Editorial went after wrong elections

Your Aug. 22 editorial, “Cities are paying for voters’ May selections,” was correct. Elections have consequences and Glendale schools, city government and mental health agencies have been hit hard by the state’s fiscal crisis.

However, you criticized the wrong elections.

Our fiscal problems are the result of decisions the voters have made over the last six years, choosing our legislators. It is the continued excessive spending that has come home to roost and it is hurting schools, city government and mental health agencies.

Our fiscal crisis is not new. In October 2003, we recalled Gov. Gray Davis, blaming him for our fiscal problems. The state is in worse fiscal condition today.

The recall did not solve our fiscal problems because our state budget is controlled by the state Legislature, not the governor.

We changed the wrong leader six years ago. School districts, city governments and mental health agencies are suffering because the voters have continued to reelect the same state senators and assembly members who got us into this fiscal crisis. For the last six years, this group of legislators did not deal with the state’s fiscal problems because they didn’t have too.

State Senate and Assembly district lines do not take communities into consideration. They are drawn to take advantage of political party registrations. With gerrymandered districts, strong partisans in both parties will always win their own primary. The same gerrymandering blocks any realistic opportunity for a contested general election. Once in office, strong partisans always put their party solution first and are seldom interested in any bipartisan solution to problems. During these six years of fiddling around, California has been burning.

What can we do about it? If you’re not registered to vote, register. Vote in the next state elections. Do your homework and vote for people with moderate records who want to solve problems.

If we can replace enough incumbents, the entire state legislature will work to solve problems. Yes, we the people can assert control and solve the problem, but only if we vote.



We need to look before we leap

From the election results of last November most of us did vote for change. The one thing we didn’t ask ourselves is what kind of change.

On recent letters by Sharon Weisman (“Single-payer is the way to go,” July 27) and Michael Teahan (“Health-care options are too few in America,” July 31), I also concur that a single payer system for all hospitals, doctors, and other health-care providers would bill one entity for their services.

This alone reduces administrative waste greatly, and saves money, which then can be funneled to provide care and insurance to those 15 million to 47 million of our citizens who currently don’t have it. All Americans would receive comprehensive medical benefits under the single-payer system. Coverage would include all medically necessary services, including rehabilitation, long-term care and home care; mental health, prescription drugs, medical supplies, and preventive and public health measures.

This care would be based on the priority of need, not on ability to pay. This program would be federally financed and administered by a single public insurer at the state or regional level. Premiums, co-payments and deductibles would be eliminated. Employers would pay a 7% payroll tax, and employees would pay 2%. This essentially would be converting premium payments to a health-care payroll tax. Financing on this would include a $2 per pack cigarette and or liquor tax.

Another option would be for an individual mandate that all of us are required to purchase their own health insurance. This package may include some kind of subsidies, tax credits or other means of helping the poor to pay for premiums.

The state of Massachusetts has this individual mandate in place. This is somewhat comparable to what we now have in place for automobile insurance. Perhaps a combination of the two.

Bottom line is that we need to look at the substance here, not to dismantle a good system in place. We also need to look, study and read before we leap. The substance of the reform, wasn’t it to get the estimated 15 million to 47 million who weren’t insured back into some coverage?

Not to mention the many kids who are equally suffering without any type of insurance and who rely on nonprofit organizations, such as Glendale Healthy Kids for basic minimal health needs, which are doing an outstanding job in providing this coverage.

Again let’s look before we jump.



Editor’s Note: Cornell is a member of the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee.

Care is being run purely for profit

It was refreshing to read a letter on health-care reform by a person who has the facts and can present them in an articulate way.

I commend Patrick Grant for his excellent letter in the Aug. 25 edition of the Glendale News-Press (“Dig deeper for health-care reform,” Aug. 25). I particularly appreciated his reminding us that access to healthcare “is recognized as a human right and a moral imperative in most Western countries.” Why not in the U.S.?

I hope Grant will forgive me for asking, when did we lose the conviction that providing health care is a charitable calling? When did we lose, for example, the idea that hospitals should be provided by churches and other nonprofit organizations to serve the community?

In the United States today, every aspect of health care seems to be exploited as a treasure trove for corporate profit.

Hospitals, health insurance, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, malpractice lawsuits — all of it is treated as a commercial venture requiring advertising and driven by bottom-line calculations. The doctors and nurses who serve us are victims, too.

Was it really that way when I was young and naive 50 years ago? I don’t think so! We have let things slip badly. We really need to do a lot of fixing of our health-care system — now!



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