Letters to the Editor — November 20, 2009

Ryan goes deep into health care debate

President Theodore Roosevelt at the turn of the 20th century argued for universal health care. Subsequent efforts by Presidents Truman, Nixon and Clinton to reform health care were rebuffed. That is a hundred year record of rejecting comprehensive health care reform.

An insurance company’s denial of coverage to an otherwise healthy baby because he was too big and a company’s withdrawal of health coverage to a man with multiple sclerosis, even though both decisions were ultimately reversed, are not isolated incidents and cannot be cavalierly dismissed as mere mistakes. The record compiled during the current debate is replete with similar incidents. What was significant about the timing of these decisions was the apparent tone deafness of the industry to reform proposals pending in Congress – proposals that would prohibit such decisions.

It is true that a major impetus for reform was the lack of coverage for approximately 40 million citizens. And it is also correct that none of the proposals pending in Congress will cover everyone. But extending coverage to about 30 million currently uninsured citizens would be a major step forward. And ensuring that coverage cannot be denied because of pre-existing conditions, for example, is vital if we are to encourage preventive care so that people do not die prematurely because they cannot afford to see a doctor.

The fact that many use emergency rooms as primary care providers does not refute the American Medical Association’s estimate that 45,000 people die each year because they cannot afford medical care. That is because many who eventually go to emergency rooms wait too long to seek care, are sicker than they would be if they had had access to preventive care earlier, and die prematurely. The high cost of the care they eventually get in emergency rooms increases insurance premiums to us all.

The President has not said that treatment should be denied for the elderly. He has, however, argued that the pay for service system we have no results arguable in too many tests, etc. rather than having a system that reward quality of care. Doctors themselves have argued that more attention needs to be paid to discussing options with patients to determine what is best for them rather than just automatically prescribing tests for which doctors are rewarded under the current system.

Health care costs are indeed rising 10 to 20% each year, the costs of which are recovered through insurance premiums. The insurance industry does not admittedly deliver care – it monitors cost recovery with an eye to the bottom line rather than care, which should be the focus of all sectors of the health care industry – medical and insurance officials alike.

The public option would introduce competition into the insurance industry from which it is currently protected by a variety of protectionist regulations and legislation. It would be great if insurers could cross state lines to compete for approximately 30 million new clients that health reform would bring to the market. But eliminating state barriers seems unlikely at this point and are in fact preserved under one or more of the pending proposals.

We all have to accept the reality that reform is complicated and what emerges from Congress will not be perfect. But it is time for a significant step forward to be taken.

Mary K. (Kay) Ryan
Ocean View

State senator thanks Markell for reaction

On behalf of those I serve, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our governor, Jack Markell for his prompt action in declaring a State of Emergency, which placed our National Guard on readiness. In times past, their service was deemed invaluable, as they provided the equipment for evacuation, traffic control and security, enabling our emergency personnel and law enforcement the ability to proceed in fulfilling their essential work.

I realize that the beach replenishment dunes saved many millions of dollars in property destruction, which includes breaks in sewer and water lines that would have caused a risk to public health.

The American spirit prevailed as we thanked God and rolled up our sleeves to clean up and help our neighbors to do the same.

George H. Bunting Jr.
State Senator, 20th District

Keeley asks tough questions of town

The Nov. 6 Coastal Point contained an article and a letter concerning Ocean View’s budget and annexation, and I would like to ask a number of questions concerning both. These are as follows:

(1) I would like to know, how much has been spent to date for the desecration of the Public Safety Building now that an additional $20,000 is needed to relocate the remaining staff from the Town Hall?

(2) Has anyone had the temerity to actually come up with an estimate for what the cost of the town manager’s growing wish list is for his new office location?

(3) Did I hear something about the need for an elevator! Isn’t that crazy, after they fought so hard to be on the second floor?

(3) What would it cost to relocate the Police Department to the vacant Town Hall? Those that made the initial estimates to move the Town Hall staff to the Public Safety Building could, I am sure, develop a compelling scenario, as well as a reasonable price tag for such a move.

(4) Does anyone in the Ocean View Town Hall actually believe that if the 100 percent rule for annexation is reduced they will be deluged with requests for admittance to Ocean View? Have they conveniently forgotten that the Office of State Planning and Coordination, as well as Rep. [Gerald] Hocker has already suggested that they not proceed with such a change? And are they unaware that a similar 100 percent approval of the residents in each development that they lust after is required by their charters? Oh, and do the really think that those of us not incorporated want to be annexed, with the Ocean View budget deficit and what appears to be a flawlessly run town?

(5) Dr. Gregory has said that annexation will eliminate the services that are rendered to non-incorporated communities by Ocean View. He has said that these communities do not pay a thin dime for those services. I would like to see a list of these services. Would Dr. Gregory detail them the next time he refers to them? And,

(6) Perry Mitchell has written many letters to the Coastal Point. Some even make valid points; however, I would like to know if Mr. Mitchell has ever heard of the term “team player”?

Thomas M. Keeley III
Ocean View

Balloon landing was safe, professional

The often-misunderstood principle of steering a hot-air balloon is easily explained. The direction of the wind varies at different altitudes. The balloon pilot will explore the direction during fight many times. Passengers are thinking the pilot is giving them a variety of perspectives from the air, but, in reality, is actually steering the balloon.

Steering is important, especially when considering a place to land, paying close attention to the surroundings such as water, crops, livestock, and, yes, power lines. No one can anticipate the planned course in a balloon flight, but rather can only predict the direction from the resources available.

The recent photograph, and caption, of the balloon on the cover of the Nov. 13 issue of the Coastal Point, puts a very negative image on the wonderful, and safe, thrill of ballooning. The training, and aeronautical decision-making, that the pilot must make, enables them to make safe landings, such as the one on that particular flight.

A more positive photo would have been of the passengers toasting to the balloonist prayer, while enjoying their continental breakfast, complete with white table cloth and amenities.

Louis Vickers, Commercial Pilot
Vickers Ballooning

Agencies dropping ball on water plans

The Town of Frankford spent $1.915 million building the new water plant. In the spring of 2004, the completed water plant was started and the filter backwash immediately overwhelmed the sewer system and flooded the water plant.

We are now spending $1.35 million to fix the plant and make it operational. The solution is to use the ground-level storage tank as a backwash recycle basin. This component of the system cost $104,000, and we are losing the extra treated water storage capacity.

Recent comments by our Town Council, such as [that] there has always been a filter backwash recycle basin at the new plant and not understanding the total cost of this solution, leads me to believe they do not understand fully what has or is happening with the plant.

At the Aug. 25 meeting with the State officials to discuss the water plant, we were informed that all the pumps and filters were being replaced.

At the October town meeting, we were told that they are replacing one pump and adding two green sand filters. They stated that they were just making adjustments to the system.

This does not reflect the cost of this solution.

This $1.35 million of grant money that is being used to solve our water plant’s design problems is coming with increased oversight by the Division of Public Health and the Office of Drinking Water.

The original oversight by these same agencies failed to notice that they were approving $1.64 million for a system that didn’t work, wasn’t legal and created impact and usage fees that we could not afford.

Our town is not discussing the cost of operating this new design, which is to employ a pump-and-haul technique of dealing with the decant. Tidewater has informed our government that this process was very expensive.

I believe our Town Council and the people of our community deserve more insight to the problems and the solutions that are encumbering our water system.

Greg Welch

QRCF grateful for support with effort

We want to thank Michael Shockley from the United Way, the Cottage Café guys, Brent and Tom, and our generous community members for your support in our “Come Heckle the Presidents” event at the Cottage Café last week.

Although we were more heckled by the first night of the nor’easter, you came out in the driving rain and pounding wind anyway to donate over 100 coats to the “One Warm Coat” organization and over $500 to QRCF.

The coats are now being distributed throughout our region by The United Way, and QRCF continues its mission benefiting organizations, programs and students in the communities served by the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce. To learn more about QRCF and our all-volunteer organization and ways to help, please visit www.qrcf.org.

Diane Comolli, Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation
Steve Morgan, Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce