Letters to the Editor, June 23

Jul. 22, 2014 @ 04:31 PM

Our collective complicity

To understand the influx of children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras it helps to understand U.S. military, trade and drug policies.  News stories say the children are fleeing violence.  What made those countries violent?  The answers are complex, but we could start with the 1954 CIA-engineered coup of a democratically elected government in Guatemala. The dictatorship that followed received continued U.S. military funding even after it turned genocidal force against the rural Mayan population in the 1980s.

Through the Cold War and beyond the U.S. pursued its interests in Central America with military aid for corrupt authoritarian governments, including that of post-coup Honduras.  Since 2008, the U.S. has added $800 million more in security aid to governments infiltrated by the drug cartels. 

At the same time, free trade agreements foisted upon these countries have devastated small producers while lifting the elites into millionaire status.

Durham has already received many refugees (AKA undocumented immigrants) fleeing the conditions in Central America and we will probably see more.  Wars and a militarized foreign policy inevitably lead to humanitarian crises.  This time it’s at our doorstep. 

Given our collective complicity we should not only welcome these neighbors with compassion, we should call on our representatives to change the policies that caused them to flee.

Betsy Crites

UNC healthcare not cost effective

Tuesday, I call UNC Family Practice to set up a time for a physician to address a tick removal. The insect is unusually small and embedded in part of my anatomy (the groin) that makes it very difficult to address without requiring assistance.
Rather than being able to set up a time for this simple (inexpensive) procedure, I am told that since I have not seen one of their physicians in three years, I will have to go to "urgent care" (emergency).  
In cases such as this, rather than intentionally steering someone to the emergency room (which everyone knows shoots costs through the roof!), it would be less costly for both the patient and Blue Cross (the latter providing my insurance) for UNC Family Practice to allow the patient access to their specific need without also tying the patient up in red tape related to whether or not they are currently assigned a primary healthcare physician!
But even after requiring that everyone to buy insurance, hospitals insist that you see one of their physicians once a year. Otherwise, they point you to the emergency room. Cost effective? Hardly.
UNC Hospitals does not provide access to good affordable healthcare. It's a racket of bureaucratic healthcare bloodsuckers!

John Rhodes