How ironic that on the same day the Star Tribune front page leads with the alarming headline, “Heath care spending up sharply,” its Editorial Board voices opposition to single-payer Medicare for All health reform — the only system consistently shown by independent economic analyses to be able to curb spending while guaranteeing quality coverage for all Americans (“Warren health plan is the wrong remedy,” Nov. 7).
The editorial’s claim that Medicare for All would “blow up the current health care system” is sensational rhetoric, as single-payer does not change health care delivery but instead reforms how we pay for that care, choosing efficiency over the current mind-boggling web of thousands of private plans that confound us with differing coverage, differing networks and vastly differing reimbursement rates.
Incredibly, the Editorial Board cites the fear that Medicare for All reform would “pick political battles” and hurt the revenue of powerful lobbies — “especially insurers.” Are we really to pity the profit-driven private insurance industry, whose executives routinely take home eight-figure salaries, whose billions in annual profits line the pockets of investors? Or might we better direct our concern toward the countless Americans families who forgo needed care, who ration their prescriptions, who are being driven to financial ruin by crippling premiums, copays and deductibles?
The Editorial Board calls Medicare for All a “fantasy plan,” when the only fantasy is that our current profit-driven system will ever prioritize patients over profits.
Dave Dvorak, Minneapolis
The writer is a physician.
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The Nov. 7 editorial on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s health care plan was a surprisingly strong-worded and largely disappointing take on the health care debate.
The Editorial Board argues that Americans can understand how exchange subsidies work yet cannot understand how a single-payer system would — while words such as “fantasy” are used to describe the most meticulous plan for universal coverage we’ve seen from a presidential candidate.
This glib comment lacks any global perspective and also disregards the human cost of continuing to rely on our current system. Many countries have found a way to make what they call a “fantasy” a reality. Their citizens pay less for health care and live longer.
Lastly, the politics at play is cited as a reason for criticism. While this could be a valid criticism, their approach is unnecessarily narrow. They only focused on Democrats’ plans and in the title only on Warren.
Which brings up broader questions of how the media will cover this election. Why single out Warren alone for doing the work of detailing Sanders’ vision? Why zero mention of the GOP’s current “plan,” suing to overturn the Affordable Care Act in the courts? What role does Warren being a woman have on how she is covered, and why does President Donald Trump get a free pass on his largely disastrous record on health care reform?
I think the Editorial Board is trying to be as objective as it can in a world that seems to be turning its back on the value of objectivity. But here it missed the mark.
Nathan Chomilo, Minneapolis
The writer is a pediatrician.
Amid global threats, I have hope
A Nov. 8 letter writer stirred a grim memory (“A near end to war — and ourselves”).
I was a child during the Cuban missile crisis, and I happened to be taking a bath during its most terrifying moments.
From our adjacent kitchen, alarming radio news warned that World War III could break out at any second. Profoundly fearful, I lowered my head beneath the tub’s top, thinking that doing so might spare me from nuclear horror.
Today we’re still threatened by reckless militarism, plus prospective worldwide catastrophe stemming from global climate change. Thankfully, across the planet, protests of massive scope are rising to demand an assured future for us all, rooted in peace, equal justice and environmental safety.
May that movement grow from something better beginning today to fully realized hope tomorrow.
Dennis Rahkonen, Superior, Wis.
You can’t make loitering without a ticket a crime — it already is one
The Nov. 8 editorial “Big ideas for safer light-rail transit” supported a number of proposals to improve light-rail safety recently proposed by State Rep. Paul Torkelson of Hanska, Minn. Among the proposals listed in the print edition of the editorial was “making it a crime for loitering on a platform without a valid ticket.” This mirrors the language from Rep. Torkelson’s own proposal: “creating a crime for loitering on a light rail station platform and allowing law enforcement to ticket those loitering who haven’t paid for a fare.”
The problem with this proposal is that it already is a crime to loiter on a light-rail platform without a paid fare, and has been since the Blue Line opened in 2004 (under Minnesota Statute 609.855, subdivision 1). The fact that you need a paid fare to be on a platform is also highlighted in signage on the platforms, though enforcement of this law may vary.
When a politician proposes a “new” law that has actually been on the book for 15 years, it is up to the state’s newspaper of record to acknowledge the discrepancy, even if otherwise supporting other elements of that politician’s initiatives in an editorial. This is not to take away from the seriousness of the safety issue on light rail, and some of Rep. Torkelson’s other proposals may warrant consideration, alongside stronger enforcement of existing laws.
Afton Clarke-Sather, Duluth, Minn.
LOCAL CHURCH ART
No matter the final decision, our values will continue to guide us
As a longtime member of Plymouth Congregational Church, I want to address what could be a misperception resulting from the otherwise fair article discussing the church controversy over the fall tapestry celebrating church history (“ ‘Hurtful’ tapestry unravels church unity,” Nov. 7). The church is not divided over the need to fully address and engage the congregation and community about the history and current issues in Native American communities and to listen to all voices in that work.
The church was founded as an anti-slavery, activist, inclusive Christian congregation that has provided 161 years of pioneering community leadership in civil rights, LGBTQ rights, feeding and sheltering the homeless and the poor, active response to climate change and much more. The congregation is on the right side of history.
The question before us: Is the artistic tapestry as it is currently illustrated the best way to further that education and activism, or will Plymouth be more effective if the 40-year-old tapestry with its offensive elements is removed? Whatever the result of the congregational vote this Sunday, inspired, loving engagement with America’s fraught and hopeful history, present and future will continue apace.
James P. Lenfestey, Minneapolis
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