Union Democrat staff

Read the bill

To the editor:

Barb Birks ("Ganders unite," letters, Aug. 3) urged us to read the health bill currently being considered by Congress. Obviously the writer needed to follow her own urgings and read the actual bill. Her comments seem to be based on unsubstantiated Internet articles making the rounds or statements by radical talk show guests.

The author claims: "Rationing health care to seniors, cancer patients, and persons with special needs are written into this bill." According to Charles Babington of the Associated Press, "Millions of Americans already face rationing, as insurance companies rule on procedures they will cover. Although one proposal is to have a government-appointed agency identify the most effective and efficient medical practices, its goal is to steer patients and providers to them, not to ration health care."

More importantly, the author claims: "This plan also includes 'an end of life plan' (euthanasia), a mandate instead of treatment." Again quoting from Babington, "The bill would require Medicare to pay for advance directive consultations with health care professionals. But it would not require anyone to use them."

The plan would open the door to advance health care directive consultations with health care professionals (not government agents) to many that can not now afford them. It only requires that Medicare reimburse them for this consultation if they choose to use it.

Presently the Senate is considering two significantly different bills and the House is waiting for yet another bill approved in committee. Constructive health care debate based on fact rather than fiction is essential.

Bill Hansen


Water main breaks

To the editor:

On a recent Sunday a water main broke on vacant property on Madrone Street in Tuolumne around 8:30 p.m. The water that gushed down the slope of the property, under a neighbor's home, down the alley dividing properties and down Fir Street, was overwhelming. It sounded and looked like a local river rushing with the spring run-off.

I want to thank the Tuolumne Fire Protection District for checking on me, helping out where they could; a sheriff who stopped by, and the workers with Tuolumne Utilities District who finally closed the leak around 11:30 p.m. TUD has been back, filling in where damage was done and we are assured they will return to correct any further problems.

The question many of us have is how could a water main break that is underground on vacant property? Could this happen on property where a structure is now standing also? What would have happened if we had a fire locally and no water to put it out? Does this have anything to do with the recent water meter changes? These are just a few of the many thoughts running through our minds as we dealt with this experience.

Ginny Van Bolt


Motorcycle wreck

To the editor:

I have lived here since 1975. I've never seen so many accidents between Jamestown and J-59 turnoff, where lots of people are making left turns where there is no space. The speed limit is between 45 and 55. How can the driver slow down in that amount of time at that speed? Come on Tuolumne County and Caltrans. Do something about that left turn space. It was not the fault of the motorcyclist who couldn't stop his motorcycle and died recently.

Tom DeGennaro