Letters

Letters 04-25-2016

Taking Our Trees Seconds ago this pine tree was alive. Well, Mr. Cook — our County Road Commission head —and Peninsula Township government … by not weighing in (I guess it’s not your problem or responsibility to communicate with residents), you allowed the County Road Commission to bulldoze down huge swaths of lakeside trees in order to increase the bike lane. This can’t be happening. I have no clue why they would cut trees down that help block snow from creating drifts on Peninsula Drive and help keep the beach area intact. Plus, they are not increasing the width of the road when they repave. I just don’t get it. This is amateur hour at county and township government...

Government Service Unrewarded I served the federal government for XX years with the [agency], [doing XX]. I also worked in the private sector, [doing XX]. When I retired, I was surprised to learn my Social Security benefit would be $XXX less per month than my colleagues and neighbors who had never worked for the federal government. This is all because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) under the Social Security law...

Which Greased Palm Now that “Chicago values” have utterly corrupted the executive and judicial branches of our federal government, this November We the Plebeians shall either vote to right the governing integrity of the United States constitution’s twin pillars of limited government and separation of powers or turn and step collectively onto the blood soaked road to serfdom...

The Political Mess And Challenge As citizens we are faced with a real challenge. The media and the political candidates have taken over a year to attack those whom they are opposing. The unfavorable ratings of those who may be nominated are above 50 percent. That should be no surprise, considering the length of time given to bloodying one another with opinions that have little relationship to truth. The polling companies, which confess they are not reliable, make everything a game of winning...

CORRECTIONS In last week’s issue we had photos with the incorrect stories on page five. The dance photo should have accompanied the story about grants to nonprofits. The image of Crooked Tree Arts Center Petoskey should have accompanied the story about the ArtPrize exhibit at CTAC.

We also reported the incorrect day for the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City. The correct date is Sat., May 28.

We apologize for these errors.

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The inevitability of health care reform

Robert Downes - September 7th, 2009
Random Thoughts
The inevitability of health care reform
Robert Downes 9/7/09

If you were at a dinner party and the conversation turned to health care reform, could you explain the single-payer plan used by many countries around the world?
This is just a blind guess, but one can only imagine that the vast majority of Americans don’t have a clue. All they know is that “single-payer” has something to do with Canadian health care and it sounds like a
bureaucratic buzz word, so it must be a shady proposition.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration hasn’t done a very good job of offering a simple explanation of health care alternatives such as the so-called “public option,” much less a single-payer plan. Instead, much of the debate has been ceded to those who are intent on spreading disinformation.
So it’s high time the president got around to laying out exactly what he and the Democrats intend to offer at the joint session of Congress this week.
The latest disinformation campaign includes the idea that President Obama plans to do away with Medicare, and that old folks will be denied chemotherapy after a certain age, among other lies that some gullible seniors have adopted as the gospel.
But the problem with disinformation is that, like a parasite, it can’t survive outside of a friendly host.
Take Sarah Palin’s claim that a “death panel” would probably kill her Down Syndrome baby if Obamacare went through. Palin came up with this idea out of thin air and there hasn’t been much of a peep out of her since it was debunked in early August.
Ultimately, disinformation withers under the spotlight of public scrutiny. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, the cable TV news shows have nothing better to do than spend endless hours debunking myths, such as the idea that Americans will have no health insurance options other than what the government has to offer. Obviously, in a country as profit-driven as ours, there will always be private insurance companies catering to those who can afford their policies, no matter what public option appears.
In a way, the uproar over health care reform has been a positive thing for America, because ultimately, it will educate us all to better choices than the half-measures that are being proposed by the Democrats.
Take single-payer, for instance -- an option which is considered to be off the books for the Democrats as being “too radical.”
Yet thanks to the debate, the ‘Letters’ pages of newspapers across the country are being flooded with calls for a single-payer plan on par with that of Canada or Europe.
And what is that?
“Single-payer” simply means that every American would begin paying into a public health care plan, the same as we currently pay into Medicare and Social Security.
To put it another way, it would mean a form of Medicare extended to all Americans.
A single-payer plan of universal coverage would allow every American to see a physician for preventive health measures, such as screenings for cancer, diabetes and heart disease. As writer Anne Stanton notes in her excellent article in this issue, “A Sick Story,” early diagnosis and treatment saves money and lives by not letting diseases get out of control.
Most Americans have learned to put their trust in Medicare and Social Security. That trust would no doubt be extended to a single-payer plan. Those who don’t like the plan could buy an additional private insurance policy, just as those who don’t care for Social Security are free to invest in the stock market and 401k plans to supplement their retirement.
Meanwhile, the insurance companies fear that the “public option” proposed by the Obama administration would quickly become so popular with Americans that they’d soon go out of business.
That’s not a difficult idea for Americans to grasp and even applaud, since most of us have no love of insurance company profits. Whatever comes of the joint session of Congress this week, eventually it will sink in that a “public option” may be a good direction for America. Our insurance companies could still have a stake, but as non-profit organizations.
Some may recall that the health care reform plan of 1994 went off the rails in large part because Democratic-leaning union members didn’t support it. Today, however, many of those same union members have lost their health care insurance and are solidly behind reform.
“Single-payer,” “public option” -- these are concepts that were once mysterious, but are starting to be more widely understood, thanks to the debate. Ultimately, America will ‘talk’ its way into health care reform; perhaps the Obama Administration will score only one small victory this term, but in subsequent elections we’ll hear a drumbeat for change that can’t be resisted.

 
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