Email letters, December 3, 2013

Ripped jeans inappropriate as part of medical attire

This letter is in response to the letter to the editor headlined “Medical assistants should change their greeting protocol.” What about what they are wearing?

I object to a nurse wearing jeans with many rips up and down the legs, even exposing bare skin. Why not wear scrubs?

I recently was in a clinic in Helsinki, Finland, where everyone wore dark blue scrubs — even the doctor and clerks. It looked “medical.”

GRACE GREGOR
Grand Junction

‘How are you?’ is a greeting, not an invite to recite woes

Upon entering a medical facility, you are asked how you are by a friendly nurse or receptionist and you take issue with the greeting. Really?

“How are you” is a salutation, not a question to invite a recitation of your woes.

BRUCE SAUER
Palisade

Pramenko deserves credit and ink for knowledge on health care issues

“Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous.” George Elliot. Therein lies the answer to Richard Rininger’s question,  “Why does the Sentinel keep publishing Pramenko?” 


On the one hand, Dr. Michael Pramenko, M.D. – as a practicing primary care physician, past president of the Colorado Medical Society and former member of both Club 20’s Health Care Policy Committee and the Federal Advisory Board for Section 1322 of the Affordable Care Act – is perhaps the most qualified and knowledgeable local commentator available.


Consequently, Pramenko’s columns are consistently fact-based, and they carefully explain the public policy considerations that underlie that “market-driven” approach (originally conceived, endorsed and successfully implemented by “conservatives”) for extending affordable access to health care to 40+ million Americans.


On the other hand, local critics of the ACA – including Rininger and Gary Montgomery (“Obamacare website problems are just the tip of the iceberg”) – typically offer only unsubstantiated assertions of an “unworkable financial mess this law has created” and/or similarly unsubstantiated (but presumably dire) prognostications of “ultimate effects.”


Among the financial facts which Rininger ignores is that the ACA has already extended the actuarial viability of Medicare – by reducing its future expenditures by $700+ billion (“Obamacare’s Reviled Medicare Cuts Have Turned Out Better Than Expected,” Time), has already contributed to dramatic reductions in annual health care spending and cost increases, and that average premiums for policies offered on ACA exchanges were 17 percent lower than expected, saving another $147 billion in subsidies.

Meanwhile, Montgomery’s “iceberg” floats on references to Cuba, Venezuela and a financially-independent Canadian provincial premier who (on his doctors’ advice) opted for heart surgery in Florida – in 2010. Beginning in 2014 under the ACA, Floridians (many for the first time ever) will also have access to similar quality care.


That’s why the Sentinel publishes Pramenko’s (and contrary) opinions.

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction


Pramenko offers false choices as he advocates for socialism

Dr. Michael Pramenko’s column on Dec. 1, claiming that Obamacare was not socialism as Josh Penry claimed, was filled with almost as many deceptive arguments as were used by the president to get Obamacare passed.

Remember, this law was passed by the Democrats, with not one Republican vote, against the will of the American people. Now, as more details are rolled out about the program, an even larger group of Americans is against it.

To be fair, Pramenko did write a couple of things that were correct. One, there is a need to find a more efficient alternative to using emergency rooms as a safety net for uninsured Americans. Two, this is a complex problem, and the answers are not going to be simple.

It is at this point that Comrade Pramenko begins his many false choices. He claims that Obamacare delivers reasonable answers to the questions currently facing our private health care designed by shareholder-driven, for-profit health insurance companies. Profit is obviously a dirty word to socialists. He claims that a single-payer system would save money and that many countries have found that they don’t need health insurance companies while outperforming the U.S. on cost and quality in health care.

Really, where? How about looking at lifetime HSAs, tort reform, buying insurance across state lines or any other number of free market ideas as alternatives?

According to Comrade Pramenko, the government and only the government will be able to solve health care problems. Of course, this is the same government that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars rolling out a website that doesn’t work, that has us $17 billion in debt and has Social Security and Medicare on track to bankruptcy. Why would anyone think that it wouldn’t?

Then let’s add on the fact that the IRS is going to administer parts of the program. The IRS and Obamacare are going to team up against you? Plus, members of Congress exempt themselves from the program. Why would anyone worry?

More than 5 million private policies have been canceled thus far, and that number is expected to reach 50-100 million policies when the employer mandate kicks in.

Let’s face it: When the government can dictate the kind of health care coverage you must buy and how much you are going to pay for it so that the government can give coverage to others, that is the essence of socialism.

MICHAEL HIGGINS
Grand Junction 

 



COMMENTS

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Michael Higgins’ letter – “Pramenko offers false choices as he advocates for socialism” – “was filled with almost as many deceptive arguments as were used by” Josh Penry in his equally puerile confabulation.  Both demonstrate “Godwin’s Law” (reversion to ad hominem epithets concedes the argument) in action.

Remember, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) was originally conceived, advocated, and successfully test-implemented by “conservatives”, that Senate committees held weeks of hearings in which Republican suggestions were incorporated into the legislation,  but that cynical Republicans voted against their own “bipartisan” ideas – having vowed to deny President Obama a second term.

Contrary to Higgins’ baseless assertion, the ACA was not enacted “against the will of the American people”.  Candidate Obama campaigned on a promise of health care reform – and was elected.  Two years after the ACA was passed, President Obama was re-elected.

Moreover, a recent CNN poll found that a majority (54%) of Americans are optimistic about the eventual success of the ACA and overwhelmingly reject the GOP’s critiques.

Higgins willfully ignores the fact that profit-driven medicine was the principal cause of annual double-digit increases in health care costs and insurance premiums – to which profit-driven insurers responded by arbitrarily denying coverage when it was needed.

The ACA attempts to harness market-driven competitive forces by incentivizing insurers to squeeze profit-driven providers’ rampant overcharging out of the system – and by all accounts, it’s working.  The rate of annual health care spending and cost increases is now the lowest since 1950. 

So, “let’s face it:”  Higgins (like our “Tea Party” Congressman Scott Tipton) reveals himself to be just another “useful idiot” by espousing elements of House Republicans’ purported “alternative” to the ACA – which languishes in committees because it is so fraudulent that its advocates are reluctant to have it “scored” by the CBO, lest their disingenuousness be publicly exposed.

It seems to me that this is not in the best interest of AMERICA. AMERICA was founded upon one guiding principle that of “FREEDOM FROM AN OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT”. A government “DICTATING” anything in any form is NOT FREEDOM. When it comes down to the “nut cutting” I do NOT want my “government” deciding one damned thing for me. I am an AMERICAN. America, in and of its self is the draw for immigrants world wide. There was NO guarantees of success by simply arriving upon her soil. Just exactly WHY does a government want “power over its people?” Power to decide who lives and dies? Power to decide who is armed and who is not? Power to decide who succeeds and who does NOT? Power to decide wealth? Power to decide who has membership in the “elitist” group? What exactly is the purpose of obamacare? Does it provide for all? Does it impose its tenets equally? Who got exemptions and why? Why does the government lie? Why does the government not answer to the people? Our AMERICA needs help. I personally, do not give a tinkers damn if you are democrat, republican or any other party. AMERICA is at stake and I resent those who harm her. The way of democrat or republican or any other is NOT the ONLY way. Educated and allegedly intelligent. Elected by your PEOPLE. It is time to get off of your collective asses and WORK for AMERICA and not for your damned parties. AMERICA stands for AMERICA and not democrat or republicans. It stands for all. AMERICA IS NOT here to serve your political BS. Lord help us.

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