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There is a conundrum that Americans are facing — the issue of getting vaccinated for COVID and other diseases.

On one side, there are those who refuse to do so for any number of reasons, from lack of trust in the process to concerns about possible side effects to resistance to being told what to do by the government.

On the other side, those who have gotten vaccinated are protecting themselves and others and are not draining health care resources nor increasing insurance rates for others.

I offer for your consideration a simple, fair, free-market solution: an insurance rate adjustment based on one's vaccination status. The confirmation of one's vaccination status would be found in health care insurance medical records (a virtually fraud-proof vetting system).

Such a policy doesn't force any individual to get vaccinated, nor does it force the vaccinated to unfairly subsidize the health care costs of those who have refused to get vaccinated. It simply allocates the societal economic costs of personal decisions fairly and squarely on the deciders.

David Poretti, Minneapolis

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As a Lutheran medical missionary in Tanzania for 40 years, I saw that the primary, most elemental component of improving the health and survival of the people with whom I served was the gift of vaccinations.

I arrived in Africa in the mid-1970s, and the villages where I worked were inundated with measles, polio, cholera and childhood pneumonia. Season after season, parents and particularly mothers waited restlessly for the measles season to rear its ugly head. The fevers began with a slight rash and cough, then trouble breathing. There was no medicine. Soon some of the children would have the eye complications of the disease leading to blindness for life — if they survived the attack of measles.

Literally injected into this annual cycle of death and disability was the good news of a measles vaccine that would break that cycle and allow children to live! A gift of life. A gift of hope. A change not only to break the cycle but to bring hope.

The words came easily off everyone's lips: "A gift of God!" "God is good!"

Now, as I am retired back in my home state of Minnesota, I watch people refuse the similar gift of the COVID-19 vaccine. I am astounded, confused and rather annoyed with those of us who are so extremely privileged that we can even think to reject the gift of the vaccine.

Let us all thank God for the gift of "the jab," and let us choose to accept it!

Mark Jacobson, Falcon Heights

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What a dizzying set of realities in Todd County ("Low-vaccine counties make high-risk gamble," July 11): some individuals getting immunized just in case it becomes a requirement for entering Canada and others refusing vaccines because they resent COVID restrictions that were in place in Minnesota (but are no longer). And some felt COVID-19 was "all cooked up to hurt Trump."

Reality check: Donald Trump was ill with COVID, along with Melania and several others of his inner circle.He was hospitalized, availed himself of an array of treatments, and has since been vaccinated.

It would seem that the prevailing logic goes like this:Don't listen to your family doctor; don't let "big government" tell you what to do.Don't even follow the example of someone you adulate (Trump), if that means getting poked by a needle.But do let your speculations about possible restrictions being imposed by a foreign government (Canada) guide your health decisions.

Perhaps health care centers should make this the slogan for their next vaccination drive: "Canada made me do it."

Louis Asher, Vadnais Heights

RONDO LAND BRIDGE

What's the limiting principle?

Regarding the editorial "Funding raises Rondo hopes" (July 14):I can't believe that the Star Tribune Editorial Board would gush that the proposed Rondo land bridge has received "well-deserved funding boosts"!

Obviously the Editorial Board, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, the Metropolitan Council, the state legislators in that district who support it, etc., are more concerned with feel-good political correctness than considering these reasons not to build it:

  1. The early cost estimate for this proposed boondoggle is somewhere around $500 million. Since when has a built project ever come in at the proposed budget? Look for that figure to increase by at least 50%.
  2. How better could that kind of money be spent to change people's lives through job training, investing in minority businesses, local health clinics, better schools?
  3. If the supporters of the land bridge are concerned about reconnecting disrupted neighborhoods with land bridges over freeways, will they insist that land bridges be constructed over the western sections of Interstate 94 — all the way to downtown Minneapolis — and north to I-694? After all, those neighborhoods were similarly affected. What about land bridges over neighborhoods bisected by I-35E, I-35W (both north and south of downtown Minneapolis), I-694, Hwy. 62, etc.?

If the politicians aren't interested in building land bridges in these areas as well, why not?

Bruce Clark, St. Paul

CONDO SAFETY

Another incentive: Insurers

The article lamenting the lack of adequate inspections for Minnesota condos and apartments was remiss in never mentioning the critical role of insurance companies ("Minnesota doesn't regularly inspect condos, but building codes 'robust,'" front page, July 14). As a retired insurance underwriter I can attest to all the work insurance companies do to incentivize and enforce the safety of every property they insure. They have a large stake in preventing all property and liability losses to which they are exposed.

First of all, insurance rates and adjustments tailor insurance premiums to the potential exposure to insured loss, giving owners the incentive to minimize their premium payments. Insurance company safety engineers initially inspect properties to gain underwriting approval, then provide ongoing services and follow up any required recommendations for improvement. Failure to comply with recommendations is grounds for termination of the insurance contract.

Minnesota has building codes but no standard unified statewide inspection process. I would recommend a future coordination of state and insurance company inspectors for the most effective efficient effort to minimize property and liability losses while maintaining the health and life safety of every resident. Everyone wins with loss prevention.

Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis

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For Minnesota building officials to say "we don't share the same risks they do in Florida" negates the destructive and repetitive Minnesota freeze-thaw cycles that pose a different but just as dire threat to buildings as Florida's saltwater. Experienced builders and architects know full well that building codes are the absolute low-cost standard that can be built to. The codes in no way prevent construction of higher quality, with better methods and materials that mean a building will last longer with less maintenance. As surely as the Interstate 35W bridge came down, one day a building in Minnesota will also, as long as the state refuses to just simply inspect them, even if that's once every 40 years.

Ronald Korsh, Minneapolis

The writer is a retired building designer.

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