LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September is Pain Awareness Month, and as the longest-established pain management center in the valley, we want to emphasize the serious economic ramifications pain has on our society.

A staggering 76.5 million Americans say they have had a problem with pain lasting longer than a day. Access to pain care remains a barrier for many Americans, including insurance policies requiring a person with pain to "fail" on other therapies before receiving their prescribed medication. Insurance companies must remove roadblocks preventing people with pain from receiving the appropriate and necessary pain management and treatment options they are prescribed.

Under-treated pain drives up the cost of health care. It extends lengths of stay in hospitals, increases emergency room visits and leads to unplanned clinic visits. Lost productive time from pain conditions costs an estimated $61.2 billion per year.

When pain is treated properly, many people can resume their lives. By improving access to pain care, Americans in pain can receive the services they need in order to lead healthy, productive lives. — Joseph Savino, M.D.; and George Johnston, DO; Pain Specialists of Southern Oregon, Medford

I am pleased to endorse Rick Landt as a candidate for Position 5 on the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission.

Rick is a longtime proponent of a sustainable, ecologically healthy environment. His knowledge of ecology and business and previous experience as a parks commissioner will help insure that the quality parks and open spaces we enjoy will be protected and enhanced without breaking the bank. Rick has my vote. — Frank Lang, Ashland

Today I'd like to discuss the role that the art of poetry can play in education and modern life.

There's much to be said for novels and storytelling, but they require the time and importantly the interest in fiction to carry a person through a lengthy manuscript. However, the creative and meaningful form of language that makes great novels great can also be found in a poem of 20 lines — or as Japan's Basho brilliantly proved: 3.

Another great aspect of poetry is that it's multi-dimensional: designed to be read silently or aloud, the aesthetic and audible quality of words being carefully weighed. The work of greats such as Robert Frost, Li Bai, John Keats, and Oregon's Philip Walen are perfect for the Internet age: Indeed, they've waited for the fulfillment that egalitarian video and discussion can bring. And their great masterpieces can be enjoyed in 10 minutes and understood in an hour, on a jog, in an airplane or in a hospital. — Sean Lawlor Nelson, Medford

I wanted to correct the factual record on the Sept. 14 letter by Walter Rich.

Mr. Rich wrongly states that Sen. Ron Wyden voted for the $750 billion Wall Street bailouts. In fact, Sen. Wyden voted against them twice — bucking both President Bush and President Obama to do so. Wyden believed it was wrong to write a blank check to the speculators that had driven our economy into a ditch and is outraged that to date more than $180 billion of the money still has not been paid back.

In contrast, Wyden's opponent, Jim Huffman, began his campaign for Senate by criticizing Wyden's opposition to the bailouts. And Huffman even told Portland's Willamette Week he thought the bailouts "made some sense." (The Register-Guard of Eugene, March 5; Willamette Week endorsement interview, April.)

If you want a senator who opposes big bailouts for Wall Street, Ron Wyden is the clear choice. — Jake Weigler, Wyden for Senate

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