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Letters to the Editor

August 11, 2009

The next thing you know you're a statistic



To the editor:

So! You've got pretty good health insurance, covered by your employer. You like your primary care physician. And, you've not paid much attention to this health insurance reform debate. You're satisfied, so what's the fuss? Why should America spend one more trillion?

C. Everett Koop, M.D., the United States Surgeon General under President Reagan remarked: "Americans want the best health care that money can buy, they want it cheap, and they want it now! They will be lucky to get two out of three."

That's how we are about health care -- selfish. "I'm OK so you fend for yourself!"

This is America. The wealthiest country in the world and we do not have health coverage for every member of society. In fact, 48 million of us are uninsured. And the rest -- not all of them are satisfied with the health insurance coverage that they have, or the physicians that they are forced (by their insurance) to use. U.S. health statistics fall far below most industrialized countries. We have wonderful medical facilities but we misuse them and 16 percent of our population relies on emergency rooms and free clinics. Shameful.

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Under a reformed health care system we can have access for everyone. That's important because quantity begets quality and enlarging the base by many young and healthier Americans will reduce the per capita cost. As for rationing, some will inevitably occur. But that, too, can be handled in a reasonable fashion. The unselfish approach would trade a few high-cost accessories for universal basic coverage. An equitable compromise position would improve the health of the nation. I am certain that better preventative care will provide the best return on investment for any bucks we spend. Health care should be like justice -- available to every citizen.

Anyone feeling smug about his or her health insurance? Volunteer at the emergency room or free clinic and talk to real folks about how "going naked" feels. Remember, an expensive year following an unforeseen illness or injury could happen to you! The health insurance companies only treat people nice if they are profitable. Everyone is merely a single stroke of bad luck away from catastrophe. If you slip on a banana peel some CEO starts to frown and the next thing you know , you're a statistic.

M. Douglas Becker, M.D.
Hagerstown




School bond is just another word for tax levy



To the editor:

Before I get into my generalized complaint, I want it to be known that I support our schools, our hard-working teachers as well as the Berkeley County Board of Education in general. I am not writing this letter to slight anyone associated with the school system in Berkeley County.

What really irritates me is the term "bond," which is used so loosely when it comes to asking the public to vote on school needs in order to raise funding. The term "bond" according to Webster's dictionary, and as most of us know it to be, reads as follows -- " ... 11. In finance, an interest-bearing certificate issued by a government or business, promising to the holder a specified sum on a specified date: It is a common means of raising capital."

In other words, it is money raised by the general public in most cases where they are paid interest on the money, and in most cases the capital amount is tax free and returned to the public lender at the end date of the contract. I know, my father bought many of these in his lifetime to help municipal governments.

The "bond" that is being asked by the Berkeley County Board of Education is not a bond at all, but a tax levy, and it should be called by what it is. Of course, it looks much more streamlined to the public by calling it a bond, and not a tax.

The taxpayers of Berkeley County are not getting interest on the money being raised, just another tax levy on their personal property yet again.

Christopher Breeze
Martinsburg, W.Va.




Downtown watch celebrates 9th anniversary



To the editor:

The mission of Downtown We Care Crime Watch is, in partnership with the Hagerstown Police Department:

o To protect and preserve life and protect property

o To serve the needs of the city's neighborhoods and to improve the quality of life by building capacities to maintain order, to recognize and resolve problems

o To apprehend criminals consistent with the law and reflective of shared community values.

Downtown Watch's objective is to increase residents' and businesses' sense of security and safety in the community by reducing crime and eliminating fear.

Downtown Watch has become a common ground of assistance to the community where members take great pride in watching out for their neighborhoods. Residents share the common goal to better the neighborhood and to participate in the successful common effort to do so.

We celebrated our ninth anniversary on May 2, 2009.

Tom H. Lowman Sr.
Chairman, Downtown Crime Watch




Boy deserves credit for spotting the robins



To the editor:

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