Healthcare Reform Debacle; Tiger Woods; More on Santa Rosa Hospital; More on Obama as a Community Organizer …

by on December 17, 2009

To the Editor:

I wonder if given the health care “reform” ongoing debacle, it’s way past time to take the fight to Joe Lieberman’s paymasters. The times surely call for bringing Battle of Seattle-level energy against the national insurance companies that have provided campaign contributions to keep Lieberman in office. I don’t see that Americans currently being screwed over by health insurance company greed have anything left to lose.

Peter Wong
San Francisco

To the Editor:

We sent the following to Senators Reid, Boxer, and Feinstein and a version to President Obama: Shame on the Senate Democrats (and the President) for even considering passing a health care bill without a public option and requiring everyone to buy health insurance without a cap on costs.

No health care bill would be preferable. We demand that 51 plus Democrats pass an acceptable bill. Then let Senators Lieberman and Nelson, the Blue Dog Democrats, and the Republicans filibuster over the holidays to show everyone that they are beholden to the health insurance companies rather than the American public. If you don’t, then the Democrats will pay at the mid-term elections.

Judi Iranyi
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Why all the brouhaha about Tiger Woods’ extra-marital affairs? In the first place, no one should have placed Woods on a pedestal. Just because he is a fantastic golfer does not mean he should be a role model for our kids. Like anyone else, a professional athlete must earn the title of role model. Tiger Woods didn’t let us down; we just mistakenly associated golf expertise with integrity. It is our fault not his.

Ralph E. Stone
San Francisco

To the Editor:

The union representation election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital between SEIU and NUHW is really a fight between “David and Goliath.” Whoever wins, the American Labor Movement is already damaged because the corporate right-wingers have already exploited this situation that caused the defeat of EFCA. Future union organizing would be more difficult, and workers will be more subjected to further exploitation by their employers without a union. I put blame on SEIU for its destructive organizing strategies just to increase union membership.

Andres Bonifacio
San Francisco

To the Editor:

As a community organizer for Organizing for America, I take issue with this article. While a major component of our campaign for health care reform has been the public option, at no point has that been our sole focus. The purpose for all of our grassroots efforts has been and will continue to be the advocacy of a policy that accomplishes three goals.

First, the policy must provide greater stability and security in health coverage for all Americans. This bill accomplishes that with its anti-discrimination provisions, dealing with pre-existing conditions and age, and with its ability to prevent insurers from dropping coverage when their policyholders need it most. It strengthens Medicare by streamlining its administration and closing the “doughnut hole” in part D.

Second, the policy must work to stem the rising costs of health care in this country. By allowing Medicare to negotiate with caregivers this bill saves both the government and individual recipients money. Also, the formation of health insurance exchanges will help to reign in costs through competition. Though not as robust as a public option, this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Finally, the bill improves access to care for all Americans through expansions to Medicaid and the formation of the previously mentioned exchanges. The estimate is that it will expand the number of insured Americans to 95%. This is a huge step forward in the fight for universal health care.

The President, though supportive of a pubic option, has always kept these principles in mind. He has been honest in his preference for that option but has never dismissed the possibility of taking a different approach. While I personally believe that the public option would have been the best solution, I recognize that the legislation currently being debated in the Senate is still a vast improvement over the status quo.

While Barack Obama may not be the last president to take up the issue of health care reform, his efforts are historic. I have been working between thirty and forty hours a week, as a volunteer, for this cause. Though not perfect, I do view the current reforms as both necessary and as a victory in this fight.

Kieran McCarney
Omaha, NE

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