published Monday, April 4th, 2011

Children benefiting from health reform

LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Children benefiting from health reform

Last week, the U.S. celebrated one year since the passage of health care reform, or the Affordable Care Act. The ACA is both good and historic legislation for children. The ACA improves access to medical care, provides appropriate and prevention-based benefits and increases the number of children covered by a health program.

The ACA already has had a positive impact. Denial of coverage because of pre-existing conditions is no longer a problem. Also, children can now stay on parent policies until the age of 26.

Until the ACA, our national health system has focused on costly interventions after a person is “sick.” We have allowed a disorganized system of universal care that is inappropriately practiced in the emergency room. The ACA sets prevention and health management as the new foundation of the U.S. health system. It is a long-term investment to contain the overall health cost that is bankrupting our country. It also is an incubator for innovation in the lagging performance of the U.S. health system when compared to other countries.

It is time for everyone to pitch in to make the ACA work. We all have a stake in seeing the ACA succeed.

R. ALLEN COFFMAN

JR., M.D., FAAP

President-Elect

Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

NRC plan sounds like a beer ad

In your article (March 26) about the three TVA nuclear power plants in operation near Chattanooga, I learned that the Browns Ferry plant, 129 miles from Chattanooga, is a dead ringer for Japan’s Fukushima plant, now in a nuclear meltdown, spreading radiation now detected across the U.S.

Does the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear industry have “the Homer Simpson mentality”? The official’s goal is to “ensure safety and reassurances of Browns Ferry’s robustness.” What does that mean — sounds like a beer commercial? We’re not crisis ready.

They’ve started tabletop exercises! This helps them recognize, after 35 years, that they need more than two emergency electric generators and four hours of battery power for backup. However they are scattering those two throughout the plant so “they can be moved to wherever needed.” What a “robust” plan!

We’re past the wake-up call! There are three spent nuclear power rod pools on top of these reactors. Explosions ripped away the tops of two Japanese reactors with the same kind of pools which began this calamity.

Do we really feel safer now that they have dragged water hoses up the stairwell “to provide a ready access to water should normal cooling systems be compromised”?

LAWRENCE HOWARD

Ooltewah

Save our country with cuts, cuts, cuts

Why have our local, state and federal governments put us on the brink of bankruptcy?

Let me list a few of the thousands of reasons.

  1. Our federal government is close to $15 trillion in debt. That’s $128,000 per taxpayer. Each newborn owes $46,000. It’s no wonder babies cry louder now than when my kids were born.

  2. Our president, without the consent of Congress, just thrust us into our third Muslim country war, which will cost billions and billions more.

  3. According to the Congressional Budget Office, each stimulus job cost $228,055.

  4. There have been 1,000 waivers to the “Obama Health Care” plan. Why?

  5. We had a $223 billion deficit in February.

  6. Our Federal Reserve has become the best counterfeiter in the world, $600 billion from January through June.

  7. We have 56 programs promoting financial literacy. It’s obvious that very few of our public servants have learned anything from them.

  8. Congressional Republicans proposed $61 billion in spending cuts earlier this year and Democrats a cut of $6.5 billion. When compared to the projected deficit of $1.6 trillion, each is a joke. Did someone hit D.C. with a “stupid stick”?

Politicians, save our country with cuts, cuts, cuts!

E. LEE GERALDSON

Harrison

Make the effort to live safer lives

Every year, nearly 150,000 people die from injuries; almost 30 million are injured seriously enough to go to the emergency room. Chances are, you or someone you know are among these statistics. Traffic injuries alone result in more than $200 billion in annual U.S. health expenditures. Overall, injuries account for 12 percent of medical care spending.

This week, Catoosa County Public Health is encouraging all Catoosa County residents to make our county safer and injury-free. From April 4-10, we’re recognizing National Public Health Week, an opportunity to empower our family, friends, neighbors and ourselves to live safer lives.

Join us in working to make Catoosa County a healthier, safer place to live, work and raise a family. Make just one positive change a day that could prevent an injury.

Increasing awareness on how to live safer, injury-free lives will help us create a healthier county — but there is more you can do beyond taking these actions. Raise awareness of safety and injury prevention within our community during National Public Health Week. Our community will be safer, healthier and happier as a result.

AMY CARROLL

Nurse Manager

Catoosa County Health Department

Be wary of offering your pets for free

“Free to good home” is never a good idea when trying to find a new home for your pet.

As a recent case in West Virginia clearly illustrates, pets obtained for free are highly vulnerable to being abused. A West Virginia man reportedly used classified ads to locate and obtain several dogs. Ultimately, he allegedly mutilated and sadistically killed 29 dogs, mostly puppies, over a two-month period.

Also known to make use of “free ads” for animals are animal hoarders as well as dogfighters seeking bait animals.

Newspapers and online services such as Craigslist.com can help combat this issue by not accepting “free pet” ads and/or running simple cautionary notices in the “animals” sections of their classifieds.

VICTORIA TAYLOR

LaFayette, Ga.

GE policies, CEO a slap at workers

According to The New York Times, last year General Electric made over $14.2 billion in profit, but paid no federal tax.

In fact, thanks to the millions GE spent lobbying Congress, we American taxpayers actually owed GE $3.2 billion in tax credits.

Now GE is slashing health benefits and retirement benefits for new employees among nonunion workers and is expected to push unions to accept similar cutbacks, while its CEO, Jeff Immelt, gets a 100 percent pay raise.

What’s worse? Immelt now sits as chair of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council), representing corporate America to the president on matters like job creation and corporate taxation. That’s a slap in the face to every hardworking, tax-paying American — especially GE employees since GE sends jobs and keeps profits overseas. Now GE’s CEO is to be the person charged with helping the president create jobs in America. Things in this country sound more like Communists naming their governments “people’s democratic republics” and probably about as accurate.

If the American people got back just the $3.2 billion GE took in tax credits, it would pay for the programs so many House Republicans say they want to gut while swallowing the camel and swatting the gnat.

JIM SIMS

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