otherwise known as dictatorships. Our constitutional form of government was constructed to diligently stand opposed to dictatorships. Our American Revolution was fought to remove the confining powers of a monarchy, which is but yet another form of dictatorship, cushioned somewhat by a parliament.

     It should be clear to all, then, that it doesn’t really make a difference as to what kind of socialist Bernie Sanders is. He should be rejected because socialism in the world has been tried and tested over the course of the 20th century and it has failed to provide the freedoms it had promised. It has instead been the source of pain, misery, and deaths of hundreds of millions of innocent victims who dared to believe that their hope for freedom somehow stood as a threat to the state’s enforcement of socialism.

Steve Hufferd

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