It’s good to be home

I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for your support, concern, prayers, get-well cards, phone calls and visits during my stay in Seattle for heart surgery a few weeks ago. I have always been proud of this community, but the generosity and support that was shown to my wife, Lorene, and my daughters while I was away makes me realize how special Skagway really is. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. It is good to be home!

Alvin F. Gordon • Skagway

If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it

In regards to House Bill 159, prescription pain medications are regulated by the federal government and medical professionals. HB 159 is a state government overreach, which will consequently cause harm to seniors, the chronically ill and those who are recovering from surgery.

HB 159 is treating monitored prescribed painkillers as if they were illegal drugs. Taxing prescribed opioid drugs is attacking the weak: those who are undergoing treatment for pain. Limiting prescribed opioid drugs will make it more difficult for those people who are ill because they will have to rely on others to take them to the pharmacy on a weekly basis vs a monthly basis. Right now under federal law people who need prescribed pain medicine must see their doctor on a monthly basis. If HB 159 passes, then those who are in need of pain management will need to see their doctor on a weekly basis. We do not have enough doctors in Alaska who will work with insurance companies, therefore it limits patients to only a small number of doctors. Doctors will not be able to handle the increased patient load to prescribe opioid medications to those in need. Another deep concern is for those people who live in remote communities by only having access to weekly prescribed pain medication because if the weather is in poor conditions and planes cannot fly, then you’ll be leaving those who are ill to suffer in pain.

We as a state are in the process of cutting budget costs. If HB 159 passes, there is the concerned that the state of Alaska will be sued because of the pain and suffering the legislators have brought onto those who are medically ill if they don’t get their pain medication in time. HB 159 does not serve well those who need pain relief medications. Prescription opioid drugs needs to remain up to the federal government to regulate and for the medical professionals to discuss treatment plans with their patients on a monthly basis. Don’t fix it if it is not broke. On this issue, things need to be as they were.

John Suter • Chugiak

Buyer beware

Rural Alaskan buyer beware: I am writing this letter to inform people in rural Alaska about the difficulties encountered when trying to get a manufacturer recall dealt with in a timely and fair manner. My husband and I recently purchased a 2016 Honda CRV, which was later issued a transmission software recall. This is not the type of recall that can be ignored, as it could potentially lead to damage of the transmission and the speed control system. We live on Prince of Wales Island and the nearest “approved” repair shop is either in Juneau (200-plus miles and two different ferry trips) or Seattle (a barge or ferry trip). Honda will not cover any travel expense. So what this meant for us was several hundred dollars and two weeks to send the car to Juneau, or a couple of thousand dollars and three more weeks to send the car to Seattle.

We sent the car over to Ketchikan and covered the expense of the travel and the repair. It was much cheaper (for everyone involved) and faster to do it this way. Over the last several months (Oct. 2016 to March 2017) we have been in contact with Honda about the repair and explained in detail how this will affect us both financially and time-wise. Honda had refused to pay the claim.

In hindsight, had we known that Honda has such poor customer service we would have not chosen a Honda as our new vehicle. While our experience is different from that of others living outside of Southeast Alaska, it is similar to anyone who does not live in the Juneau, Anchorage or Fairbanks areas. If you are planning to buy a new vehicle, please be sure to ask the dealer and/or maker what their policy is for recall repair. It could save you hundreds of dollars and hours of time trying to get the issue corrected.

Michael and Christine Johnston • Prince of Wales