Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Its now or never for...
. . . .

Its now or never for national healthcare

Karen Martin - July 6th, 2009
It‘s now or never
for national healthcare plan
By Karen Martin 7/6/09

It’s now or never, for those who support a single-payer health plan in the United States. The Democrats have the majority in both houses of Congress and they have the White House. If our representatives cannot step up, be bold, and give Americans what has been sought for over a century, when will there ever be a national healthcare plan?
Today there are at least 46 million Americans with no health insurance, and even more are under-insured. Approximately 18,000 Americans die every year from preventable illnesses because they cannot afford to see a doctor. A recent study revealed that 62 percent of bankruptcies in 2007 were in part due to medical problems. On the business end: GM spends more on healthcare per auto than on steel, while small business owners struggle to keep employees covered.
The healthcare system in the U.S. today spends almost twice as much per person on healthcare than any other country. Our system is flawed: according to the World Health Organization the U.S. ranks 37th in terms of health systems based on rates of infant mortality and life expectancy to name only two indices.
Our current private insurance via employer-provided system is among the worst in the world. It’s costly, wasteful, complicated, bureaucratic and cares about profits not people. The latter is evidenced by insurance companies denying applications due to “pre-existing conditions” by withholding payments as often as possible all in the name of higher profits. Industry leaders are reaping huge fortunes by denying medical claims whenever possible.

SINGLE-PAYER & ITS OPPONENTS
Single-payer is similar to Medicare, which provides healthcare to our seniors 65 and older. HR 676 is a detailed plan to implement a single-payer plan for uninsured Americans. It would cover every American, no denying based on pre-existing conditions, no expensive deductibles or co-pays, all prescription medications will be covered, you choose your own doctors and hospitals, no corporate bureaucrat will come between you and your doctor, those are some of the basic features.
Opponents to the single-payer plan include the AARP, which lobbies against single-payer because the retiree organization makes about a quarter of its money selling insurance through United Healthcare Group, the nation’s largest for-profit insurance.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has fought against a national healthcare plan for decades. Currently only about 25 percent of doctors belong to the AMA. The AMA pours millions of dollars into lobbying against single-payer plans.
Other groups lobbying against a national healthcare plan: Business Roundtable, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the Lewin Group and parent group United Health Group would go out of business if the U.S. adopts a single-payer plan, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America (PHRMA). If a single-payer plan were adopted it would have the power to negotiate drug prices.
Some of our own politicians gain from fighting single-payer. One of the most significant is Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) who chairs the finance committee, key to any healthcare reform. Sen. Baucus has received more campaign money from health and insurance industry interests than any other member of Congress, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In Northern Michigan, Congressman Bart Stupak is against the single-payer plan (HR 676), and Senator Stabenow seems content with the employer-provided system in place in Michigan.

WHO SUPPORTS SINGLE-PAYER?
According to polls, 76% of Americans polled support a major healthcare overhaul including a single-payer plan. Others who support single-payer in general or HR 676 specifically include: scores of progressive representatives in Congress, the United Auto Workers (UAW), which also represents many state employees, over 20 medical organizations including Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization of 16,000 physicians, six faith organizations, over 45 municipalities and over 465 unions, and many mayors all across the United States.

HOW IT WILL BE FUNDED:
At the individual level, the average American spends about $7,900 per year on healthcare. A national health Insurance plan would require participating members to pay a monthly insurance premium in the form of a new tax (keep in mind Medicare recipients pay a premium). This new Medicare-like system would be stable, affordable, use a sliding scale. Costs would be fair and reasonable at all levels and all would be covered.
In addition, funding options include “chatter” by the media on rescinding the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest, and assorted sales taxes, such as on soda pop.
Some claim a national healthcare plan would have a total cost (over 10 years) of $1 trillion dollars. To put this in perspective: it’s estimated that the total bill for the unnecessary Iraq War will reach $3 trillion. Many Americans would prefer healthcare to warfare.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Thus far, single-payer was taken off the table by Senator Max Baucus. Those fighting for a single-payer plan recently marched in Washington D.C., Some activists sat in the hearings held by Senator Baucus, 15 seats were available at the hearing for representation to discuss healthcare reform. These seats were loaded with industry leaders (HMO’s, big Pharma, health insurance, etc.). Not one seat was given to proponents of the single-payer plans. In protest, 13 doctors, nurses and others were arrested when they requested a seat at the table to represent single-payer.
The “table” belongs to the American people; all options belong on our table. Whether you are for or against single-payer plans, it is not democracy when many Americans support a single-payer plan and yet our representatives ignore our voices.
Time is running out; the powerful lobbies are spreading the money around to keep single-payer and even a public option from ever happening; our own leaders ignore our pleas. If we don’t achieve major healthcare reform in 2009, we condemn our country to the profiteers of healthcare for generations to come.
Contact the White House at: 202-456-1111 and contact your representatives via Capitol Switchboard at: 202-224-3121

Karen Martin is a retired state worker from the Michigan Department of Human Services. She is the founder of the Straits Area Concerned Citizens for Peace & Justice in Cheboygan.


 
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