Monday, Dec. 4, 2023 |
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• Who asked you?
• Let’s help protect Hawaiian monk seals
• Fix health care system
Who asked you?
I respect Mr. Mickens and admire how much work he does to keep our county government in line, but I could not agree less with him on his letter about drugs (“Drugs are bad,” Letters, June 13).
Who gave the government the right to legislate controlled substances, and better yet, why? I have a mom, if I need to know right from from wrong, trust me, I’ll ask her.
Joseph Lavery, Kapa‘a
Let’s help protect Hawaiian monk seals
Hawaiian monk seals, sleeping on the white, sandy beach next to the crystal-clear ocean, are what many people want to see when they go to the beach in the Hawaiian Islands.
There are only about 1,200 of these seals left in the whole world. We should take action before they’re gone.
The Hawaiian monk seal, or the ‘Ilioholoikauaua, is on the endangered species list. They are found in both the Northwestern and Main Hawaiian Islands.
Only 5 percent of the baby seals that are born survive to adulthood. The Hawaiian monk seal is very important to us in Hawai‘i and it makes our state so unique in many ways.
One of the main reasons why the Hawaiian monk seal population is declining is because of people. Monk seals love to eat lobster and many of the lobsters are getting over-fished.
They also get tangled in fishing nets and line, which makes it difficult for them to swim and causes drowning.
Many people tend to go too close to the seals to take pictures. Let’s not disturb or harm them. Don’t litter our beaches. Get involved with the Kaua‘i Monk Seal Watch program.
Take action and get involved today! Let’s help the Hawaiian monk seals stay around for generations to come.
Kaila Funaki, CKMS seventh-grader
Fix health care system
We have the finest health care system in the world, with the best outcomes for patients and ever-increasing life expectancies.
There are problems, namely spiraling costs and lack of coverage for some. As outlined below, there are better ways to attack those problems than are currently being pushed in Congress.
No American who understands how single-payer systems actually work would dream of trading our system for one like those in Britain, Canada or New Zealand, to name a few.
The basic problem is that all care is rationed because of cost. There are long waits for all health services.
People literally die while waiting for treatment. Women cannot get mammograms as early or as often as American women. No wonder that survival rates for American cancer patients are far greater than under single-payer systems. The list goes on.
Bureaucrats, rather than doctors, make decisions about what treatments they will approve for you. If you suffer from macular degeneration in Britain, your doctor must wait until you go blind in one eye before beginning preventative treatment care for the other eye.
These systems can be dreadful even for the young and relatively healthy people. Several years ago an American friend was involved in a motorcycle accident in New Zealand. He wasn’t charged for medical care, and the caregivers treated him as well as they could. That said, he was having trouble breathing when they put him in an ambulance. No oxygen was available because of costs. They did what they could at a local aid station and had him transferred to a central hospital. There he spent the first 24 hours literally in a broom closet because the hospital was so overcrowded.
He didn’t see a doctor in that period for the same reason. He was finally treated for an obvious injury to his arm but chest pains persisted. He was finally discharged, still in pain. His wife had to beg for a piece of cloth so she could improvise a sling. When they finally got home, doctors took more x-rays and discovered he had been traveling with a cracked vertebrae and was lucky to have avoided further serious injury.
We already have similar experiences with Medicare. It tries to control costs by paying doctors and other providers arbitrary low rates. Bureaucratic inertia discourages innovation. Fraud is rampant. Given all that, the system is in danger of financial collapse.
There are much better ways than single-payer to build on what is good about our current system and fix what isn’t. One is to rein in the trial lawyers so doctors can concentrate on cures and not defense. Damage awards should be capped and serious consideration should be given to a system where the loser in a malpractice case pays all court and attorney costs.
Another way to reduce costs is to make the patient, working with the doctor, as responsible for health care decisions as possible. That can be done by setting up individual Medical Savings Accounts for routine care and switching to lower cost catastrophic insurance coverage. Right now patients seldom ask what procedures will cost because insurance pays most of it. When they are spending their own money out of their Medical Savings Account, they certainly will ask, and prices will come down. Similarly, basic catastrophic health care insurance should be available to all. Competition among private insurance companies should be encouraged by allowing them to cross state lines.
Part of our escalating health care costs arise because we are the world’s leader in producing new drugs, prosthesis and treatment techniques. The government should encourage continued development of these new technologies which help Americans live longer with a better quality of life.
The FDA should quit worrying about regulating Cheerios and focus on better ways to get new drugs to market.
I’ve expressed my opinions and concerns to Hawai‘i’s U.S. senators and representatives. I hope you will as well.
John Love, Kapa‘a
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