The Billings Outpost

Put cost where it belongs

I have been reading Art Wittich’s Referendum 122 which prohibits any state or federal health insurance purchase mandate. And I have been following the arguments for and against. However, these arguments ignore the Trillion Dollar elephant in the room.

Emergency rooms around the country are mandated to care for patients without regard to insurance. Hospitals are required to give care to patients in advanced stages or illness. These mandates cost the American health care consumer trillions of dollars over the years. Every family that carries insurance pays $1,000 to $2,000 extra each and every year to pay for these people who do not carry insurance of their own.

Even if we did not require these people to pay for their own insurance – if we paid it for them – it would cut the cost in half. If they had the medical care to prevent the end stage problems of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, it would cut the cost in half. If they were required to pay for it themselves, it would shift the cost to them – where it belongs. – and it would cut the cost in half.

Mike Thomas



Last Updated on Friday, 22 June 2012 15:33

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Fighting Alzheimer’s

How can it be that almost four years have passed since my beloved mom Alice Stapleton died? After a decade-long descent into dementia, dependence and debilitation, my beautiful mother is free from Alzheimer’s, but the rest of us aren’t.

An estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease today, including as many as 21,000 in Montana. With these numbers growing every year, the time is now to change the trajectory of the disease. Alzheimer’s is not a Republican or Democratic issue – Congress recognized that when they passed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) which spurred the creation of the country’s first National Alzheimer’s plan. This plan is the basis for the budget request of $100 million in new resources to fight Alzheimer’s disease. It is crucial that Congress provide these resources in the fiscal year 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill.

Montana’s Congressman Dennis Rehberg is Chairman of the Labor Health and Human Services Subcommittee. Pease join me in urging Congressman Rehberg to support the marshaling of resources, expertise and innovation for the millions of Americans today living with Alzheimer’s and the millions more tomorrow who may face it.

The simple truth is Alzheimer’s can’t wait. Please contact Rep. Rehberg as soon as you possibly can and ask him to do everything in his power to provide the funding necessary to support the National Alzheimer’s Plan.

Joan Stapleton Tooley

Alzheimer’s Association



Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2012 11:12

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When life begins

Several weeks ago a gentleman wrote a letter indicating that the bill to declare that human life begins at conception was, as liberal convoluted thinking decided, a War on Women. It is difficult to understand why not agreeing with aborting a fetus is warring against women; seems like it is war against the fetus or those people not yet born.

In my first four years of college, my major was biological science including embryology. The scientific definition of life is incumbent upon growth and reproduction. When two gametes, incapable of sustaining life independently, but still very viable, come together and combine their  genetic material that ovum immediately begins to replicate itself and grow into a blastula. If it were not alive, that would not happen.

This fertilized ovum now has all of the genetic material to determine who and what that individual will be. It is a ridiculous argument to state that life begins in the second trimester or even the first, because if the embryo were not alive there would be no trimesters. 

In my first year attending Michigan University one of the instructors indicated that the theory of ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny explained the evolutionary process. That is to say that an individual in its development repeats  the history of the race.

So evolutionarily speaking, a human baby goes from a single cell (like an amoeba) to a multi-cell organism to a complex lower life form to reptile and so forth until finally, amazingly, out pops, after nine months of traversing all of the life forms, a human baby. Even though this silly doctrine has been discredited for many years, its concepts still color evolutionists and “family” planning circles and even in some residual colleges.

If our leaders are not smart enough (they are, but they have an agenda) they are not qualified to lead. If they pretend to  not know when human life  begins then the only ones they are fooling are themselves. A good dose of common sense needs to be injected.

Keith Babcock



Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2012 11:11

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Government going too far

Many of us received a box holder bulletin in the mail a few weeks ago, urging us to NOT sign any petition to put Initiative 108 (CI-108) on the Montana ballot for the 2012 election. CI-108 is a constitutional amendment that would define “personhood” as beginning at fertilization and is pro-life in nature.

Last week, we received a phone call from a volunteer who had the same warning – CI-108 is the “government going too far.” I had to agree with the caller - the government IS going too far. Since the 1960s, more than 5.5 billion taxpayer dollars have been given by the government to Planned Parenthood, one of the largest abortion providers in America.

Since the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973, there have been more than 56 million unborn babies killed – legally. This number is equal to the total current population of California, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon combined.

They were not protected or given the right to “life, liberty and property” because they are not identified as a “person.” THAT is the government going too far.

African Americans fought for the right to be identified as a “person.” Unborn Americans of every color still do not have this status of “personhood” because they cannot speak or fight for themselves.

CI-108 would address the “human personhood” of the most vulnerable in our society – the unborn American. DO sign the petition to put CI-108 on the ballot and let the American people – not the government – decide.

Gladys Wittman



Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2012 11:10

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The Titanic, 100 Years Ago

As I write this, it is April 14, 2012, and one century ago, the Titanic sank. This is a sad occasion, and the subject of movies. But, I prefer to remember the heroes who gave their lives so others might live. 

The engineers, boiler room workers, pump operators, electricians, officers, and many unknown people worked to keep the ship afloat as long as they could, saving over 700 lives. And, the heroic radio operator who was still calling for help, minutes before going to his icy grave. 

And, don’t forget the men who stayed on the ship, so women and kids could survive on the too few lifeboats. There were some women who refused to leave their husbands side, and died in their arms. That is love.

I wonder what would happen today? Would there be as many heroes? It seems like it is just every man for himself today. But, in a disaster, people who may not agree in their religions and politics, help each other when needed. 

I have wondered if I were on the Titanic, what would I do? That question is hard to answer without actually being in the situation. Maybe I would be playing with the band. Those guys might play music with the angels when the time comes.

My wife said she would not leave my side on the ship, and I know that is true. I am a lucky/blessed man. I don’t have to be on the Titanic to know that.

Bill Ackerley

Wyarno, Wyo.


Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2012 11:09

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Support public schools

It is dismaying to note how many Republican Montana legislative candidates see “charter schools” as a way to “improve education.”

Diverting taxpayer public education funds to private schools does not “improve” education at all. In fact, where public funds are diverted into private education, then public schools deteriorate and become sad places for poorer left-over children who are not admitted to “better schools.”  It is class warfare.

Part of our democratic national heritage is educational opportunity for all children, and that requires publicly funded education.  Support public schools, not privatization.

Joan Hurdle



Last Updated on Thursday, 07 June 2012 20:36

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