Keep Medicare coverage for heart procedure

Millions of Americans who have aortic stenosis (a serious heart valve disease) soon might be out of luck if the Center for Medicare & Medicaid decides to end Medicare coverage for transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure that mends the heart valve. TAVR reduces the need for open-heart surgeries, which were previously the only option to repair or replace failed heart valves.

Sharing from personal experience, open heart surgery is painful and can take many months for full recovery. While TAVR might not be the best option for everyone, it certainly could have been the right choice for me. Should I need another heart valve in the future, I want this option to be available.

Our congressional representatives are deciding the future of Medicare coverage. If Medicare funding is eliminated for TAVR, aortic stenosis patients could be forced into having open heart surgery, which can even be more expensive than TAVR. CMS should not limit viable options such as TAVR, but rather allow patients and doctors to choose the best option for each individual's needs.

Carol Carpenter, Denver

Vote yes on Proposition 112


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The Oil industry wants us to believe that by requiring new fracking wells to be at least 2,500 feet away from our homes, schools, businesses and waterways, Proposition 112 will destroy their business and bring the entire Colorado economy down with it. Such claims are complete and utter fabrications, designed to scare you into voting against Prop 112. One need look no further than the industry's own Journal of Petroleum Technology for proof. An Aug. 8 article in JPT (https://www.spe.org/en/jpt/jpt-article-detail/?art=4465) explains that technical developments have resulted in lateral drilling lengths up to 3.4 miles, with average lengths exceeding 10,000 feet, while drilling costs per foot have dropped 69 percent since 2012. And we're supposed to believe that extending setbacks to 2,500 feet is going to be the end of the fracking industry? Sorry, that's just not even remotely credible.

What is credible is that the industry is unwilling to spend a little bit more to extend their straws so that their industrial operations - which reduce property values, poison our air and water, and threaten our health in subtle but very, very real ways - are not in our backyards and playgrounds.

There is a long and growing body of evidence linking proximity to fracking wells to a variety of nasty health impacts. For details, Google "fracking" and "PSR." The depressing reality is that the oil industry owns our legislature and the regulatory bodies that should have our health as their first priority. We must protect ourselves. Vote yes on 112.

Dan Greenberg, Boulder