Letters to the Editor

June 21, 2007 

Stay healthy, or else

I am a former public relations person for a Southern California HMO, and health educator for a community college clinic in Oregon.

I really look forward to seeing Michael Moore’s “Sicko.”

Daniel Weintraub’s piece (June 15) seems a little mean-spirited, and I hope it doesn’t discourage anyone from going to see Moore’s film, which has been widely applauded (it will be at the Palm on June 29).

Weintraub says that Moore is wrong to condemn all for-profit health care, and mentions the fact that Kaiser Permanente is a nonprofit. This may be so, but HMOs act like private companies in that they cannot exist without turning a profit, at least in most of their operations.

Government-funded universal health care may not be perfect (yes, Canada has waiting lists —but not for emergency surgeries and intervention) but it would be in a better position to reduce costs and create economies of scale than profit-making corporations.

That nearly 50 million don’t have health coverage is incredible. We can’t afford to have it, and we can’t afford to not have it. Even when we do pay for it (as will be conveyed in Moore’s film), we oftentimes don’t get what we need, or are kicked off at the whim of the insurer.

Stay healthy, my friends, or else. If you are over 60, join the DividedWeFail.org campaign of the AARP.

William L. Seavey

Cambria

A dangerous world

There is no doubt that we live in a dangerous world, but fearful leadership is not the answer. With an arsenal of 10,000 nuclear warheads currently on hand, our administration in Washington, D.C., has taken steps toward a $150 billion project to add still more to our “insanity.”

Please join me in contacting our representatives in Washington.

Milton Baer

Atascadero

Greed reigns in Avila

Avila Beach, the county’s “secret gem”? (Tribune, June 3) Wow!

Better described as the end result of the “oil spill scam of the century.” Developers took a natural and quaint seaside community and made it their own Frankenstein monster, now admitting it was designed for their friends and other “sophisticated travelers” to enjoy.

You think Avila Beach is a gem? I spent my youth on the beach at Avila, playing volleyball, surfing and hanging out in the shops and cafes on the strip. It was all part of the joy of living in SLO County in the ’50s, before greed began its reign. Now, every time I visit Avila, I go away disappointed and angry and praying for a tidal wave.

Wayne Roberts

Oceano

Questions in Pismo

To Mayor Reiss and the Pismo Beach City Council

Subject: Near-shore ocean water quality

You all may know the answers to my concerns expressed herein, but —as one of the poorly informed public —I do not.

Prompted by county Health Department on-and-off health advisories for Pismo Beach segments, will someone please tell me:

•Where are near-shore waters tested? Only near the pier?

• Do they test for pollutants in Pismo Creek lagoon between Addie Street and Pismo Coast Village? Seabirds, ducks and even pigeons feed there and fly elsewhere to defecate.

• Is testing done where the lagoon opens to the sea?

• Is testing done near numerous surface drain outfalls from our bluffs, which potentially carry pesticide/fertilizer residue from landscaping near hotels and homes?

• Has anyone questioned local surfers, who are in the water regularly, about their health? (Ear infections, etc.)

I was taught many years ago that the first step in problem solving is to define the problem. Unless I have missed something, that has not been done in this matter.

In my opinion, before seeking grant money and embarking on a lengthy research project, more questions need to be answered.

Art Anthony

Pismo Beach

A garden for events

On May 12, our son was married in the beautiful gardens of the Dallidet Adobe. The gardens are a perfect spot for such an event. They are lovingly maintained and continually improved by Norma Frey and a large collection of volunteers —new volunteers are always welcome.

If you are interested in scheduling an event in the gardens, contact the San Luis Obispo County Historical Society at 543-0638.

Barbara and Paul Murphy

San Luis Obispo

Bush betrays investors

Recently, President Bush betrayed investors by pressuring Solicitor General Paul Clement to steer clear of a pending United States Supreme Court case that could provide shareholders with the necessary tools to hold crooked CEOs accountable— as is still needed for Enron investors defrauded only five years ago.

The case, Stoneridge Investment v. Scientific-Atlanta, asks whether investors can recover investment losses from investment banks, attorneys, accountants and other parties involved in fraudulent corporate collusion. The Supreme Court is expected to consider the case during its next term. The outcome could determine whether victims of the Enron scandal can proceed with a $40 billion lawsuit against investment banks that enabled Enron’s massive fraud.

Even though the Securities and Exchange Commission urged the administration to file a brief in support of investors, the administration thumbed its nose at investors.

With Bush’s approval rating hovering around 30 percent, his only support left comes from the CEOs of giant corporations. He’s just playing to the last of his base, while showing small investors across America how little regard his administration has for our well-being.

Jere Wilkerson

Cambria

Who is harmed?

We want to thank Allen Minker for his letter of June 17 calling our attention to the fact that California was 20 years ahead of the Supreme Court when, in 1948, the court made it unconstitutional for any state to deny an interracial couple the right to marry. Thus was another anachronistic law wiped from the books, joining slavery, the denial of the right of women to vote and other restrictions of liberty once considered “the way things ought to be.” What harm has come from the elimination of these laws? What good ever came from those laws?

Today, we struggle with the decision of whether samegender couples should be allowed to marry. Some day we will ask ourselves why this right was ever denied. To those who oppose samegender unions, we ask, who would be harmed by them? They may ask us, who would benefit? Well, the couples who are now denied what opposite-gender persons enjoy as a matter of course could have the same legal standing as the rest of us.

Countless marginalized children who now languish in tax-supported orphanages and foster care could be adopted and become members of loving families headed by two mothers or two fathers. A difficult concept to grasp? So was abolition, by many.

Bob and Mary Ann Brigham

Paso Robles

Funds to fill hole

So, Paso Robles has a $2 billion-plus economy. Hooray, now we can fill in that sinkhole and allow all of us asthmatics to breathe again without wheezing, and visit the library without a mask.

Mona Janise

Paso Robles

Support for health bill

The Sacramento Bee editorial (The Tribune, June 13) on the inadequacies of health care plans in California seems to have been written by someone who has not read SB 840 (California Universal Health-care Act, state Sen. Sheila Kuehl). This single-payer plan was passed by a vote of 62 percent by the Legislature last year. It was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger. It is on its way to being passed again in the Legislature. SB 840 addresses the underlying problems of cost and access.

Sen. Kuehl’s SB 840 proposes a graduated tax premium structure that addresses affordability and access for all. Administrative costs are capped at 5 percent, and increases in the health budget are limited to no more than the gross domestic product growth. Bargaining for the price of drugs and durable medical equipment are also part of the plan.

SB 840 is fair, covers everyone in the state and is affordable now and into the future. Check it out for yourself at www.healthcareforall.org.

Nancy Hay

Pismo Beach

Disgraceful health care

I feel the health care situation in this country is a disgrace. A government-run, single-payer insurance system is long overdue.

Computer simulations have shown we can cover the health care needs of everyone at about 75 percent of our current costs. The administrative savings accrue from the elimination of the insurance companies’ very large overhead costs and the fact that hospitals and doctors must provide extra people to cope with the myriad systems that the insurance plans impose. The cost of emergency care, which many people who cannot afford insurance rely on, is very high compared to preventing a medical problem from becoming serious in the first place.

I understand that most businesses that provide medical insurance for their employees prefer a single-payer system because current insurance costs are making them less competitive. I also believe many insurance companies deserve to be eliminated from the health care business because their desire for greater profits has caused them to engage in many unethical practices, such as raising the rates on people who develop chronic conditions or claiming preexisting conditions to justify nonpayment of claims.

The idea that various government-run systems in other countries provide poor service is insurance company propaganda. Even Cuba has a better medical record of care than the United States.

John Gault

Los Osos

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