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Letters to the Editor - July 8

July 08, 2012

Health-care law will grow on all of us


To the editor:

Am I pleased about the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act? Well, yes! I expected the opposite outcome. Am I satisfied? Well, no! As a Pragmatic Progressive, I will accept this as “The law of the land” and strive to make it work.

I do believe we will all be better off by having this arrangement imposed on our health-care system. I would have preferred single payer, because I believe that the health insurance industry has exploited the consumers, the providers and the United States by polluting our political process with uncountable lobbying dollars. (We bought into their erroneous message.)

The No. 1 benefit will go to 30 million people who will now have health insurance. That’s close to 10 percent of the American population who, heretofore, tried to get along without it. Just think — no more medical bankruptcies. My own patient families have suffered bankruptcy after catastrophic illness. That stacks financial disaster atop bodily tragedy.

Children can stay on the family policy until age 26. You cannot be removed for an expensive illness. A pre-existing diagnosis will no longer prevent you from accepting a better job or moving to a new location. No matter your ideology or political persuasion, you cannot argue with these principles. Increasing and improving the use of preventive primary care will save money in the long run by positioning early treatment to retard the advance of chronic illnesses. We can definitely save money by making the population healthier.

I realize that the country is evenly divided among proponents and opponents of this health-care decision. I hear the calls for repeal and replacement of the ACA. No one has yet described how the replacement proposal will work. I am suspicious that “a replacement” hides under Rush Limbaugh’s chair. The GOP seems like a man standing in the marketplace of ideas with an empty wallet.

The Affordable Care Act is legal. We will all be forced to live with the policy and work to improve it. Like Social Security and Medicare, this program will surely “grow” on all of us.


M. Douglas Becker, M.D.
Hagerstown

 

A more healthy society would pay for rail trail


To the editor:

We exist in a time where our civilization has mastered the ability to conserve energy. Most of us invest little energy in obtaining the foods that we consume on a daily basis.

 Hunting and fishing are now termed as sport activities, farmers use large equipment to manage their yields and many drive to large corporate-owned businesses for the convenience of a wide range of food at their fingertips. 

Therefore, the effects of little output for an intake that craves sugar (this goes back to our evolution) and convenience is a real problem with our nation’s health. How this links with the rail-trail dilemma is simple; people need easy accessibility to green space. Developing a strong trail infrastructure provides a safer alternative for commuters, walkers, bicyclists and families. 

We need to understand that without proposed projects like the Civil War Rail Trail, the future of our health as a nation is in crisis. Many opponents of the rail trail spoke of the increase to property tax affecting the residence within close proximity of the trail. Let’s think about the impact of health care costs that intertwine with a nation whose adult and child obesity rates have doubled and whose adolescent obesity rate has tripled in the past two decades.

The Centers for Disease Control published that health costs attributable to obesity-related health issues were estimated to be $52 billion in 1995, $75 billion in 2003 and an alarming $190 billion today. A recent study in Science Daily reported that obesity accounts for 21 percent of U.S. health care costs.

There must come a time when the awareness awakens each and every one of us. My concern is now, and I hope that my words are received by understanding hearts. There are a number of issues surroundings the proposal of the Civil War Rail Trail, many of which with discussion I am certain will be resolved. As a community, may we be compelled to recognize our own health issues and channel our awareness to support projects such as the rail trail and instill a healthier lifestyle.


Aimée L. Grahe
Williamsport



Wilcox’ open-door policy is appreciated


To the editor:

What a wonderful article in the paper on June 23rd about Clayton Wilcox’s first year as Washington County Public Schools superintendent.

I wholeheartedly agree with Washington County Teachers Association President Denise Fry when she said that Dr. Wilcox “truly attempts to be as accessible as possible.”

It will certainly make a huge difference in the success and growth of our school system. Accessibility, communication, engagement and transparency are so vital to a robust education system. Somehow, we still fall short in these areas. This was yet again displayed during the aforementioned schedule changes at Smithsburg High, prompting the statement “School system officials probably erred in not bringing more parents into the discussion earlier.”

Dr. Wilcox, I implore you to keep that door open wide and to continue to reach out to the community. What you experienced with the “Smithsburg resistance” is part of a longtime culture of parents and citizens feeling like we are the last to know. We shouldn’t be the last to know — we’re the parents. We are not always right, and may sometimes be a bit passionate, but we are still an essential part of the equation.

On the flip side, the board is not always right and needs to revisit the spirit of their job, because they are an essential part of the equation.

In a June 19 Herald-Mail article, board President Wayne Ridenour said the board was “buying into your commitment and vision for the future.” Hopefully, Dr. Wilcox, you can guide the board to a place where they can wrap their arms around accessibility, communication, engagement and transparency. Ignoring citizens is wrong on so many levels. We need to depart from that manner of governing and work together.

Denise Fry further went on to say, “He has an open door. It took me a while to truly realize it was an open door.” It may take people time to realize there truly is an open door, Dr. Wilcox. Go ahead and just take that baby off the hinges.


Dottie Gruhler
Smithsburg

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