The Daily Iowan

Letters to the editor


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Branstad can’t terminate regents, but options exist

Gov. Terry Branstad is correct that the Iowa Code prevents him from removing members of the state Board of Regents. However, his additional statement that the regents do not serve at the pleasure of the governor is at least partially false.

Three years ago, for no apparent reason, Branstad personally requested that former Regent President David Miles and former President Pro Tem Jack Evans step down from their leadership roles. Under this pressure, both resigned from their positions, leading us to the current leadership of Regent President Bruce Rastetter and President Pro Tem Katie Mulholland.

In the spirit of the corporate veil under which the regents wish to shroud itself and Iowa’s public universities, the call for the regents’ resignation is not unlike cries from investors (Iowans) in a company (the regents) when the company’s leadership underperforms or makes the wrong decisions.

The regents, and Rastetter and Mulholland specifically, should be ashamed of the reputational damage their actions have inflicted on the University of Iowa and incoming-President Bruce Harreld. While it is true that Branstad cannot terminate regents, he can certainly call for the leadership to resign, and he should. If he doesn’t, one would hope that Rastetter’s and Mulholland’s consciences, if not the negative public outcry surrounding their actions, would compel them do step down. The regents have failed to adequately fulfill its obligations to faithfully uniformly lead Iowa’s public universities for the betterment of the state; the regents’ leadership should be held accountable for its actions.

Jake Christensen

Time to address skyrocketing prescription-drug prices

Newspapers are starting to cover the issue and now it’s time for candidates to get involved. The issue of skyrocketing prescription-drug prices is a top health concern for Iowans and one that is forcing working families to choose between basic necessities and their prescriptions.

While all prescription drugs have seen price increases over the last few years, the most drastic hikes come from specialty drugs, or drugs that treat chronic illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. For example, over 15 cancer drugs now cost patients $10,000 each month, and in the last seven years the cost of one brand of insulin has risen 354 percent (Bloomberg).

These price hikes are unjustifiable and have serious consequences for    patients who can no longer afford their medications. Patients who are prescribed specialty drugs are particularly vulnerable because they have to take them; their lives quite literally depend on it. When drug prices go up, they must either find a way to pay for them or risk dying from their chronic illness.

We must do something about this issue, pharmaceutical companies can’t continue to play games with our lives. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 76 percent of Americans believe finding a solution to prescription-drug prices should be Washington’s top health-care priority, but no one is going to take action unless we demand it. Over the next few months, presidential candidates will visit your communities. Please take a moment to ask them what their plan is to lower prescription drug prices.

J.R. Fikuart, RPh.

Make Iowa City a better place to live

I was a part of the audience that heard Bryan Stevenson (brought here by the University Center For Human Rights, as part of its One Community, One Book program) the brilliant author of *Just Mercy*, the book follows Bryan from his first challenge representing men (mostly black men) who are on death row. I heard in his talk the need for all of us to become involved to make a difference in our world. There are many concerns that we need to address, such as the environment, racial justice, medical concerns, the homeless, food banks, crisis issues, affordable housing, accessibility issues, student finances, etc. There are so many organizations and political candidates that are working to address these issues with a shortage of volunteers. Our community needs you, but it’s up to you to contact them, learn about what they do, and become involved. Your involvement helps to build a stronger city. You might say you don’t have time, it only takes a few hours a week out of your schedule. You might say I wouldn’t know what to do, the organization that you choose will train you. I hope you will become involved in making Iowa City a better place to live.

Harry Olmstead

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