Letters to the Editor, June 14

Jun. 13, 2014 @ 05:31 PM

Rural hospitals critical

At Moral Monday on June 2, the topic was twofold, but closely connected:  healthcare and the environment.  Most meaningful to me were the speeches addressing our legislature's refusal to accept federal tax dollars to expand Medicaid, an unfathomably foolish and callous decision.  Doing so would cost the state nothing for three years, and little after that.  It would provide healthcare for 500,000 North Carolinians who lack coverage now, create thousands of jobs and save our rural hospitals, many of which are “on life support.” 

About 10 years ago, I worked on a UNC study of small rural “critical access hospitals” in North Carolina.  Our team visited several of them, and we were impressed with how much they were able to do with so little.  They had no vast, multi-story marble caverns, such as one sees in the newer areas of Duke and UNC hospitals; their facilities were modest but sanitary, efficient and effective at saving lives.  Many patients went home from these hospitals; others were transferred, sometimes by helicopter, to larger, more specialized hospitals, but in many cases they would not have survived had they not been quickly stabilized at their small local hospital.  Access to them truly is critical, yet given the priorities of our General Assembly, many are at risk of closing.  Is making a political point worth the sacrifice of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives?

Joan F. Walsh

Durham

Heading toward socialism

Mark Twain and before him Benjamin Disraeli said:  "There are three kinds of lies:   lies, damned lies and statistics." 

To quote statistics from part of an article that supports ones' views and not include other that belie ones' views gives great support to the musings of Twain and Disraeli.  The same Harvard/CUNY article quoted by Janice Holmes in her published letter on June 11 also states that the expected increase in numbers of those uninsured in North Carolina after the Affordable Care Act is actually predicted to be over 300,000 fewer uninsured than prior to the ACA, even in North Carolina, which opted out of the Medicaid expansion and was one of 25 states to do so.

But, hey!   Maybe there is "pie in the sky" and "gold at the end of the rainbow" and it is fine to have a government that promises everything to everybody and something for nothing.   If big government is your thing, then go for it!  But if big government is shown to perform poorly, then perhaps it is time to face reality and reform that which performs poorly.   Our unemployment rate, when you consider those who are no longer even looking for work, is still atrocious.  But in comparison to many European countries, who have socialized systems of government, perhaps we are not so bad off, though it looks like we are heading in that direction rapidly.

Philip Pearce

Durham