2009-09-12 / Editorials & Letters

'We must fix these problems and we must do it now'

Editor:

Let me start by saying that I have never trashed a military recruitment center or blocked any shipments of military equipment. I have never approved of such behavior in anyone, including Democrats.

In fact, it has been my practice to write a respectful letter to my elected officials when I have an opinion about an issue. I learned this in grade school and still feel it's the most effective form of communicating with my elected officials. I have never gone to a public meeting with the intent to disrupt it (not even Republican events), never displayed a picture of the President defaced to look like Hitler, and I've never shown up at one with a gun strapped to my hip. This is not acceptable behavior for Republicans or Democrats, period!

I do not approve of any language coming from either political party that is intended to distort the facts, frighten or divide our citizens. This is my whole point in regards to your language. When are "we the people" going to come to the realization that the problems our country faces are too great and too important for us to continue this political game? This is not a football game where we choose up sides and we try to win at all costs. The truth is I really don't care if a health care plan or an energy plan comes from a Republican or a Democrat as long as we solve the problems.

But I do take issue, Mr. Prince, when you beat up on a Democratic Congressman for not having public meetings but its ok with you when Republican Congressmen Tiberi and Austria don't. They may not have voted for the bills but there are Democrats living in those districts that would like to know why they don't support health care reform and the energy bill. It's the same thing, and if it's good enough for the Republicans to address their constituents with telephone town hall meetings it should be good enough for Democrat Zack Space.

Here are a few other things Mr. Prince wrote that I have a problem with:

You state Zack Space did not meet with "the second largest paper in Licking County" (I assume you are referring to the Beacon). Maybe Zack has read your paper and feels like I do, that "trying to have a conversation with you is like trying to argue with a dinning room table". What would be the point? You've all but said you don't believe a word he says.

And concerning your comment "I want to look him (Zack) right in the eye and ask whether he has any concerns that some of us will be denied available treatments due to cost constraints." I can't help but wonder how you will react the first time your private insurance company denies you treatment due to cost constraints. Private insurance does that you know. In fact they have a list of approved and unapproved tests and procedures that they will pay for and they limit doctor and hospital choices too (personally I have to choose from a list of approved providers or pay for services myself). You could call that rationing and controlling my choices. I worked in a "for profit" health care facility for 8 years and I have seen first hand many of the problems with our health care system and the hardships people faced when they were uninsured or underinsured.

And finally, Mr. Prince points out "about 80% of us are satisfied with our doctor and 70% are pleased with their health insurance coverage". I say 30% of us not being please with their insurance is a large number. Add in the number of uninsured and I'd say we have a problem.

There is still much work to be done to both the healthcare and energy bills. A final health care bill must provide coverage for those that are not eligible or can not afford health insurance. It must provide solutions to reduce the skyrocketing costs of healthcare. It must close the "donut hole" in the Medicare Prescription Plan. It must stop the insurance company's practice of denying those with pre-existing conditions, placing lifetime limits on benefits, and refusing coverage to those that are sick. In a wealthy country such as ours it is a moral outrage that millions of our citizens do not have access to adequate healthcare.

A final energy bill must move us toward energy independence and clean energy. The price and/or abundance of oil, coal and natural gas are not the issues. All add greenhouse gases to our atmosphere. Whether you believe these greenhouse gases are a factor in global warming or not consider the fact that coal burning power plants and exhaust that comes from our tailpipes are unhealthy to breath and are responsible for many respiratory ailments and deaths each year.

Also, one of the leading causes of high mercury levels in fish is due to coal burning power plants. The affects of Ohio's dependence on coal burning power plants reach far beyond our state borders. There are numerous reasons to clean up our act. Like it or not, the human animal has a profound affect on the earth we live on and, unlike health care, it's one thing each and every one of us can do something about. Recycle and conserve wherever you can. Consider the energy consumption every time you purchase a new appliance, light bulbs, or when buying a new car. There are numerous ways to make a difference.

We must fix these problems and we must do it now. As I said I don't care if the solutions come from a Republican or a Democrat, just as long as the solutions come.

Vickie Fogarty

Bowling Green Township

Editor's Note: We suspect some readers are getting tired of our exchanges. However, it is a critical time to pay attention to this national debate and get involved.

The stakes are enormous and reach far beyond just the future of our health care and access to energy. The overriding issue is control. Will individuals retain control over their lives - for example, where and what kind of home to live in, what type of vehicle to drive, how to spend your free time, which doctor and medical facilities to use and so on.

Fogarty and most of her fellow Democrats, including Representative Zack Space, believe government - well, government with Democrats in charge - should be making these decisions for us. Using the guise of crises in health care and energy, she claims we must fix these 'problems' now. These crises are considered so critical that Democrats won't even commit to reading the final health care bill before voting on it nor posting it on the Internet for us to review for at least 72 hours before the vote.

Fogarty and I clearly disagree about whether we have health care and energy crises - she says we do; I say we don't. However, no reasonable person can contend that the 'crisis' is so severe that we can't expect our representatives to read the bills before voting on them and letting 'we the people' review the bills for 72 hours before the vote.

It gets worse. About two months ago, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee passed an amended $1 trillion health-care bill. Acting Chair Chris Dodd has refused to provide a full copy of the revised bill even to Republicans on the committee much less to the general public.

What are they hiding? Why won't they commit to posting the bills 72 hours before the final vote?

The devil is always in the details. Fogarty and the Democrats are painting an impossible utopia where we all have free access to health care whenever and however long we need it. Prescription drugs will be free and there will be no limits on our benefits. And I almost forgot, it will cost less than we are collectively paying now.

That's an impossible dream and the Democrats know it. They just don't want us to discover the truth until the system is in place and it is too late. That's why they don't want us to see details - the new taxes, the mandates, the bureaucratic control and most of all the panels of 'experts' that will determine what treatments are available and to whom. That's what will kick grandma out of ICU after a day or so; or never even let her in.

Whether it is via the 'public option' or a 'trigger,' government will soon control health care if current proposals are enacted. This control will smother medical innovations since government will refuse to pay for most of it. That's the pattern in Canada and most of Europe where access to new technology and drugs is severely limited.

Consequently, most medical innovation occurs in this country where there is still a market for it. Right now it is our gift to the world. But if our medical market is taken over by the government, no one will be developing the drugs and equipment that will extend our lives or alleviate our pain and suffering.

After all, extending lives can be pretty expensive, particularly in the development stage, and the Democrats claim we'll be spending less for health care in the future. There is only one way to do that. Something has to give and it will be the quality of your health care.

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