Archive for Thursday, August 5, 2010

Letters to the Editor

August 5, 2010

To the editor:

I would like to thank City Administrator Jeff Dingman for ensuring that the flashing crosswalk beacons were placed at Eighth and Ames streets.

Several months ago Jeff discovered that the Kansas Department of Transportation had removed those beacons from the original plan for improvements under the Safe Routes to Schools grant awarded to Baldwin City.

Jeff diligently petitioned the state to install the beacons as a separate project, using funds that had been unspent on the original Safe Routes grant. Since the cost of the beacons was covered entirely by unspent funds, it did not require any monies from the city to make this happen.

I appreciate having a local government official like Jeff who looks out for our community and works hard to make sure it is the best it can be.

Dave Hill

Rural Baldwin City

To the editor:

Living out here as we do in a “red” state, I can sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed by the noise coming from various astro-turf, “Tea Party” or Koch family-generated outlets. So, while adding another voice to this cacophony might seem confusing, I think I might be able to provide an example of civility and hope to be a more calming influence.

First, I'd like to state uncategorically that I love the President of the United States and what he is doing for this country. The corollary to this is that I am also very happy to be represented in the Kansas legislature by the two fine and competent persons who come from Baldwin City. Both Senator Holland and Representative Brown have used this newspaper as a means of giving transparent information about the legislative process and their efforts to influence it.

To take health insurance as an example, my own history has been to pay plenty for a range of services that have run from inefficient to non-existent. Polling suggests that very few in America love or admire the executives and bureaucrats of this “industry.” So, it has been puzzling in the extreme to see the success of the right wing in demonizing efforts to improve health care. I suspect that the public will come to embrace provisions that allow them to get timely checkups and that the insurance companies may find it is bad marketing to impose precipitous rate hikes in what will now almost certainly be a more competitive market.

I am also puzzled that Reps. Tiahrt and Moran are not taken to account for their roles in racking up massive deficits through pharmaceutical subsidies, unlimited war spending and top-tier tax cuts. They seem arrogantly willing to claim the mantle of “fiscal conservatism”. What actions can either point out as evidence for such a claim?

The public discussion in this part of the country seems to suggest that no one approves the efforts of the President and Congress to redress injustices, corruption and inefficiency of the past decade. I, for one, am glad to see these efforts go forward. I suspect as well that others in Baldwin City and throughout the state feel similar impulses.

Christopher Hamill

Baldwin City

Comments

solo 3 years, 8 months ago

Chris I respectfully completely disagree with you. I am appalled at what I see this Congress and the President doing in the areas of healthcare and in other aspects of public life. Yes, healthcare does need much reform--but what this President and Congress has forced on the American people is outrageous.

I am already seeing the affects of it. A family member of mine visited her doctor this week and was told that a routine annual test is no longer necessary annually but now can occur every 3 years. It was spun as "isn't this great"? I see it as "welcome to Obamacare" translation ---rationed health care.

I think the Tea Party is just the beginning of a movement of the masses who are sick to death of politician forcing legislation down our throats because they arrogantly assume they know better than us dumb folks out here. My criticism is of both parties. And yes, the Moran /Tiehrdt campaign was disgusting. But I am equally disgusted at Obama/Pelosi/Reid et al.

You go ahead and "love the President of the US and what he's doing for this country". I think you are nuts but that is your perogative. I, on the other hand, will actively fight it him and work towards his removal from office in 2012.

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TheOnlyGreyghost 3 years, 8 months ago

Solo~

Politics aside, I'm appalled at your sweeping, nonchalant, and wrongheaded assumption of cause and effect when you look at your family member's doctor visit and immediately assume that (1) the doctor would knowingly give her potentially lethal advice and (2) it's all the fault of Obama, who's out to get us all.

Let me guess--you're alluding to the pap test. Why don't you read this AAFP paper from 2003, long before "Obamacare" was ever on the horizon:

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/1101/p1869.html

Here's the concluding statement, if you don't care to read the entire piece: "...the physician could offer options and negotiate a plan with an emphasis on a healthy lifestyle and effective testing. Among these options, she could include a Pap test and explain that having the test every three years or even less often, depending on the circumstances, usually is sufficient. If the patient has other screening or counseling issues that require more frequent visits, she should come in more often. When a physician does not have to do a pelvic examination, there is more time to spend on the patient’s other health concerns."

Want more recent and more emphatic recommendation of the 3-year vs the 1-year interval for pap testing?

http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/170/11/977

Or maybe something older yet?

http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/3rduspstf/cervcan/cervcanrr.htm

If it's another test, do tell. I'm sure we'd all like to be enlightened as to how your relative's health is being compromised by our elected president..

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TheOnlyGreyghost 3 years, 8 months ago

I assume you've never read anything not found on the right-wing blogosphere, so you've probably missed the countless outraged expositions about out-of-control insurance companies and HMOs dictating what procedures, diagnostics, and therapies people receive. Never have heard of them deciding which doctors a person can go to, which hospitals or clinics, how many nights they get in the hospital after surgery, etc?

Never heard of the countless people who have toiled their entire lives, paying insurance premiums, only to be dumped when their jobs went overseas or their company went out of business or someone in their family got cancer. Or the countless people who never could get insurance in the first place because of a "pre-existing condition"--meaning that those most in need of care are often denied. And I'm sure you've never heard that the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country is crushing medical debt.

"Health care" in the US is an international joke and a domestic scandal and tragedy. Health care reform measures that were recently passed--no thanks to idiot Republican Congress members who vote with their politics instead of their conscience--are not perfect. No one said they would be. Obama himself characterized this as a beginning. It is a step in the right direction. I am more than happy to see the government taking the reins out of the hands of the greedy, for-profit, soulless insurance industry.

You are sadly delusional if you believe the consumer has any control under the present system, in which insurance companies call the shots. At least the government, with all its flaws (most of which are present to an even greater degree in the private sector) does not have the acknowledged motive of creating PROFIT for corrupt CEOs and shareholders.

By the way, great letter, Chris. Tell it like it is!

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thelongestnameonthespeakoutttt 3 years, 8 months ago

Well put Solo. Let these left wingers continue with the Obama love. They are now in the minority and losing supporters daily. November will tell the true story.

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TheOnlyGreyghost 3 years, 8 months ago

The true story is that you and your kind are delusional and clinging to the lies fed to you by Faux News et al. The true story is that Bush and Co. screwed our economy (and everything else) so badly that it will take many years to get it back to the robust state it enjoyed under Clinton. The true story is that the Republicans are now trying desperately to thwart all the positive efforts being made by Obama to turn things around. Why are they doing this? Because they know that there are plenty of nonanalytical gulls out there who cannot figure out what is going on, so their best hope (since they have no working plan of their own) is to destroy Obama's efforts.

As you demonstrate, that negative and destructive tactic unfortunately works, since so many Americans are unable or unwilling to think. So, yeah--there will probably be a sea-change in November, meaning that there will be more Congressional roadblocks to any efforts to improve things. All so that they can point and say, "Look. Obama didn't accomplish anything."

They (and voters like you) are just like a bunch of thugs taking sledgehammers and machetes to a car, then ridiculing and faulting the driver who is trying to get it down the street with the resulting smashed engine and slashed tires.

Doesn't that make you proud?

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completelytoast 3 years, 8 months ago

It is fascinating to see the how the left is dealing with the different stages of grief, the handwriting now so clearly on the wall that the Republicans themselves may not be able to mess it up.

Hamill's tone is measured and respectable, but still one of denial. The problem is that it doesn't square to bemoan "massive deficits" and then praise the addition of another entitlement-universal healthcare. Not only did uhc break an important social covenant (entitlements have and should go to those who have paid into the system over a lifetime or to those on the fringes of society or those in most need), it is economically unsustainable. This stuff has been tried in Europe, the reckoning isn't pretty.

ghost: look on the bright side, you're only 3 steps away from acceptance.

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TheOnlyGreyghost 3 years, 8 months ago

Your posting name obviously refers to your analytic abilities, toast, not to mention, your knowledge of European health systems.

Do your homework, then we'll talk. This can get you started: http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.html http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/opinion/12sun1.html

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/managing-your-healthcare/healthcare/articles/2010/06/08/health-care-reform-bill-best-option-analysis.html

(Of course, you probably think you are smarter than the researchers and analysts who delivered the RAND [nonprofit thinktank] opinion, which is discussed in that last link, but I'll put my money on them.)

By the way, that hoary old "stages of grief" model has been mothballed, by and large. Get with the times.

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completelytoast 3 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the homework.

Unfortunately, your post (and 1st 2 links) has nothing to with the point I'm making: adding new entitlement programs when Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable is fiscally ruinous.

The NY Times had an update on the desirability of the European welfare state in May:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/world/europe/23europe.html

Quoting from the Times:

"But all over Europe governments with big budgets, falling tax revenues and aging populations are experiencing rising deficits, with more bad news ahead.

With low growth, low birthrates and longer life expectancies, Europe can no longer afford its comfortable lifestyle, at least not without a period of austerity and significant changes. The countries are trying to reassure investors by cutting salaries, raising legal retirement ages, increasing work hours and reducing health benefits and pensions. "

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed with accounting gimmicks that allowed it to meet CBO scoring targets. Collecting taxes several years in advance of universal health care, using unrealistic cuts in doctors' Medicare reimbursements (doc fix) as savings means that the actual cost of the legislation will be far higher than the original (disengenous) projections. Analysis by Rand, the Congressional Budget Office or anyone else can't accurately account for these gimmicks.

Don't believe me? Ask the chief actuary for Medicare:

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/usnews/health-care/4249-medicare-actuary-debunks-obamacare-savings

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703309704575413263344491010.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

From the wsj.com:

"Mr. Foster has been Medicare's chief actuary for 15 years, and as such he is required to evaluate the law as written. But as he notes in his appendix, the law as written bears little if any relation to the real world—and thus, he says, the trustee estimates "do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations in either the short range . . . or the long range." In an unprecedented move, he directs readers to a separate "alternative scenario" that his office drew up using more realistic assumptions.

In the absence of "substantial and transformational changes in health-care practices"—in other words, a productivity revolution in medicine that has never happened—costs will simply rise for private patients, or hospitals will refuse to treat seniors insured by Medicare. Congress will never allow that to happen either.

In other words, under ObamaCare the "cost curve" will not be bent as the White House has advertised.

Under his more plausible outlook, Mr. Foster notes that Medicare's share of the economy will rise 60% between now and 2040, while under the trustees report that Democrats are crowing about it would "only" rise by 35%. Didn't President Obama tell us that health-care reform is entitlement reform?"

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

What I think is really hilarious is most of you still look at this as a Republican vrs Democrat debate. Your all delusional if you think anything coming from the corporate puppets in Washington will benefit us at all. The mess we are in today was brought on by legislation passed back in the 70's giving more power to those corporations who you now blame for taking advantage of a system the Govt created.

Corporations exist for one sole purpose to make a profit for their share holders and if the political elite in this country who are truly not beholding to us but to some Corporate master who funds their campaigns then how do you expect things to turn out. Also keep in mind those Corporations and Insurance companies you despise and talk about with such loathing are really American's just like you.

The simple fact of the matter is that most Politicians serve only themselves whether they be Republicans or Democrats and that the heads of these parties are the ultimate representation of that narcissism. The sooner people wake up to that fact and that these two parties have been leading this country down the wrong path for the last 150 years we truly have no real hope of making a better life for ourselves or future generations.

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