Letters to the Editor - March 5

March 05, 2012

Column was ideology looking for an issue

To the editor:

Tom Firey’s opinion piece (“When Government Makes Your Health Care Choices,” Feb. 29) is an example of an ideology looking for an issue. Firey begins his column with a compelling story that might not have achieved his objective, as it points out the need for universal health coverage in the United States. He goes on to infer that it was some government policy that prevented a child from getting experimental treatment for a virulent form of brain cancer.

Evidently, Firey does not know that private insurance also does not pay for experimental treatments, nor does he remember the thalidomide disaster of an earlier time. His attempt to link this unfortunate story to the Affordable Health Care Act seems to be intellectually dishonest and another example of the lengths to which some will go to mislead the public about government involvement in health care.

The government is not taking over our health care; except for veterans hospitals, the government runs no public service hospitals, hires no doctors to deliver public services and does not own the pharmaceuticals industry. The government collectively finances health care that would otherwise devastate many in our society.

Firey seems to be against government involvement in setting standards and managing what we collectively will or will not pay for from the public funds. Personally, I prefer a government agency that answers to the people making those decisions to a private, for-profit insurance industry making those decisions; we need decisions driven by medical standards and not by the “bottom line” to satisfy stockholders.

Our Founding Fathers called the original states “Commonwealth” — that is “common wealth” — for a reason.  We share this society together — in common. If we do not have collective financing of health care so that our neighbors who suffer catastrophic illness are not crushed by the expense, we are not living up to our myths and values. We do need a government that is “big enough” and I am tired of hearing those who seem to think in bumper-sticker slogans throw around “big government” as if it is something to fear.

Bob Ayrer
Falling Waters, W.Va.

Representatives should think twice about oil drilling

To the editor:

I feel that if Big Oil wants to drill and run pipelines, that’s fine. But they should have to stand up to the strict standards that the Alaskan Pipeline maintains, and to the nature and environmental regulations that they had to follow during the building process. That would be fine.

But the oil companies don’t want to do that because they need to make more money for their shareholders. A perfect example is BP. They are going to get away with nothing but a slap on the wrist. They should be fined and made to pay every dime that people lost because of their spill, not get to write some of the fine off on their taxes.

Our representatives should think about this before they vote for something like this again.

John Ladd
Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

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