Healthcare delivery systems

To the Editor:

In his letter in the April 14 Union Democrat (“Deregulate health care), J.B. Dugan omitted Medicare, one of the most effective and efficient healthcare delivery systems in the world. Medicare is similar to the National Health Plan of Canada and is a model for S.B. 562 (Healthy California Act). Some alternate facts regarding the VHA: Mr. Dugan says the annual budget is $180 billion. Another article in the UD the same day states the budget is $61 billion. Believe what you want.

There are many reasons vets opt out of the VHA. Some choose a family plan with an employer because the VHA normally only covers the vet. He has to get separate coverage for his family. Except in emergencies, the vet is required to use VHA docs and facilities for services, including prescriptions. In Sonora, if the vet needs a service the local clinic cannot provide, he must go to Livermore or even Palo Alto. This can be a huge inconvenience, especially for a non-retired person. If an older vet opts out of Medicare (doesn’t pay for Part B), and if the local VHA clinic closes, he will face a penalty for signing up late for Part B. Retired military have Tri-Care for Life to supplement Medicare, including prescriptions.

The healthcare industry was not regulated (much) before the Affordable Care Act. If the free market works so well, why did millions of Americans then obtain coverage they could not afford before the act was passed? If socialized single-payer healthcare fails anywhere it is tried, more alternate facts indicate that it is surviving in the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland and some of Latin America. It seems to be doing well in Massachusetts also.

L.J. Bodiford,

LCDR USN (ret.)


Celebrating Earth Day

To the Editor:

As thousands across the U.S. get ready to protest environmental budget cuts, each of us can also help with our driving, our recycling and our diet.

Yes, our diet. A 2010 United Nations report blames animal agriculture for 70 percent of global freshwater use, 38 percent of land use, and 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by fossil fuel combustion to operate farm machinery, trucks, factory farms and slaughterhouses. The more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.

Moreover, meat and dairy production dumps more animal waste, crop debris, fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants into our waterways than all other human activities combined. It is the driving force in wildlife habitat destruction.

In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar and other pollution-free energy sources.

On this Earth Day and every day, let’s cherish our environment with eco-friendly plant-based eating. Our next trip to the supermarket is a great starting point.

Cornellius Everhart

San Andreas

Congestion in Sonora

To the Editor:

Regarding congestion in Sonora, and, no, I’m not referring to the oak pollen which causes congestion and allergies for many of us. I’m referring to my round-trip to the gas station, post office, Walmart, grocery store and back home.

There has been a lot of talk recently about there not being enough affordable housing in Sonora. The real question is, how in the world will our little town hold more people if more housing is provided?

With the exception of Mono Way, our roadways are narrow, two-lane thoroughfares which barely accommodate the traffic we currently have, especially during lunch time and when schools let out. I strongly urge the City Council and county supervisors to develop a thoughtful plan for transportation infrastructure before allowing more residential construction in Tuolumne County.

Come to think of it, let’s start by fixing the potholes and painting some decent lines.

Jennifer Tolbert