2017-04-19 / Mailbag

The forces of evil at work

To The Editor:

I applaud Mr. Blaufox for focusing on the need and importance of civil, as opposed to, personality-based dialogue. Society works best when we get along. My two cents: what is being called, misleadingly, “healthcare.” It’s MEDICAL CARE; caring for health costs almost nothing. This is part of the noisy narrative and effort in agreeing on how to pay for medical treatment. The point is that MEDICAL costs in America are four times those in the rest of the world, whose results are better than ours. Four times more translates to a need for a 70 percent reduction in our costs. Has anyone targeted a 70 percent reduction in costs? The entire discussion is how to pay, and practically ignores the problem of the mugging being administered by the medical industry.

Whatever label is pinned to the “medical care” bill, it will be a shell game of how we funnel government [tax] money, when, and to whom. And when industry knows that the government is paying, grab your checkbook.

The problem is monumental; the medical industry is profiting in the trillions, and they have built a formidable system to protect their fortunes. Don’t expect them to volunteer to allow medical costs to come down 70 percent.

Just unraveling the system for exposure will take an army of dedicated, knowledgeable, and persistent people. The system is built to be impenetrable and profitable. The industry will fight like hell. Lobbying, fake news, emotional divide and conquer, threats of your worst fears.

They in the industry are smart and wealthy. They’ve pinned us to the ground with something for which they have a monopoly. I don’t have a solution, but I can offer a couple of suggestions. Start by acknowledging Mr. Blaufox’s thinking on getting along – let’s tune down the squabbling; then agree in principle that the real problem is our way-out-of-line costs. From there, agreeing on how to insure and pay will be several degrees easier.

Next, although it breaks my heart to say it, we need the government to get involved in auditing and exposing the intricacies of the industry, amend whatever laws and regulations insulate the industry’s profits at the expense of the consumer, and to enable things that are necessary for the public to benefit from the advancements of medicine in the 21st century. Then leave the rest to us, the consumers. Who wouldn’t want that? It sounds so bipartisan, it makes me sick. Oh, and we each must get involved and not quit. Remember, the forces of evil never sleep. We each must get next to our elected officials, through the mails, on the phone, at their local appearances. And be persistent in getting a response; never quit. Do something everyday.

Talk to your friends [and enemies]. Let’s keep the dialogue going on the “Letters” pages of our papers. Or the next letter you get in the mail will not be your phone number – it’ll be a medical bill.

Don Kalibat,

Hypocritical emphasis on transparency

To The Editor:

Kudos to Gloria Zola-Mulloy for her excellent article in your April 12 – 18, 2017 edition. I attended that meeting at Hancock House at which Reclaim NY presented. Although it was scheduled to last from 8:30 to 10 a.m., it actually did not end until 11:30 a.m. (only ending then because the venue had to prepare for lunch) due to the relevant and challenging questions from the audience.

Ms. Zola-Mulloy very accurately reported the major issues and inaccuracies with the presentation by George K. Phillips (Regional Director of Reclaim NY) and Brandon Muir (Executive Director of Reclaim NY). Ms. Mulloy noted some of the basic problems with their presentation; members of the audience rightly challenged the misinformation presented as fact. Two things stand out to me. The statistics they presented were based on an extremely unrepresentative sample (as a psychologist, I have a solid background in statistics). Thus, none of the conclusions and generalizations they made were valid. They seem to be unknowledgeable about rural areas.

Another very important issue that Ms. Zola-Mulloy noted was that Phillips and Muir stressed Transparency (capitalized intentionally because of their emphasis on this). They talked about the importance of everyone inundating towns and local schools with FOIA (Freedom of information Act) requests. Why would we do that and overtax our town clerks and other officials when we can simply call and ask for whatever we want? We have direct access in our small towns. As to larger towns/cities, well, Reclaim NY is already FOIA-ing so why are they asking the populace to duplicate this effort?

Perhaps the most important point is their hypocritical emphasis on transparency. When someone asked about their backers, they refused to answer. Transparency? How can they talk about Transparency when they, themselves, are not transparent. There are so many problems with Reclaim NY, not the least of which is that they are persuasive to people unversed in real facts.

Ms Zola-Mulloy pointed out a myriad of other issues about what Reclaim NY said at this meeting and should be commended for her reporting.

Bonnie Ratnoff Seegmiller,

In the end, it’s still a pig

To The Editor:

I thought your article on RECLAIM NY was very evenhanded and informative.

It is very important for people to understand that this phony non-profit was created by far right wing billionaires, Robert and Rebecca Mercer, basically to disrupt public schools and local government with the abusive over use of Freedom of Information Law demands, and to otherwise spread their extremist agenda, including gutting public services by giving steep tax cuts to the wealthy.

The Mercers contributed $500,000 to John Faso’s campaign, and fund Brietbart News, which spreads racism and religious discrimination among other “causes.”

The Mercers and RECLAIM exploit laws enabling secret dark money to fund political enterprises without people knowing where all the money actually comes from.

They only pretend to be a “good government” group. It’s like the old expression about how you can put lipstick on a pig, but, in the end, it’s still a pig.

Thomas E. Schimmerling,

Editor’s note: Mr. Schimmerling is currently chairman of the Delaware County Democratic Committee.

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