Too many Americans land in prison
An overwhelming number of more than seven million people are behind bars, on probation, or on parole in the United States. That represents one in every 31 American adults, not to mention the thousands of children and other family members of the incarcerated that are impacted.
We pride ourselves in being the “Land of the Free” and the “Home of the Brave.” If we really value freedom and bravery, why do we lock up so many of our fellow citizens? Why do we have an addiction to incarceration, thinking that it will cure our social ills?
To deny anyone freedom because they have an addiction (which we do) or to lock people up who really need intensive mental health care (which we do) or to give life sentences to petty thieves (which we do) doesn’t seem to correlate with the ideals of a “Land of the Free” and a “Home of the Brave.”
KECIA DOOLITTLE, Olympia
Consolidate health care programs
We need health care reform but why does it have to cost trillions of dollars and why all the fear mongering?
Here in Washington, we pay taxes toward six or more types of government health care programs and we don’t even have a state income tax.
Yes, I said SIX types of GOVERNMENT health care programs — Medicare, military/veterans, federal employee’s (to include those 6 figure plus politicians who can’t put two nickels together for the rest of us), state Medicaid, state employee’s, and both state and federal prisons, local jails, state hospital and other such institutions.
Why can’t we take all of the taxes we taxpayers pay and put them in one pool — the Federal Employee’s Health Care Plan. If you need further funding, take away the Medicare cap for the wealthy and close the tax loophole — everyone pay’s their fair share and stop tax breaks for insurance companies.
If our lawmakers can’t figure this out, then they need to give up their own health insurance because I no longer wish to pay their premiums.
ALYSON KOHL, Olympia
Factor doctor shortage into health care reform
While I appreciate efforts to provide health care insurance coverage, NO ONE is considering the impact this will have on our current supply of health care providers! In many places in our nation, there are few or no doctors available in rural America. Our current supply of doctors and physician assistants are barely meeting the need in many states.
There is a nationally documented shortage of nurses and pharmacists. In this state, hospitals, nursing facilities and doctor’s offices have shortages of nursing staff. Saint Martin’s University closed its nurses training program just a few years back. The community colleges are trying to step up their current programs to bridge that gap, but it is not enough for current demand.
Pharmacists are being recruited by the big chains from South Africa, England, India, and Canada to fill the current gap in America.
Without addressing the staffing needs and anticipating for growth, health care insurance is doomed for failure. It will take a minimum of five years to bridge the health professional gap. For doctors, it could well be a 10-year gap if the resources are there to do the training. The issues that need to be addressed now before any health insurance legislation is passed are:
• Know the number of individuals that will be added to the system
• Know the number of health care providers needed to meet those needs
• Create training venues
• Provide financial incentives for recruitment
• Address needs of underserved areas
TRACY KRAMER, Lacey
Power brokers are driven by greed
I feel compelled to write regarding the recent submission “Prayer Doesn’t Work.”
A prayer to a higher power (whom I choose to call God) is often intended to ask God for guidance, wisdom or comfort.
The current state of our country was certainly not reached by men or women who have truly and selflessly prayed with a sincere desire to do well for the masses.
During recent years, mortgage companies were pushing sub-prime loans, or loans with payments purchasers would be unable to afford. Financial institutions consistently approved credit, knowing full well that their customers were not going to be able to meet their financial obligations in the future. Was the government regulating such behavior in the best interests of the people? Absolutely not!
The guidance those in government were supposedly seeking through prayer was a sham! Instead of dismissing prayer as a useless exercise, why not recognize the deception, greed, corruption and the ineptitude of those in control of our government, financial institutions, and many of those in big business. Were these decisions based on prayer and the guidance of God? I think not. From the mortgage broker to those in government, decisions have been made for the benefit of the few.
Until we accept the source of our problems, we can’t hope to change them.
SUSAN BROCK, Olympia