Letters to the Editor

September 16, 2009

Do we really appreciate our doctors and nurses?

To the editor:

Well, I guess that if we are ever going to be sick about something, the health care overhaul is most appropriate.

Yes, we need to change how health coverage is managed here in the U.S. As one who is uninsured, I know what the problems are. I owe medical bills. I desire to pay them. See, I figure that doctors earn their fees. They do - try spending a dozen years in college, only to be shortchanged, second-guessed and sued for malpractice, mostly because some people out there cannot accept that doctors are human and do make mistakes.

It doesn't stop there - doctors must continually return to college to keep pace with all the new things discovered. How many of you have any idea of what it costs a doctor, in insurance, to run a practice? The overhead is enormous. Even doctors who have never been sued for malpractice must keep up the insurance premiums, just in case.


Don't get me wrong - insurance is necessary, it makes good sense to bankroll your office, but, for crying out loud, are we so mistrustful and/or greedy that we need to holler for a lawyer the minute we are dissatisfied with our physicians? Hey, if you want a better doctor, either find one or become one.

Even worse are our pharmaceutical companies. They hold our doctors and our health care hostage. Yes, pharmaceutical companies must average a cost for research, and a reasonable profit should be granted, but it is ridiculous that Americans are the ones to pay for all of it.

I had a friend 15 years ago who was on a nitroglycerine patch for his heart. Without insurance, the cost was $800 per patch. With insurance, he paid $20 per patch, a rather startling difference, don't you think? I have no idea what this treatment costs today, but considering that it is one of the lifesaving devices that our doctors prescribe - and 'known science' at that - should it be so expensive? We need to draw some lines.

Three things are needed - caps on insurance fees, pharmaceutical fees and medical lawsuits - gross malpractice aside. Understand, people do not become medical practitioners in order to get rich. If that was their goal, they'd be insurers. People become doctors and nurses and researchers and aides because they care.

Do all of us a favor - the next time you are in your doctor's office, spend a moment thanking them. Apologize for allowing a system to continue that is stacked against them. Competition creates excellence.

We have most of the world's finest doctors and nurses right here in the USA, but do we really appreciate them? I pray you a happy and healthy life, and more so for your physician.

May God bless our doctors and nurses, for where would we be without our healers?

Laura Funkhouser
Hedgesville, W.Va.

Senior coalition lets legislators know issues

To the editor:

At this time last year, the Washington County Senior Coalition was preparing for its inaugural senior forum, the first-ever attempt to put county seniors in touch with those who represent us in elected office. Members of the coalition, as well as the county delegation, were surprised at the number of attendees at this event. Clearly, seniors wanted to let our legislators know our issues.

What followed is public record. A bill (HB 1184) was passed in the legislature authorizing Washington County's Board of Commissioners to provide property tax relief to county seniors. What followed was an uproar over the concept of a lien to be placed on the homes of anyone qualifying for the tax relief. The delegation listened, subsequently passing another bill (HB 781) authorizing property tax relief statewide without a lien.

Washington County has yet to implement property tax relief.

Washington County did allocate funding for Washington County's first senior center, which will eliminate our county's status as the only county in Maryland without a senior center. Little has happened since the money was budgeted. We look forward to completion of our first senior center.

Washington County's League Of Women Voters joins the Commission On Aging and the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) in sponsoring a second senior forum for Monday, Oct. 19, with the Washington County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly. This new partnership will enhance the number of voters represented by the coalition.

Edward C. Wurmb III
Washington County Senior Coalition

Fresh Air Fund seeks Franklin Co. volunteers

To the editor:

This summer, 61 children from New York City found out once again just how special summer is in south central Pennsylvania.

Fresh Air Fund hosts, volunteers and local supporters dedicated their time and efforts to help these inner-city youngsters experience simple summertime pleasures in your community.

None of this would be possible without Joey Bowser, your local Fresh Air Fund volunteer leader, who works throughout the year to make sure host families and children have the opportunity to enjoy memorable summertime experiences together. I invite you to join Joey and the local Fresh Air Fund committee to help spread the word about the wonderful opportunity of hosting next summer.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877.

For more information on how you can help to continue this wonderful tradition of volunteering, call Joey at 717-530-5779 or go to

Jenny Morgenthau
executive director
Fresh Air Fund
New York

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