November 25, 2013 at 7:37 PM
The money comes from profit and retained earnings
Apparently columnist Paul Krugman doesn’t understand where the money comes from to support Social Security [“Expanding Social Security for a better retirement,” Opinion, Nov. 24].
Profit and retained earnings of America’s enterprises are the source of capital investments for property and machinery, the hiring of new employees, the payment of dividends, and interest to stockholders and bond holders, and the payment of taxes.
May 6, 2013 at 6:32 AM
Disabilities are not always obvious
Many disabilities are not visible and the disabled do not have to be wheelchair bound to prevent them from working [“Free America’s ‘work beasts’ from disability scammers,” Opinion, April 26.
It’s peevish to chastise the disabled Froma Harrop surmises are able to work, refuse minimal-wage jobs and prefer to “scam” the government with their doctor’s assistance.
The disability application process alone is daunting and most disability recipients require an attorney’s expertise in order to even have their cases considered by Social Security. And her reference to the intellectually disabled busboy, employed by her nearby diner, who was even loved by everyone, is akin to the prejudicial saying: “I even live next door to a black person.”
Geri Daily, Bellingham
May 2, 2013 at 7:31 AM
Depression is misunderstood
Froma Harrop does not understand the challenge of dealing with severe depression [“Free America’s ‘work beasts’ from disability scammers,” Opinion, April 26]. The mental incapacity of depression is real and sometimes leads to suicide. True depression is not merely a “low mood”; it comes with an inability to bounce back to normalcy.
Harrop ridicules a young woman’s effort to recover from this serious illness. The woman shamelessly went to the beach and a party. She maybe even smiled once or twice! Didn’t she know she should cower in a dark room, under a blanket, and never, never be caught smiling? In fact, fresh air, sunshine and social contact with others is an essential part of recovery.
Let us sincerely hope that the next wall of prejudice to crumble and fall will be the one surrounding mental illness.
David Warner, Seattle
Stop blaming the ill for the nation’s economic problems
Froma Harrop begrudges the disabled a cup of coffee [“Free America’s ‘work beasts’ from disability scammers,” Opinion, April 26]. She writes with disgust that she sees people on Social Security disability benefits “at the coffee shop, refilling their cups in leisure …” How dare they!
I am a Social Security disability attorney. My clients frequently ask me if they will be judged on the way they look. Because epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and a vast array of other chronic illnesses are invisible, my client’s worry that they will be judged on their looks, not their medical records. I explain that the judge will base the decision on the medical records. Harrop has a better system, the “she will know it when she sees it” system.
The ability to drink coffee does not translate into to the ability to work. While someone with epilepsy may be able to go to a coffee shop on a good day, they cannot go on the days they are having seizures.
Unfortunately, there are very few employers who allow their employees to take as many sick days as they like and come in on their good days.
Ms. Harrop also perpetuates another myth that people who receive Social Security disability benefits are living lives of luxury and ease. Social Security disability provides an important safety net that prevents homelessness and starvation, but provides very little beyond the essentials.
It is time to stop blaming the chronically ill for our economic problems. Let them drink coffee!
Anna Kysar, Social Security disability attorney, Shcroeter Goldmark & Bender, Seattle
March 22, 2013 at 3:47 PM
Foster parenting has specific challenges
I would like to respond to a letter to the editor titled “Foster children should not receive exceptions,” [Northwest Voices, March 18] that was written in response to an op-ed headlined “Allow kids in foster care to age 21” [Opinion, March 15].
I would like to point out that being a foster parent is incredibly difficult, even without financial support. Foster families are not just “any family.” Foster parenting is filled with challenges and opportunities. It can be challenging to parent children with difficult histories. Being a foster parent is an opportunity to take care of children who benefit greatly from love and support. Foster parents change lives one child at a time. They believe in investing in the future of disadvantaged kids living in Washington state.
I hope this helps clarify questions or confusion surrounding this important social-injustice issue.
–Ed Boyle, Seattle
Extending foster care is a moral obligation
As a foster parent to two boys, ages 9 and 14, I wholeheartedly endorse the ongoing effort to extend foster care to age 21 for youth who need it most.
Foster children are under the legal custody of the state. My role as a foster parent is to provide shelter, care and support to those placed into my home, while the state seeks a permanent placement. I do not do this for the money; in fact I spend thousands out of pocket every year to support the needs of the foster children under my care. I do it gladly because these children deserve a safe and stable home.
However, when the state’s obligation to these youth ends at age 18, I lose more than just the payments — foster youth lose the support services that help address any special needs they may have. Most foster families simply can’t afford to keep these kids, as much as they would like to help.
Giving foster youth a chance to succeed by extending foster care to 21 is not just a sound investment, it is also our moral obligation to them.
–Yossi Banai, foster parent and a Mockingbird Society board member, Redmond
March 1, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Solutions for ‘unsustainable’ programs?
The Seattle Times editorial said that we must consider cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security because the aging of the population has made these programs unsustainable [“Avoid sequester gimmick,” Opinion, Feb. 22].
My question is: And what? We just let them die? Let them starve and turn them away from our doctors? A civilized society doesn’t do that.
It is absolutely idiotic the way long lists of solutions to our economic woes involve making us poorer. Hello. Anybody home?
–Harold R. Pettus, Everett
February 25, 2013 at 7:01 AM
Despite vibrant nonprofit sector, Seattle struggles with youth
In a recently published Seattle Times op-ed, the issue of youth homelessness was brought to attention [“Innovate to end youth homelessness,” Opinion, Feb. 21].
Whether by chance or by the way in which motivation has lead me, I have been passionate about the security and future of our youth for as long as I have been a contributing member to society.
It fascinates me that we in Seattle have some of the most innovative, prosperous and unique individuals working within the nonprofit sector. It doesn’t get past me, however, that despite all of this philanthropic influence, our city still struggles tremendously with our youth.
The op-ed describes “Count Us In,” a point-in-time count of homeless youth. This in itself seems like a step in the right direction. A snapshot of just how many youth are in need of assistance, and the idea of studying their demographics and just how to assist them, is crucial.
Community organizations are plentiful, offering a wide array of services, monetary assistance and temporary relief to a wide demographic of people. The issue remains, though, just how to reach these people and assist them in securing what they need before it is too late.
Nicole Neiditz, Seattle
August 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Blue dogs? I’ve got a better name for them
Thank you for publishing “Who’s feeding the Blue Dogs” [CloseUp, July 31]. Now that it’s been established these representatives and senators are all bought and paid for by the health-insurance industry, I believe the term “fiscally conservative” can no longer be used to describe them.
There’s a more appropriate term for people who sell out principle and people for cash, but that word is probably not fit for a family newspaper.
– Amy Hagopian, Seattle
Our poor choices are at fault for health-care failure
In response to a letter from Dr. Donald Sherrard ["Lower costs, lower mortality in Canada," Opinion, Northwest Voices, July 29]: I do not doubt the statistics he cites, but an important bit of information is missing.
As a nation, we continue to overeat and under exercise –60 percent of us are overweight and half of those are frankly obese This leads to an inordinate amount of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, gall stones and destruction of knee joints.
Do the other countries mentioned have that same profile? In addition, a good number continue to smoke, drink to excess, take drugs both legal and illegal and have unprotected sex. This leads to liver, lung disease, cancers, unwanted pregnancies and STDs, including AIDS.
Is there a health-care system alive that can continue to respond to all this? It seems much easier to blame insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, the American Medical Association and fast-food joints than looking in the mirror for the cause of the “system failure.”
I’m concerned there is not enough money or any system that can deal with our health unless many personal changes occur. After all, the above items are all put into our bodies voluntarily. Pogo, the comic-strip character, said it quite eloquently many years ago, “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”
– Charles R. Strub, M.D., Monroe
No break for Congress
Congress should not be allowed to take a break before passing a health bill. It just gives the lobbyists and health-insurance industry more time to buy more members of Congress. It is not like they have to work that many days a year anyway.
This is probably the one issue that will affect every citizen. Well, except for possibly our representatives. They will see they are taken care of.
– Harriet Benjamin, Seattle
Some selfish doctors not helping health woes
It was refreshing to find letters published in The Times July 28 getting to the heart of health-care issues ["Health care: What is the cost of Canadian system?"
seattletimes.com, Northwest Voices]. One was especially telling because it was submitted by a doctor, Donald J. Sherrard. If only there were more physicians with his take on the problem. His final two sentences were perfectly on target: “Citizens should question strongly the assertions, lies and evasions of the health industry. They’re after the big bucks, not your health.”
I would also suggest that one part of the problem is the attitude of some, not all, doctors. They think their lofty professional status entitles them to live a lifestyle of the ultra rich and famous, and some who can’t lower themselves to care for Medicare or Medicaid patients because the payoff is too slight.
Both attitudes fail to live up to the Hippocratic oath, which all doctors are supposed to observe in their practice.
– Rod Belcher, Des Moines
Isn’t eliminating a middleman good business sense?
Most people are smart enough to know that eliminating the middleman from a purchase is a good idea. Middlemen, after all, add very little value — but always add cost.
Why then are people hesitating over reforming our health-care system? Our current system is completely dominated by middlemen. We give these companies our hard-earned money so they can enjoy fat profits while blocking our access to good health care.
That makes no sense whatsoever. Physicians don’t like it. Patients don’t like it. The middlemen, however, are fat, dumb and very, very happy.
Health-care reform is not socialized medicine. It’s about removing the middleman’s obscene profits and allowing we, the people, to get the services we pay for.
– Debbie Terwilliger, Bothell
In the way of reform, six bought senators
Our thanks to Dr. Donald J. Sherwood for his eloquent letter to the editor spelling out the advantages of the Canadian health system over our inefficient, bloated hodgepodge.
Already the majority of Americans want reform of the type proposed by President Obama. Unfortunately, the next obstacle is the six senators — Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, Kent Conrad, Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley and Olympia J. Snowe — who have sold their souls to the health insurance and pharmacology corporations for $3 million in campaign contributions.
They are blocking the public option without which, as President Obama has spelled out, it is impossible to have truly universal health coverage.
Somehow we must find a way past them.
– Robert & Susan Stanton, Seattle
No price tag too high on health-care reform
Charles Krauthammer’s “Obamacare vs. fiscal reality: the health-care nirvana fantasy” [Opinion, syndicated columnist July 26], concedes that medical costs are destroying our economy. True! His argument is that Obama’s efforts to improve the health-care delivery system being worked on in Congress will be more expensive.
Obama’s plan will provide medical coverage for millions of families who have none, for families whose wage-earner loses their job and for those with pre-existing illness.
Universal coverage is lifesaving for millions of victims of an inadequate system. Sure, Krauthammer, that may cost more. But don’t we need more?
Let’s support our Congress in its efforts to achieve a more efficient and inclusive medical system.
In the meantime, Krauthammer might offer a different solution than just more of the same.
– Jack Ballard, Port Ludlow
No need to deal with Republicans
Regarding The Times’ editorial ["Bipartisanship needed on health-care reform," Opinion, July 28], which says, “Health-care needs Republican votes to pass. Oh yes it does.”
Oh no it doesn’t actually. The American people soundly rejected the Republican Party in two elections, making clear they have no trust in the Republicans. Why compromise with a party that has no standing with the large part of the country?
More importantly, the Republican Party is opposed to any meaningful reform of the health-care system because that would harm the bottom line of its patrons in the insurance industry.
Republican attempts at “compromise” are stealth efforts to torpedo the whole thing. It takes two to compromise, and the Republicans are working to prevent a bill, not improve it.
The Democrats want bipartisanship for political cover, which is gutless. The Republicans want it to disguise of their attempts at preventing any meaningful bill from passing, an agenda they share with a large number of Democrats who the insurance companies have also got their hooks into.
Why do you want bipartisanship? To help your friends the Republicans in their attempts at preventing a bill? Or are you so enthralled in the conventional wisdom that bipartisanship is good government that you are blind to all these realities?
– Brad Lowe, Edmonds
In health-care debate, don’t forget the kids
We appreciate Lynne Varner’s column ["Health-care reform: Push for kids," Opinion, July 29], which raised important issues of how to meet the needs of children in federal health-care reform. We in Washington state are justifiably proud of the health coverage we have created, Apple Health for Kids. We can be a model for the nation.
Reform should maintain the best of Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, and expand coverage to all kids and adults. Kids are healthier when their parents are covered, and they are healthiest when their coverage meets their needs.
Varner mentioned kid-friendly legislation floating around. We are happy that one of these important bills was accepted in the House Energy and Commerce Committee Friday.
An amendment introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado would prevent children from being moved into the new health insurance, Exchange, until Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services certifies that coverage offered to children is at least comparable to the average CHIP plan.
We hope this important amendment will be included in the final bill the House considers and in reform passed by Congress. We are calling on the Washington delegation to pass health reform when they return from recess so that all of Washington’s children and families can get the health coverage they need.
– Paola Maranan, Children’s Alliance executive director, Seattle
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