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Urge Rep. Heinert to change his vote on compensation issue

| March 30, 2007 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

State Rep. Ralph Heinert of Libby voted against the Libby asbestos patients.

He may not have understood what he was doing. He could change his vote. Please contact him.

The vote is related to a change in Workers' Compensation law, which would make the insurance company pay attorney fees when the insurance company is ordered to pay a medical bill.

Frequently, Grace's insurance company refuses to pay medical bills on Grace workers with asbestos disease. There is no real penalty for doing so. If the medical bill is under $1,000, the insurance company can easily stiff the worker because an attorney cannot afford to spend 20 to 50 hours taking the issue to trial. So the worker is helpless.

Here is the rub.

Even if the Workers' Compensation Court orders the insurance company to pay the bill, they only have to pay 100 percent. The attorney's fee of 25 percent is subtracted from what the doctor gets.

The law change would force the insurance company to pay the attorney's fee so that the doctor gets paid 100 percent.

It is not just Grace's insurance company that stiffs workers. They all do.

Urge Rep. Heinert to change his vote. This would break a tie, and the bill could get through the Montana Senate.

Call him at 406-444-4800.

Jon Heberling

Attorney for asbestos victims

Kalispell

Working people need dentist who will be open Saturdays

To the Editor:

It was so nice when Prompt Care started its care on the weekends. No taking a day off to see the doc.

I can't just drop everything and go to the dentist. It costs me money to take time off. Working out of town and trying to get a dental appointment in Libby, it's a hard thing to do.

I have other people depending on me to do my job and taking time off, affects them also. If I take a part or a whole day off, it reflects on somebody else's paycheck also.

Why won't one of you dentists open on Saturday so we as working people won't have to take a day off? You have decided to have a business in Libby to fill a need for the people in our community.

We have a need in our community for a dentist to be open at least one Saturday a month. I believe you would keep most Saturdays full with people like me. I would even pay more for a weekend appointment.

Jim Barr