Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
The average lifespan in the USA is shorter, and the USA has the highest mortality rate of children under two years of age of any other major developed country in the world. In the USA health care costs as much as ten times that in other developed countries. It sounds like the USA is not doing that well with its current health care system.
Many Americans are afraid of a national health care program (but not of Medicare, of course). They worry that a national health care program, such as Canada’s, will mean having to wait several weeks for an appointment with a doctor. Under the current system, I cannot get an appointment to see my primary doctor usually in less than four weeks. Or, I can go in without an appointment and just hope that I see my doctor. I have even reverted to snail mail letters to the doctor to have questions answered.
Some people are also afraid that a government plan would dictate what medical treatments are allowed. Right now Big Insurance does this, in some cases approving procedures that are known to be less effective and more intrusive.
Some do not want a national health care program because they fear they will be priced out of affordable insurance. In the current system 46,000 Americans a week lose health care insurance, mainly because of the cost, which, for a family, can easily run over $1,000 a month.
But, the most important reason for our having a national health care system is the ultimate cost to the USA if we don't. I believe that if we don't make this change soon, this country of ours will be broke in a few years, we will not be able to compete in the world market, and as a result we will lose our status as the leader of the free world.
To the Editor:
In reflecting on my grandmother I realize that I cannot separate my memory of her from that of my grandfather. Benjamin Wesley Brannon and Mary Fowler Brannon (“Ma & Papa”) will always go together in my mind. Like salt and pepper or milk and cookies. In hindsight I realize that is in no small part because they were happily married for over 60 years. That is one of the many gifts they gave to me and one of the many parts of their life I will strive to emulate. It is funny because they were clearly different in so many ways and yet somehow had grown together so beautifully by sharing their strengths. My grandmother saved EVERYTHING – in part because she had grown up during the depression while my grandfather was beyond immaculate. He never had a scrap of paper on his desk and would throw away a pair of shoes, a belt, a shirt, or a pair of pants every time he bought a new one. (A habit I greatly admire but have yet to master.)
They each had many traits that I deeply cherish and strive to emulate. He was an accountant and lived an amazingly disciplined, orderly life, which I always attributed to his remarkable intelligence and incredible self-discipline. In life his books were ALWAYS balanced, and everything was in its proper place. In summary he was a model of integrity. My grandmother also had a very keen mind and seemed to know EVERYONE and yet she was remarkably private and loved having her own space. She never seemed to need approval from others, she was one of the most dignified, elegant, and independent people I have ever known, and yet she was completely approachable and incredibly thoughtful. It was like she could anticipate the needs of others and meet them before you had a chance to ask. In her life I have witnessed incredible strength and confidence but she was the model of grace, always dignified and yet without the slightest hint of arrogance.
To the Editor:
I was born and raised in the Bible Belt, and have been a Presbyterian minister for almost 30 years, spending the majority of my professional life working as a chaplain in urban hospitals. I have deep interest in health care, and I come at it from a Biblical perspective.
We in America know ourselves as a religious people. Our founders drew heavily on their Judeo-Christian values in declaring independence from England and formulating a constitution. And yet, when it comes to taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves, some forget what they learned in the Bible.
Some forget that in the very beginning of the Bible, God declares that each of us is created in God’s image. They do not take seriously how God, at least, feels about every single human being. As Rabbi Alexander Shindler, past president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, so eloquently put it, “By pricing out a portion of this country’s population from health care coverage, we mock the image of God and destroy the vessels of God’s work.”
This might sound radical, but the Bible is radical! Some forget the clearest and most radical mandate of all in Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 25, commonly referred to as “The Judgment of the Nations,” where He talks specifically about who will be blessed by God. He says, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink…I was sick and you took care of me…Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of my brothers (or sisters) you did it to me.” He goes on to say that those who do not, among other things, take care of the sick, will “go away into eternal punishment instead of into eternal life.” How clear can it get for us Bible Belters anyway?
To the Editor:
Here’s a question for any parents reading this. How many times could you catch your child in a lie before saying, “That’s enough! I no longer believe anything you say!”. Or, how about employers? How many times could you discover that some employees were spreading truly malicious lies about your company before you would fire them?
That is exactly what our Republican Senators and Representatives are doing in an effort to derail healthcare reform. And, when one lie is exposed, they just come up with another one. They obviously don’t respect us at all if they think this is what they’ve been elected to do. And, are you just the tiniest bit suspicious when you learn that the insurance companies are spending $1.4 million dollars a day to kill reform? A large part of that money is going directly to the congressmen and women’s campaign war chests. So, not only are these politicians obstructing any progress that might improve our nation, but they are also ensuring that any challenger next election will have an insurmountable task of unseating these incumbents.
When the Republicans decide that destroying President Obama’s agenda is more important than working to improve our county, then it is time to hand them a pink slip instead.
To the Editor:
I was so happy to join my fellow Democrats in Oconee County last week at an Anti-Health Care Rally at Veterans Park. I began my three minutes at the open mike with "I'm a Democrat and I look at this planet as my home and all human beings as my brothers and sisters." During those short minutes I was screamed at and called a quite interesting assortment of names like "freeloader," “socialist,” “fascist,” and "communist."
After the rally, I spoke to one of the many older white men in the crowd. He was kind, soft-spoken, and articulate. We both talked and listened to each other for quite a while. How pleasant and refreshing it was...until he made a comment about those "worthless human beings." Thoroughly taken aback, I abruptly ended the conversation.
After much pondering over what I heard that day and trying to get at the very roots of their antipathy toward us who want every American cared for, I arrived at the following:
These older white men have worked hard, saved their money, and put themselves in the position in retirement to continue supporting themselves and their families as they think all worthwhile Americans should.
This means they have earned all the perks, like Medicare. “Earn” is a very important concept to them. They see the “worthless human beings” as having made poor choices and thus living as they deserve, with little money for college or health care, not to mention food and shelter. “Choice” is also important in their lexicon. These men have made good choices, and so have earned the perks.
To the Editor:
I would like to share my story about the scary state of the current health care system and why there needs to be reform. All my adult life I have always paid into the system for insurance - always - never let it lag whether I was covered by my employer or not or whether I wasn't working. The need for insurance was instilled in me by my parents, and after seeing their astronomical bills from their health crises I knew that if they didn't have their insurance they would have lost everything.
And when, of course, I come down with a life-threatening and now deadly disease - stage 4 metastatic breast cancer - I am screwed because the industry does not cover pre-existing conditions. I am currently on a conversion policy because the insurance carriers don't like you to move either. If I chose to stay in Virginia four years ago and not be near my remaining family, I would still be paying an affordable premium. However, I, under the faith that my cancer would not return and my desire to live life to the fullest and do what was best for me, I chose to move to Georgia.
Luckily, I was with Blue Cross-Blue Shield, which allows you to move to another BCBS within their association. Not so ideal was the high monthly premium (last year just for myself - my son is on his own policy which is reasonably priced - was $770 a month) plus a $5,000 deductible before they pay one cent each calendar year. After the deductible is met, then BCBS will pay 80% and I pay 20% of everything.