Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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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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