Let’s move forward instead of backward on health care

Letter To The Editor • Feb 15, 2017 at 12:47 PM

Let’s move forward instead of backward on health care

The Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress are poised to repeal the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare. As a primary care physician who has practiced for 40 years in Lee County, Va., I have seen a number of my patients die because they could not get the health care that was needed.

I have been fortunate to be employed by a Community Health Center, which does receive federal funding to provide care for uninsured or underinsured patients, but many patients need much more care than what a Community Health Center is able to provide such as access to specialists and the high-tech testing and treatment that is often needed for complicated medical problems.

Although Obamacare did fall far short in many things, it is important to remember the significant gains that it brought — the elimination of exclusions for pre-existing conditions, the allowance for parents to keep their adult children insured until age 26, the removal of financial barriers for preventive care, the elimination of insurance caps for individuals with catastrophic medical illnesses, the elimination of “gender rating” where women buying insurance on the individual market were often charged more than men, and the provision of health care insurance to 20 million Americans who did not have it before.

Over 400,000 people in Kentucky were able to get insurance coverage through expansion of Medicaid under the ACA, and a number of my patients from Harlan County were, for the first time, able to have insurance coverage and get some of the care they badly needed.

We all need to not just simply resist all attempts to roll back what gains have been made, but we need to dedicate ourselves to the continuing work in establishing a health care system that provides universal access to health care for all our citizens. A single-payer system — “Medicare for all” — could do just that.

Art Van Zee, M.D., St. Charles, Va.

Vote no on Pruitt

Clean air and clean water are not partisan issues. The Environmental Protection Agency was founded in 1970 by a Republican president. In 1965, before the Clean Water Act passed, there were only three species of fish evident in the South Holston River. Twenty-five years after the Clean Water Act passed, there were 28.

Scott Pruitt, the proposed head of the EPA, has proved he is a friend of the fossil fuel industry and a foe of the environment. As attorney general of Oklahoma, he sued over the EPA’s limits on emissions standards, including toxic mercury and arsenic from power plants. Mercury is a known neurotoxin that concentrates in developing brains.

Please call Senators Corker 753-2263 and Alexander 325-6240 today and urge them to vote no on Scott Pruitt’s confirmation and vote yes to keep funding for our EPA. A clean and safe environment benefits us all.

Martha Rubenstein, Kingsport

Three voted for garbage fee

I see that Mayor John Clark, Darrell Duncan and Tom Parham are up for re-election to the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen in the May 16 city election. Last year these three BMA members, along with another BMA member who has since resigned, voted to impose an $8 a month garbage pickup fee on Kingsport residents, which in my opinion is nothing but a tax.

I hope when Kingsport residents vote this May that they remember these three people are responsible for this fee. The garbage pickup fee doesn’t include brush and trash pickup, which could lead to another fee sometime in the future.

Robert Darter, Kingsport

President not qualified

Our society is built around regulations, rules, standards, requirements and classifications. If one was to go to a big corporation or chemical company or even a university or local school system and apply for a high-paying position, the first thing they would be asked is about their qualifications.

So why is it that someone who has had no experience in civic affairs, no political training, and will not reveal his tax returns can run for the highest office of the greatest nation of the whole world and win?

There’s something wrong with this picture. What this man knows about politics would fit in a thimble.

Danny Huff Sr., Kingsport

Supports Kingsport museum

We applaud the editorial reminding us of the historical contributions that so many individuals, companies and organizations have made to Kingsport, resulting in the cherished, thriving community that we have today. A museum highlighting and celebrating that history will preserve the legacy of so many that have gone before and serve to encourage all to continue that legacy through their own efforts.

From Church Circle to Long Island, from Eastman to our downtown and organizations like the Downtown Kingsport Association, the “Model City” has built a history worthy of this museum.

We at the Kingsport Model Train Club encourage any individual or entity much more established than us to lead the way as we look for ways to do our part. We are in the conceptual phase of a multi-year project that we believe would mesh well with this endeavor — an “O” scale layout of the Santa Train.

Doug Paton, Kingsport

Great program

I recently attended the event “How to Disagree in Love” that was offered at First Broad Street Methodist Church.

My thanks to all who had a part in it to make it such a success, because conversations really matter.

Christa E. Blue, Kingsport