Government giveth, taketh away
During a visit to Victoria, B.C., on Oct. 15 and 16, I read the local Times Colonist newspaper.
On the main pages and the comment/editorial page – and in later issues, also – there was much concern for the budget shortfall and reports about recent cuts in the government-run Vancouver Island Health Authority programs.
There was a 25 percent cut in dementia care, denial of 3,000 MRIs and reductions in elective surgeries. Patients will wait longer and only be operated on if something becomes available. Some 760 “non-emergency” surgeries were canceled, 500 stomach endoscopies cut, with further cuts in other community care and preventive medicine.
All this for a relatively small population and in the near term. The annual reductions will be greater.
My wife and I are on Medicare with the Advantage Supplemental plans, and as members of AARP we believe that organization is dead wrong in their support of health care reform. How will our Congress handle a $400 billion shortfall?
We see only service and procedure cuts, reduced reimbursements to our doctors who already limit Medicare clients, longer waits for procedures, delays for appointments, etc. We are concerned and are very, very afraid of Obamacare.
WAYNE BECKWITH, Lacey
Be concerned for state employees
We expect the state’s Health Care Authority to protect the right of state workers to accessible, affordable, and quality mental health services. The recent attempt by HCA to contract with a new third party administrator to manage the Uniform Medical Plan was less than transparent. Now in 2010, after the courts had thrown out HCA’s previous attempt, HCA is about to do it all over again and we are concerned about erosion of mental health care under a new contract.
We are concerned about the impact if HCA contracts for a new provider network which is diminished in size and quality. We are aware that many experienced therapists do not contract with Aetna’s provider network because of its low reimbursement rates and difficult business practices. The change initially planned for 2010 would have created an inevitable increase in cost for individuals and families who seek help. A previous therapist may be “out of network” and patients would pay higher costs their insurance doesn’t cover.
To protect the rights of state workers HCA needs to be much more careful this time when choosing the new administrator of the uniform plan.
We urge state workers to contact their union, the HCA, and their legislators to let them know of their concerns. Let them know you want HCA to ensure transparency in the upcoming contract negotiations as well as your expectations they continue to provide high quality health care by ensuring in any new uniform plan allow mental health providers to remain accessible and affordable.
Steve Macuk, President, DESCHUTES PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
Richard Kennedy, Treasurer, DESCHUTES PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
Earth is our source of life
James Winterstein’s letter, “‘Science’ cannot be trusted” claims the science of global warming is essentially a fraud.
If the mere rate of global glacial decline isn’t sufficient to warn that Earth is changing, I don’t know what is. Not only climatologists and university researchers note change, as a guide, I’ve listened to national and international clients, and have spent hours listening to photographers, filmmakers, mountaineers, and artists who express unbiased accounts of change.
The consensus is one of great concern. It should be. Earth is our home. We depend on its health for survival.
Yes, sun and Earth cycle. Yes, humans are not solely responsible for climate change. If we can help so that future generations don’t run out of water, or lose agricultural land in any way, shouldn’t we?
It’s a hyped culture which, yes, some environmentalists and media are guilty of. However, this is serious. I doubt climatologists would gamble their reputation and career on agendas to eliminate SUVs. Oil is finite.
Climatologists monitor Earth’s systems and report anything awry. As a biologist I can say, it’s not about the money or denying wants. It’s love for Earth and life itself.
Climate change is extremely serious because it affects everyone. Think of Earth as overlapping systems that contribute to every sentient living being’s health. Forests provide oxygen and filter air like lungs. Water is essential to life. What happens when water and thermostat are threatened? These are not to be taken lightly.
BEN KINKADE, Shelton
9th Circuit is out of touch
Once again the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has renewed its reputation as the most radical court in the land. It has come up with a ridiculous decision – requiring Washington state to let prisoners vote. If this decision stands, the very people who broke our laws will now get to elect our lawmakers or perhaps make the laws themselves through the initiative process.
Let’s all get behind Secretary of State Sam Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna in their attempts to appeal and overturn this nonsense.
The 9th Circuit Court seems to enjoy its reputation as the most out-of-touch federal court in the country. This decision is therefore not surprising. I have just two questions concerning these judges: Where in the world do they find these people? And why in the world do they make them judges?
FRANK HENSLEY, Tumwater