Letters to the editor
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Would a new health system allow this operation?
It was heartwarming to read your story about the Georgia man receiving double hand transplant surgery at UPMC ("UPMC Transplanting 2 Hands," May 5). This is truly an innovative procedure of which we can all marvel.
I would like to ask your readers if they think that such miraculous operations will be available in the future if the government-managed health-care system being promoted by President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress becomes reality.
In a bureaucrat-driven, rather than a patient-driven, health-care system, wouldn't such a procedure be considered an extravagant use of resources and therefore vetoed?
Nationalized health care, or socialized medicine, will mean rationing of resources and less freedom for patients and doctors. It will mean long waiting periods for lifesaving tests and operations that we now get immediately. It will also mean less medical innovation.
Although many seniors believe that socialized medicine is the answer to their prayers, such a system would undoubtedly deny many expensive procedures to seniors because such operations would not be considered a good long-term investment of public money. Let us come to our senses and defend the benefits of our current health-care system, which is the best in the world, before it is too late and we lose it!
It's no joke
While Senate Finance Committee members have the luxury to laugh off single-payer health-care plans for the rest of us, I am not as fortunate. I'm a 31-year-old woman with several chronic illnesses. I have "good" medical insurance under the current system, but I am still drowning in medical bills, copays and deductibles.
Recently, I was facing a devastating cancer diagnosis and what scared me the most wasn't the diagnosis itself, but the prospect that I would live long enough with it to financially ruin my family. Even a good medical plan like mine has a lifetime limit of a million dollars -- something one cancer diagnosis can easily drain.
Ask yourself: Is it humane to make sick people fear their family's financial ruin in addition to their illness? My Canadian family members could not believe this story, but I am certain you have heard many like it before. Unless we take profit out of health care, this system will continue to dehumanize us, as patients and as citizens.
Can't afford not to
Thank you for printing Paul Krugman's excellent column "An Affordable Salvation" (May 2). Mr. Krugman's words, "So can we afford to save the planet? Yes, we can. And now would be a very good time to get started," are a voice of reason amid the hysteria being promoted by the coal and oil industry.
Those industries would have you believe that climate change legislation will destroy your pocketbook and the economy. These are scare tactics intended to save their executives' wealth. Much the same thing happened in the last century with the tobacco industry, which lied to the public about the dangers of cigarette smoke. We now all know the truth about that.
There is currently a climate change bill being written in the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives, the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Call your congressman and ask him to support it. Such a bill will not only start to address climate change, it also will, as Mr. Krugman points out, give a boost to the economy. It's a win-win situation.
Our green vision
In response to Chad Dorn's May 8 letter "Green Our Schools," I am writing to let you know of our agency's intention to do just that.
The Swissvale center of Angels' Place, a former school built in 1957, is evidence that long-term endurance was not a priority when schools were being constructed for the baby boomers. The large areas of single-glazed glass, carpet glued to concrete and flat black roof are telltale signs of an era that in no way anticipated future utility costs and green concerns.
Angels' Place Swissvale, having fast-forwarded to the present day of a leaking roof and windows, electricity deregulation, community storm-water runoff problems and ballooning natural gas expenses, has resolved to make the 2538 Woodstock address a showcase of "green" renovation.
Volunteers, staff and past and current clients recently kicked off this dream with a brainstorming session. We have developed a sustainability wish list of items from efficient windows to a naturalistic playground, with price tags for each.
While identifying funding sources must precede the large-scale greening goals, our dedicated staff and volunteers already are making strides toward energy-efficiency and environmental consciousness for themselves and the children in our care. We consider it a privilege to teach preschoolers about greening philosophies and how together we can make our spaces a better place to live and grow.
MICHELLE SMITH TIPTON
Angels' Place Inc.
The writer's organization provides single, low-income parents with support, including free child care, so they can complete their education.
Restrict gun access
Regarding "Gun Sales at Record Levels" (April 27): I believe in the Second Amendment, but some people take it too far. The amendment was written so that when needed, the government could raise a militia to defend the country. Now we have state national guards to defend us in times of need.
There are some people who can have guns, and some who shouldn't. There is a difference between a hunter living in the country owning a rifle, and a man living in the city owning a semi-automatic. People say that they have their guns to defend themselves, but when it comes down to it, that gun would do more harm than good in crunch time. There are studies showing that people trained with a gun would most likely not use it effectively if threatened by another with a gun.
There is no need for civilians to own automatic and semi-automatic guns; the ban on semi-automatic weapons should be put back into place, but covering all types of those guns. The rules on guns should be strict; only certain people should be allowed to own them, and no one should be permitted to own semi-automatics and automatics. Guns are widely a danger to our society, and it is important that they not be used to harm the community.
Debate is healthy
There have been presidents in the past who were invited and accepted invitations to speak at the graduation commencement of Notre Dame University who did not agree with all the ideologies of the Catholic religion. So why is it such an issue when President Barack Obama does not agree with all the ideologies of the Catholic religion, with many suggesting that the invitation extended to him should have been withdrawn ("Amid Protests at Notre Dame, the President Urges 'Open Hearts, Open Minds' on Abortion," May 18)?
I think his invitation to speak at the commencement was a wise choice because it demonstrates that Notre Dame, a prestigious Catholic university, is broad-minded enough to know that everyone has a right to his or her opinion and it is healthy to agree to disagree.
These programs are no longer secure for today's workers
There was a time when I thought I might not live long enough to collect my Social Security. Now that I am collecting, according to the latest reports, I just might outlive it ("Forecast Says Medicare, SS Nearer to Insolvency," May 13). They expect the proceeds will be overdrawn within the next decade unless drastic measures are taken.
I can only imagine what the younger workers of today are thinking, while the government continues to take funds out of their paychecks for their retirement -- that is, if you have a job.
Politicians, stop the robo-abuse
A pox on all their houses!
Notice to all politicians! If you want me to vote for you, you won't call me.
Over the last week to 10 days, I have averaged six to eight robot calls per day! The worst offender was the Patrick Dowd campaign with at least six robot calls from him or his supporters. This has been worse than the presidential campaign.
From now on, I'll keep track of which politicians place calls and scratch those people from all consideration. This abuse of political telephone calls has become obscene.
North Point Breeze
Can Toomey relate to the average person?
I read the op-ed rant by Pat Toomey ("Welcome to Our Tent," May 13 Perspectives). Wow, these politicians are good. They can slant, twist and blame better than anyone. I guess that's why I vote for a person, not a political party.
Mr. Toomey is a bright man. But he needs to argue his case a little better to get my vote.
He stated that one of his ideas is to protect innocent lives, but, in fact, he has been a supporter of every recent war.
He feels strongly about less government spending. What does that mean? Less highway funding, less Medicare, lower Social Security?
He believes in lower taxes. Actually my federal taxes are low. But then again, I'm not as rich as Mr Toomey.
Mr. Toomey wants a limited government. Maybe he's right. The government should stay away from making rules for bankers and Wall Street! They've done such a great job on their own.
Mr. Toomey sees no reason to have a debate over universal health care. I guess when you hobnob around Washington, D.C., with wealthy campaign donors, you really aren't too concerned about the cost of health insurance.
Mr. Toomey complains about the "exorbitant taxes on the productive." Who are these "productives"? ExxonMobil?
If Mr. Toomey wants our votes he's going to have to climb down from that high horse and support a few things for the average guy.
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First Published May 21, 2009 12:00 am