Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for Nov. 9

Let’s be clearer about health care

In his opinion piece from the New York Times Oct. 15 (“This is the Most Realistic Path to Medicare for All”), J.B. Silvers explains that we got Medicare in 1965 because the private insurance system was unable to cover the elderly. The cost of their care was too great. Since then, Medicare has been very effective and efficient. Everybody loves Medicare (and their supplement).

Unfortunately, many Americans are uninsured, or have lousy coverage. Private insurance is lost when an illness, accident, or job change occurs.

Despite the current distractions, We the People must keep working to solve our problems with health care. I rely on the Democratic Party to lead us.

The Democratic presidential candidates look bad when they “debate” their “plans.” They present a confusing picture of conflict. Agreement on goals is obscured by disagreement on details.

First, “Medicare for All” is a public option.

Second, “Medicare for All Who Want It” will become “Medicare for All” in time. Make it available to certain age groups. If Medicare can negotiate drug costs, fees, and equipment sales, individuals will switch to it, nudged by market forces.

Third, the private insurance companies will have plenty to do selling and servicing Medicare supplements, managing Medicare payment, and screening for fraud and abuse.

Fourth, the Democrats must be clearer and more flexible when they discuss their proposals. A candidate who presents herself as flexible will be more acceptable than one who is dogmatic.

Frank Turner, MD, Olympia

Go solar and reduce carbon emissions

Have you wanted to have solar power, but are a renter, do not have a south-facing roof, or have trees blocking the sun? One solution is to join a community solar project.

For example, the non-profit Olympia Community Solar (olysol.org) will soon begin enrolling participants in a community solar project on the roof of the Hands On Children’s Museum. It’s a win-win-win. Participants get an annual check for the value of the energy their portion of the project produces, an opportunity for a federal income tax credit, and a reduction in their carbon footprint.

How much of a footprint? In a recent survey, the Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT) reports that electricity use is the largest source (46%) of Thurston County’s greenhouse gas emissions. For most of us, 59% of that electricity is currently generated by fossil fuel. Fortunately, solar power cost is plummeting, and is now competitive with fossil fuel. Imagine the world with a much reduced threat of climate change — if we embrace the opportunity to rapidly transition to renewable energy.

Solar power is just one of many solutions being incorporated into the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan. This plan is spearheaded by the Thurston Regional Planning Council in coordination with the cities of Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey, plus a citizens advisory group and various stakeholders. Watch for this plan to be issued within the next year. Better yet, be a part of it. Join advocacy groups such as TCAT, speak at city council meetings, lobby your representatives. Vote.

Wayne Olsen, Lacey
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