Swans Commentary: Letters to the Editor - letter176



Letters to the Editor

(October 19, 2009)


[If you want your letters to be published, you must include your first and last names and your city and state of residence. Also, please, enter in the subject line of your e-mail "letter to the editor," and specify the article or the subject on which you are commenting.]

If you find our work useful and appreciate its quality, please consider
making a donation. Money is spent to pay for Internet costs, maintenance
and upgrade of our computer network, and development of the site.

Making Sense of Health Care: Gilles d'Aymery's Blips #91

To the Editor:

Thank you, Gilles, for your extensive, thoughtful, and accurate rebuttal to the fear-mongering purveyors of misinformation concerning the need for a single payer health care system (Blips #91) in the last issue of Swans. As you, and others, have clearly argued, reform of the current system is not the answer.

I'm writing this week to both my U.S. Senators and my U.S. Representative to encourage them to vote against the current health care reform plan being promoted by the Obama administration and the leaders of the Democratic Party. The reason I'm doing this is that I'm convinced that the legislation currently on the table, as written, will only serve to further expand the influence of the already deeply entrenched and devastatingly parasitic private insurance industry. I believe that the only goal an intelligent and rational citizen should have, at this time, is not the impossible task of reforming the private insurance industry, but the more realizable one of replacing it with a publicly administered, government sponsored and funded, single-payer all-inclusive program.

Critics of such a program tell me that this will raise my taxes. They speak the truth, and I'm okay with that. It may raise my taxes as much as $250 to $300 every month. That suits me, too. Why? Because my employer is currently paying out over $900 in premiums every month, on my behalf, to a private insurer whose policy has become to first deny any and all claims for coverage, and then to begrudgingly pay out as little as possible on them, only after long, time-consuming battles waged by their more persistent "revenue units." Freed of this financial burden, under a single payer plan, my employer will have $900 more cash flow every month to work with. If they pass on only half to me in wage compensation, I still come out $150 to $200 ahead at the end of the month, after my increased taxes are taken out. And my employer will still have the other $450 dollars (times seventy employees) to invest in purchasing four new tractors and seven new trailers, instead of nursing along and jerry-rigging the older equipment in our fleet just to barely keep them on the road. This, in turn, will enhance our ability to productively service our customers' needs, which will be on the increase, due to their ability to ramp up based on the strength of their own fiscal windfall, as they, too, are able to end paying out the premiums extorted by the private insurance parasites.

I'll admit that this scenario might present an overly optimistic and Pollyannaish expectation of generosity on the part of my employer. They could just as easily opt not to re-invest in either their equipment or their employees, and just bank the entire $900 per employee, per month. But, on the other hand, no longer shackled by a corrupt and oppressive system that so effectively ties my family's physical well being to my continuous employment, I would be free to resign and seek out a new employer who places a higher valuation on the contributions of their employees, without the fear of losing all access to any medical care at all.

More important than all of these financial considerations, however, will be the upgrade that a single payer program would bring to the quality of health care that my family and yours receive. By eliminating the for-profit, insurance driven system that now forces physicians into the role of risk managers for the insurance interests who control their access to patients (as there are damned few "health care professionals" who are not currently on some insurance carrier's list of "approved providers"), physicians would, under the single payer system, be able to once again begin practicing medicine based on their knowledge, skills, and compassionate understanding of the needs of their patients.

In fact, the only Americans who have reason to fear a single payer, government funded and administered, health care system are the private insurance industry and those who profit from it. Which is why they are devoting more than a million dollars out of their bloated profits each and every day to fund the generation and dissemination of misinformation designed to persuade you and me that single payer is a disastrously bad idea. And, when I use the phrase "those who profit from it," bear in mind that this includes the greater majority of your elected legislators and, most certainly, our new President of Hope and Change. So, if you decide to contact them about this issue, as I've chosen to do, be sure to remind them that you know the sources of many of their past campaign contributions, and that you'll be more than happy to vote against them in their next bid for re-election, if you see that they've chosen to represent their own interests, rather than yours.

Michael DeLang
Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado, USA - October 10, 2009
Gilles d'Aymery responds:

Dear Michael, with a single payer system, you would not necessarily have to pay higher taxes. First, it would not be a tax per se but a premium paid to a Medicare-like entity run by the government (or not). It looks like a matter of semantics, but in truth that is what people need to understand. Instead of paying a premium to a for-profit private health insurance, they would pay a premium to a non-profit public health insurance, which, by the way, would not necessarily have to be run by the government (it could be an independent public entity). Second, your employer could keep paying your "health benefits," but this time the premiums would be paid to the non-profit entity. Your employer would then save about 20-30 percent -- a saving that may or may not be shared with you in the form of a wage increase. However, to really reform the entire health care system in this country will take more than a single payer system. The profit-based approach must be shelved, and, yes, tort reform should be a part of the solution -- as well as the delivery of care, which ought to focus on preventive medicine rather than sick care. Adding wellness (healthy food and exercise) to that long equation would make our new, real health care system the envy of the world. This is not rocket science.

Warm regards,

Gilles d'Aymery
Boonville, California, USA -- October 11, 2009


Ahead of the Curve: Michael Barker's Combating [Some] Slavery.

Dear Swans,

One month ago I read with interest Michael Barker's article, "Combating [Some] Slavery." (I also posted a link to it on my Web site, WebofDemocracy.org) No sooner had I read Barker's criticism of "abolition movement leader" Kevin Bales when I noticed that he was featured in an interview with Democracy Now! (on September 9, 2009, see: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/9/the_slave_next_door_human_trafficking).

While it was disconcerting to see that host Amy Goodman did not challenge Mr. Bales with any critical questions regarding his or his organization's dubious practices, I thought that you might be interested to know (and read) journalist Christian Parenti's hard-hitting response to Mr. Bales, which is posted on the Democracy Now! Web site at: http://staging.democracynow.org/blog/2009/9/14/free_the_truth_a_response_to_kevin_bales

"[Bales's] behavior is utterly unconscionable. And his beloved Protocol works with 'enormous success' in only one regard -- sometimes it serves as a fig leaf that shields from sight the unseemly ways in which the great chocolate companies exploit the children of cocoa farmers in West Africa."

It's good to know that Swans is ahead of the curve, and on the mark with the analysis you publish.

Best regards,

Anthony Fenton
Pitt Meadows, BC, Canada - October 7, 2009


Offensive contend [sic]. Please do the "thinking" your site claims you all do... Steve Shay's Old Macho And The Sea

To the Editor:

I am writing because your "society of people who think" have not spent any time thinking about my hometown, La Conner. Please get to know our town and Shelter Bay as well before you publish on the web your rubbish. Alcoholics? Where? The town I know and love is NOT the crass, stereotyped, and prejudiced [place the] piece exclaims.

I would sign my name, but I see the obvious lies and bull hooey your publication is capable. I would be afraid to allow my name into your Web site's hands. I heartedly invite you to NOT "lower" yourself to visiting our alcoholic town, or our neighbor, you know, that "development of mostly sturdy Germanic and Nordic silver-hairs who wore shiny red parkas, unblemished hiking boots, and carried binoculars, not cameras, around their necks."

We heartedly can do without your type of "thinking" in our fine corner of the world. I am NOT interested in any response from the likes of you and those you represent. I'll sit here and "not think" and enjoy my town on my own, thank you very much.

Name withheld
E-mail: jc.reigns AT gmail.com [ed. Is this Jesus Christ Reigns At gmail.com?]
La Conner, Washington, USA - October 5, 2009
Steve Shay responds:

In response to the complaint about my story about La Conner, Washington, "Old Macho and the Sea," the anonymous La Conner resident writes the following:

"Alcoholics? Where? The town I know and love is NOT the crass..."

In my defense, my story describes the town as:

"... a little town of artisans, authors, alcoholics, and Alaska-bound fishermen."

I see nothing crass about being an artisan, author, or rugged fisherman, and I am quite certain that La Conner's most famous author-in-residence, Tom Robbins, would agree.

Secondly, I see nothing wrong with a segment of small-town America being crass if, by your definition, that is what an alcoholic is.

It was my experience that local drinkers bar-hopped from the La Conner Pub to the La Conner Brewing Company to The Tavern to Nell Thorn Pub. They all close at 9:00 p.m. weeknights, one hour later on weekends. After closing time, bar-hoppers then drive to the next town north, Anacortes, and drink at their bars as those stay open later. To avoid a DUI, some then sleep in their cars after closing time, then return home to La Conner in the early morning, and the cycle continues again that evening.

One popular La Conner hangout I did not mention above is the La Conner Retirement Inn. That is where the town's Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held, and that place draws quite a crowd.

Thank you.

Steve Shay
Seattle, Washington, USA - October 7, 2009


Acknowledgement: Gilles d'Aymery's Iran: War Madness

To the Editor:

Thanks for the kind words Gilles d'Aymery wrote about me in his October 5 article, "Iran: War Madness."


Jeff Huber
Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA - October 6, 2009


We appreciate and welcome your comments. Please, enter in the subject line of your e-mail "letter to the editor," and specify the article or the subject you are commenting on at the beginning of your e-mail. Also, ***PLEASE,*** sign your e-mail with your name ***AND*** add your city, state, country, address, and phone number. If we publish your opinion we will only include your name, city, state, and country. Send your comments to the Editor. (Letters may be shortened and edited.)
Previous || Letters to the Editor || Next

Published October 19, 2009
[Copyright]-[Archives]-[Resources]-[Main Page]
Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915