Letters to the editor
Make clean break for single-payer system
Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC’s latest premium squander features a middle-aged guy stressing on whether he should chalk up his chest pain to banana peppers - and just go back to sleep - or take a middle-of-the-night trip to the emergency room.
The message is that if only he had a “bargain” Blue Value insurance card in his wallet it would all work out.
To save on production costs, the sequel could utilize the same scene with a different narrative: On the evening his dreaded EOB arrived, he took a sudden turn for the worse. Due to the extraordinary provider restrictions imposed by this limited coverage - coupled with high deductibles/co-insurance - he has suffered a coronary setback triggered by the sleep-jarring revelation that now he must hand over his kid’s college fund and post-recession savings to a gaggle of bill collectors.
You see his wife had rushed him to the wrong - albeit closest - hospital.
Yes, he (if still conscious) or his wife (if not pre-occupied driving) could have performed a last-second verification on their iPhone -discovering that the nearest in-network provider was 25 miles away. But would they have made it? And even if they had, insurers have been known to terminate provider contracts without updating their websites - exposing subscribers to full charges.
Why do we continue to subject ourselves to this nonsense? Let’s make a clean break to single-payer and get on with living (what’s left of) our lives.
Time for action on homelessness
Thank you for publishing the editorial “Rhetoric won’t solve homeless dilemma” on Feb. 25. I believe it is an absolute truth that passionate words without deliberate action mean nothing. We cannot rest on our words and agitation alone to solve the ills of homelessness. Our veterans, mentally ill and domestic violence victims deserve better and we must not forget the children who are impacted, as well.
According to the Administration for Children and Families, 1.6 million children in our nation are homeless. In Durham, 118 children were found homeless on Jan. 30 based on the annual Point-In-Time Count and these are just the children who were counted. This is an outrage! Children have enough obstacles to overcome without the added experience of homelessness.
We must stop wasting time blaming politicians and start demanding solutions. As individuals, we have the collective power to demand policies that reduce the impact of homelessness in our communities, such as more affordable-housing options, investments in rapid re-housing programs and ensuring homeless children receive access to the education they need.
The sun has set on empty rhetoric and the action is ours for the taking.
President misplaces blame for sequester
In today's Opinion page, Richard Eckberg wrote "here we are on the brink of a self-inflicted recession, courtesy of the Republicans' sequester plan, and will cost us countless jobs...." Mr. Eckberg, it would be helpful for your first getting your facts.
The fact is the president and his White House in 2011, during debt ceiling talks, presented the sequester plan. Congress reluctantly went along and the president signed the bill into law. Now, he's again blaming someone else for his inadequacy. The blame lies with the president, Democrats and Republicans.
Friday, the president said Americans must learn to use less oil. What a hypocrite! Shortly after his second inauguration, he flew to Las Vegas to make a 25 minute speech. According to the Weekly Standard, that one trip cost Americans $1.6 million dollars. Why could he not have made that speech from Washington? Is he such a narcissist that he is unable to read his teleprompter without adoring fans and followers standing around him?
The Las Vegas trip is just one example of many needless presidential trips. I understand Air Force One is a perk for the president, and I agree he deserves that amount of safety for his travels. But he does not need to cost the tax payers for unnecessary trips. Could it be he does not know how to do his job, so he makes all these unnecessary trips to make us think he's working hard for us?