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Letters 9/21/09

- September 21st, 2009
Letters 9/21/09

What health care system?
The term “health care system” bandied about in debates about health care reform in this country refers to something that does not exist. Just what is a system, anyway?
A system is integrated and complete. Your car’s power train is a system. A large corporate entity is a system. The Veteran’s Administration is a system. If we had a national health care system, which we do not, there would be a manager, a governing board, and uniformity of care. Costs of procedures would be uniform whether you are in New York, Los Angeles or Calumet.
I get my medical care through the VA. I can go to any VA clinic anywhere in the country and they have access to my health records. From time to time I can request an update of my medical records and receive it, complete. It’s now about 500 pages. That’s a system.
But if you go to Florida and have a heart attack there or some other medical emergency, your Florida doctor will be hard-pressed to obtain your medical history from your Michigan hospital. By the time they do (if they can at all), you may be dead. No wonder 100,000 die a year in this country from medical mistakes. There is no coordination, no system.
Instead, we have a hodge-podge of programs. Medicare, administered by the states and sometimes administered as an HMO by Blue Cross as a “Medicare advantage” (advantage to whom? Blue Cross?) is uneven. A procedure authorized in Florida may not be permitted in the U.P.
What we do have are for-profit hospital chains, some of them notorious for Medicare fraud, such as unbundling blood panels and charging for each result separately, resulting in multi-million dollar fines. The worst offenders are fee-for-service plans. Others are HMOs that decline service because it is too expensive and cuts into their profits.
We need a single-payer national health program. Your health depends upon it.

Harley Sachs • Houghton

The next generation
How will they remember us, the generation that has so utterly and completely failed them? Will they remember us as trying to right our wrongs? Fighting to level the playing field for their future pursuit of happiness? Or will they remember us as self-involved, fearful sheep who invoked “our children and grandchildren” for political purpose? Will they reminisce about us as a thoughtful, civil generation or will they see us as silver haired bullies trying to get our minutes of fame on Youtube?
We have built for our children a gilded cage. It is made of the finest materials we could not afford. The bars are constructed with I.O.U.s for wars we didn’t need to fight, pork projects we didn’t need to fund, and waste we didn’t care to control. Each bar is reinforced with fees and long term contracts and gilded with 24K greed. The bottom of the cage is lined with useless warranties and fine print. The ceiling is constructed of an impenetrable material made of corporate influence melded with congressional self interest. We have built for them a corporatocracy.
We owe the next generation more than throwing them in the hole we dug and handing them a shovel. It is our obligation to construct the strongest social safety net possible, including healthcare, regulation of banks, energy solutions and campaign finance reform. If we don’t get this right, forget generational theft and call it generational death. They won’t be able to pay off our debts. They won’t be able to repay their own. They will not survive.
I am ashamed of us for our selfishness. Just as we knew our parents as the “Greatest Generation” they will know us as the “I Got Mine Generation.” Newsflash: The fight for the healthcare reform is not about you.

Julie A Racine • Marion

Hugely offended
As a former “fudgie”, but for the last 7 years, a “local”, I found the advertisements for the “Farewell to Fudgies” celebrations over Labor Day weekend to be hugely offensive. But, my own feelings and opinions aren’t nearly as important as those of the people who fall into this “fudgie” category.
This announcement of CELEBRATION, as the foundation of the Traverse City Area economy leaves our area, is a direct insult to the wonderful tourists and seasonal inhabitants who come to this area, stay for a few days to several months, all the while depositing their dollars into our restaurants, resorts, businesses and services.
I just hope that most of these people who support the Traverse City economy in many ways, do NOT have subscriptions to Northern Express for the “off season.” Perhaps they will be spared this obnoxious insult!

Chris Clute, Honor, MI

Lost in Meaning
Remembering what Labor Day is about seems to be lost. I am sitting in my home and listen to Labor Day songs as I write this letter. I attended a casual Labor Day event and saw folks dressed in red, white and blue, almost forgetting this is not Memorial Day.
There was no mention of workers. Also, this holiday, I heard no conversation by people or the media address the reason we celebrate this holiday.
The current atmosphere in this country, especially in Michigan , is that it is not politically correct to talk about the reason we needed (need) unions. I worked this holiday and was paid holiday wages.
I was thrilled with the money, it will be used wisely. For this, I truly thank the past workers who fought for rights and benefits of the workers.

Susan Finn • Mancelona

Brother of slain nun to speak in TC
On February 1, 2005, Sister Dorothy Stang, a Catholic nun from Ohio, was shot six times and left to die on a muddy road in the Brazilian Amazon.
Within days of her brutal murder, Dorothy’s younger brother, David Stang (a former missionary himself), flew to the Brazilian Amazon to learn the truth. David Stang, a former Maryknoll priest, will be in Traverse City next week for the showing of the documentary, “They Killed Sister Dorothy” at the State Theatre on Monday, September 28, at 5:45 p.m.
He’ll also speak and sign copies of Martyr of the Amazon, a book on his sister’s life and work, at Horizon’s Shine Café on Sunday, September 27, from 1 to 3 p.m.
The documentary shows how Sister Dorothy had been receiving death threats at the end of her life due to her project to help landless people farm sustainably. Her work angered loggers and wealthy ranchers, according to a press release.
Next week’s movie event is sponsored by the Secretariat for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Diocese of Gaylord.
For more information, call Father Wayne Dziekan at (231) 409-1387 or Mary Heffron


In last week’s story about Boyne City‘s new restaurant, Sammich ’N’ Sudz, the names of the owners should have said Lora Muethel and Jay Higdon.
(231) 228-7115.

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