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Bernie Sanders is right to suggest a united Medicare for all

To The Daily Sun,

The health care industry is in crisis. It came about by insurance companies demanding profits over the quality of human life. Insurance companies are cold, deliberating, as well as discriminating against those who are disabled, sick, or injured, and for those who cannot afford the high premiums. Health care must not be for sale to the highest bidder.

Health care for all is a right for people, not a right for insurance companies to make a profit on human life. It is almost essential that this country revert to Medicare for all, regardless of income status, race, diagnosis, or disability. Here are some reasons why:

The health care industry is labor intensive. Poor quality of care in nursing homes for example is related to the dearth of qualified nursing assistants in relation to the population cared for. Fifteen residents per LNA is unacceptable and dangerous, both to the resident as well as the LNA. Homes with better staffing ratios show higher caliber of care and provide a better quality of life for those in their remaining years.

Staffing by both RNs and LPNs appears to be short as well, further potentially compromising care.

Appointments: doctors are directed to keep time with patients to a minimum, even though they charge for the whole hour, or mass production of medical care.

Prescriptions are notoriously expensive if one does not have prescription coverage. Pharmacies seek profits, not the care that patients and clients deserve.

One cannot displace the human factor for both the patient as well as the entire health care team. Machines and computers cannot replace the quality that human care provides. Robo-care is unacceptable.

Computerized health care systems. While it is nice to be organized in progress notes written, other aspects of computerized systems take more time than previously encountered. Quote from one provider, "We take more care of the paperwork and computer activities than we do our patients!" Insurance requires excessive time in paperwork and documentation. The need to focus on care is priority, not profit.

In this legal sensitive atmosphere, one also wonders about the appropriateness of "additional testing" or "screenings;" i.e. a colonoscopy needs to be done every 10 years (this is for example only: the importance of this screening is essential to a long, healthy life cancer free), or other screenings. How many people are needed to make sure the insurance industry is doing what they are supposed to? Insurance companies make decisions regardless of input of the entire medical team devoted to either a health compromised patient or a healthy one. It is all about making money. Human life is not for sale or profit.

Mr. Bernie Sanders is correct to suggest a united M

edicare program for all. It must be a contribution system, similar to Social Security. If one is unable to pay for this program, then this is where the Medicaid system helps, to provide the income challenged individuals the care they are entitled to. So long as the system is run by medically qualified individuals — such as a team of nurses, LNA's, either advanced nurse practitioners or doctor's assistants, as well as medical doctors — not some group of people trained by medically untrained individuals as may be the case currently. For example, medical decisions should be made by medical people, not car mechanics, or plumbers.

Medicare for all puts the insurance industry out of business, which must be done. Given that everyone should be contributing to the system, the costs of payments would be significantly lower than the private industry. Medicare for all also should focus on the issues of medical care and health promotion without prejudice, which would further reduce costs in the long run. Transportation must also be included in this package, as this is a vital access to medical care, either via ambulance or private transport.

This program stimulates the economy with increased spending power. Premium reduction by mandating participation, increases the cash flow to the individuals and/or their families. This makes such a program a win-win situation for all American people, and promote better health at the same time. Insurance companies do not provide this benefit. Both major parties as well as minority parties should focus on, the right of all to affordable, total health care.

Robert T. Joseph, Jr.

New Hampton

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What was Speaker Jasper thinking with amendment to SB-248?

To The Daily Sun,

Whose town is it?

The blizzard of 2017, who will ever forget it? That late-season nor'easter that dumped over a foot of snow in some places, caused road accidents and power outages, and had winds blowing over 50 mph on none other than town election day. The blizzard wreaked havoc, and so recently has our state government attempted to wreak havoc: officials attempted to empower towns to nullify the majority vote from town meetings across the state.

Safety concerns:

State officials, citing safety concerns, encouraged people to stay home. They urged businesses to close. And local officials began notifying state officials they were postponing town elections to keep people off the roads.

Those decisions to postpone town elections were not done lightly. They were based on the state's directive that motorists avoid driving, reports from local road crews that they could not keep up with the rate of snowfall, input from concerned citizens, and the New Hampshire Municipal Association. The association informed town officials they had authority to postpone elections due to the weather emergency, citing RSA 40:4 II as authorization for the postponement. However, confusion and a lack of clarity came from state election officials over just how to interpret election law.

Postponing town meeting:

Maybe most of us didn't give the postponing of town meeting much thought. Bad weather, unsafe roads: surely local election officials should be able to make governing decisions about local matters and decide in favor of public safety. And so, the vote was postponed in towns across New Hampshire. Not everywhere, but in nearly 80 communities.

Voters showed up on the rescheduled day. Some towns showed a higher voter turnout than last year — they came, voted, and went on their way. Newly elected officials were sworn in and went about the business of serving the public.

Local decision-making offends state officials:

It was logical and sensible for the public to accept postponement of town elections due to impassable roads and safety concerns. However, our election, our votes, and the legitimacy of our public officials has been cast into doubt by state officials who appear offended that local officials — and not the central government apparatus — made the call to postpone.

Of course, postponing elections created some legal uncertainties around bond issues and such, but that was easy enough to remedy with a bill proposed by Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn. SB-248 was simple, straightforward and sensible, like most Granite Staters. The bill Senator Woodburn proposed would have "ratified actions, votes, and proceedings of town and school district meetings and elections postponed due to the weather emergency on March 14, 2017." Common sense legislation with the intent to protect local decision-making authority.

State election officials didn't like the proposed legislation because it condoned the actions taken by local election officials against the opinion of state political operatives. Senator Woodburn's bill was smothered by the Senate Election Law Committee when members amended it to establish a committee to study the rescheduling of elections.

House speaker's assault on democracy:

Instead of protecting the actions of local officials and accepting the majority vote of townspeople, House Speaker Shawn Jasper attempted to amend SB-108 and assault direct democracy in New Hampshire communities. Had the House Election Law Committee not cast a tie-vote on the non-germane amendment to SB-108, it would have passed to the House floor for a vote. If the full House had passed SB-108, it would have forced voters to hold special elections, at no small cost to our communities. The special elections would have required voters in communities where election day was postponed, to then "ratify" the votes taken on the rescheduled election dates.

That "ratification" wouldn't have taken place until May. Meanwhile, decisions made by voters at the polls would be on hold, their votes vetoed legislatively, their elected officials held in suspended animation. Worst of all, Speaker Jasper's hand grenade of an amendment said that if voters in May rejected the snow-day results, then all votes cast would have been null and void, all warrant articles would have been considered defeated, and all the positions voted for would be vacant.

Really? Since when is it acceptable to suggest voters get to vote to support or negate the votes of their neighbors and overturn adopted warrant articles? This was rich, Mister Speaker!

State control vs. state motto:

We all know how the votes played out in our communities, and the public has accepted them. But think about how this could have played out: If some folks didn't like how the vote went in their town, they would have had the opportunity to campaign again for an additional month. They could have re-influenced the vote up until May 23, according to Representative Jasper's attempted amendment in SB-108. This was the "solution" to a snow day postponement. One is tempted to wonder what alternate candidates, warrant articles and outcomes the Speaker and his confidants might have preferred to win a second time around.

State political operatives were seeking to require towns to hold a special meeting at a date dictated by the state, with the question before the voters being determined by the state. This would have amounted to an unfunded state-mandate while nullifying the vote of the people. New Hampshire, with the motto "Live Free or Die," was at the threshold of state elected officials unashamedly taking complete control over our towns.

Representative Jasper's anti-democratic amendment is dead for now. However, it doesn't mean it won't be back. There are still remaining bills in the House and Senate Election Law Committees that are accessible to be amended.

It is not enough to have the right to vote when governments are able to decide not only how we vote and determine what we vote for, but even whether we can vote, and if that vote will matter.

Michelle Sanborn


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