Union Democrat staff

Death, insurance

To the editor:

It doesn't get more personal than this. As an uninsured person, I am 40 percent more likely to die than my friends who have insurance.

This is according to a just-released study by Harvard Medical School and University of Washington Medical School researchers. Or as they dryly put it, "Uninsurance is associated with mortality."

According to the study, 45,000 Americans die every year because they lack health insurance and cannot get good care. That's more than drunk driving and homicide combined. Even if I were not at risk of becoming one of those people, I would find this unacceptable.

I wonder if those who are opposed to health care reform have actually considered these numbers and concluded that these deaths are OK with them. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I must ask reform opponents, what is your alternative plan to prevent these deaths, not to mention the bankruptcy of the country?

Earlier in the year, the Republican leaders promised that they would introduce their own health care bill. The summer came and went, and they have offered little more than talking points in opposition to any plan that is put forward by the Democrats. To my mind, just saying no is not a plan.

The current argument against reform is that it will make things worse. I suppose that could happen if we don't have the intelligence and integrity to fix a broken system. However, if we do nothing, our quality of care will continue to decline, while the costs increase and more people die. Why would we choose that?

Greg Falken


Incorrect statements

To the editor:

Kathy Rubinstein's letter (Sept. 29) contains many incorrect statements.

1. Seniors do not work all their life to receive SSI. Perhaps she meant SSR (Social Security Retirement). People work to earn SSR, an entitlement program. SSI is not an entitlement program.

2. Medicare never covered dental and eye benefits (except eye surgery). Perhaps she meant Medi-Cal - big difference. Yes, the state cut the dental and eye benefits for everyone receiving Medi-Cal, not just seniors.

3. I have been receiving Medicare for seven years and have never had a waiting period or a denial on an order for blood work, surgery or any other type of treatment. However, in most cases, Medi-Cal does require prior approval for surgery and other type of treatments.

4. As a Medicare beneficiary, I can see any doctor I desire.

5. President Obama is not proposing cuts to Medicare benefits. President Obama is not proposing "someone" will tell us our life is not worth living. President Obama is proposing Medicare coverage for those who desire counseling to help with end-of-life decisions. Quite a difference.

Patricia Lawler


Flu vaccine safety issues

To the editor:

Much has been published on the internet lately about potential health risks linked to vaccinations. But I doubt you'll read this in our mainstream media. Why? I believe it's because those in the business-end of vaccines, led by the pharmaceutical companies and the American Medical Association, don't want us to see negative reports about vaccines. Because of this, it appears that we won't see balanced coverage about the issue of vaccine safety in the mainstream media, so we have to go to the internet to see opposing views.

The upcoming swine flu vaccine is particularly dangerous according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Russell Blaylock and others because it will contain Squalene, Thimerosal (mercury based) and other potentially dangerous ingredients. Here is a link where you can find out more about swine flu vaccine dangers: http://bit.ly4oNE8.

Implied in all the vaccine hype is that vaccination is the only way to deal with swine flu. But that is not true. There are safe alternatives that many feel are superior. For example, self-quarantine; boosting the immune system with vitamin D3 supplements; better hygiene (esp. increased hand-washing); killing pathogens with MMS or collodial silver.

I certainly don't want this vaccine injected in me, especially when there are safe alternatives. Keep in mind that our government has granted the vaccine manufacturers immunity against lawsuits. Also note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that only 40% of health care workers receive annual flu shots.

Pete Eakle

Big Oak Flat

(Pete Eakle and his wife live on a ranch near Big Oak Flat and raise grass-fed beef cattle, chickens, organic eggs and organic vegetables. Eakle is also a software engineer and holds a bachelor's degree in Math and Economics from Hayward State University.)