Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

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Sound, fury & nonsense in health care reform

Stephen Tuttle - October 5th, 2009
Sound, Fury & Nonsense
in Health Care Reform
By Stephen Tuttle 10/5/09

Are we having fun, yet?
What passes for the national debate on health care reform drones on and on with no end in sight. Nobody seems especially happy with any proposals suggested and everybody has successfully found something they absolutely despise. This, despite recent reports that health care costs under our current system have increased more than 100 percent in just the last 10 years, wildly surpassing inflation. Even worse, at the same time wages have stagnated or decreased. Health care affordability is becoming a fading memory.
It’s pretty clear something has to be done to avoid an economic catastrophe that will make the very real pain of the last few years seem like a garden party by comparison. By nearly all accounts, Medicare will become financially unsustainable in just a few years as wave after wave of Baby Boomers reach age 65 and become eligible for this program that has been a societal staple and stabilizer for nearly half a century. Health insurance premiums continue to increase at rates that are unaffordable for many Americans and put employer-paid coverage at risk. The cost of prescription drugs and medical procedures has become so expensive as to be out of reach for all but the wealthiest of us. Depending on whose numbers you believe, somewhere between 30 and 50 million Americans now have no health insurance at all.
Reform seems necessary and inevitable, a welcome relief for most of us.
So what the hell happened?
Politics of the worst sort intruded. The philosophical crazies on both sides of the issue found rhetorical paths they believed would lead them to an electoral promised land.
And then the polemicists got involved and facts gave way to a drumbeat of near insanity. We heard about death panels and the destruction of Medicare and free abortions for everyone and free health care for illegal immigrants. Those messages were repeated over and over, on blogs, talk radio, cable news channels, from pundits left and right, Tweets, YouTube and, of course, by politicians anxious to find an edge for the 2010 elections and beyond.
Policy debates in this country have always been vigorous and contentious. People feel strongly, even viscerally about issues. Feelings are hurt and anger rises. What’s relatively new is our ability to relentlessly spew venom without let-up. That which we would have dismissed as lunacy a decade ago is now repeated so often and with such ferocity by so many it gains traction. Reform becomes more difficult because regardless of the issue, the naysayers keep pounding away ad nauseam and even the most preposterous notions become “fact.” Our Age of Information has morphed into the Age Without Knowledge.
The perfect example is the idea of any health care reform including “death panels.” Please. We were told that our elected representatives were going to create a system in which shadowy government bureaucrats in some secret star chamber would be turning thumbs down on older Americans in need of health care. Those who logically disagreed were called Nazis, morons, idiots and part of some grand conspiracy hoping for a Socialist coup.
Think about the death panel notion for just a couple of minutes. Older Americans are the most likely people to vote in any election at any level. Elected officials and their minions know this to be true. They desperately need the votes of seniors to stay in office. So we had to believe that those officeholders, who work very hard to appeal to that older demographic, had decided on a health care plan that would intentionally kill off the very voters they need – I’d love your vote but I’m afraid we have to kill you.
The sad truth is this junk works. In fact, the group most opposed to health care reform is those over 65. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of that age group now oppose reform based on the belief that the government would be “too involved” in the health care system. That’s just a tad ironic since they receive both Medicare and Social Security, programs created and run entirely by the government.
Stranger still, some 39 percent of Americans making $30,000 or less a year, the very people least able to afford insurance and most likely to be helped by health care reform, now oppose it on the same grounds. Apparently they’ve decided using brutally expensive emergency room care as their primary care physician is a better option.
Instead of doing our homework and researching the facts, we listen to radio entertainers masquerading as opinion leaders and read unsubstantiated blogs that play to our worst instincts and fears. We obligingly trudge along with ovine fealty following whatever numbskull best voices our own ignorance and anger. And nothing of substance gets accomplished.
Of course, you might disagree. After all, I’m a moron.
Stephen Tuttle is a political consultant specializing in campaign communications. A Traverse City native, he has returned to the area after 35 years in Phoenix.

 
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