Readers Write: (May 31): Health care access, immunizations, Catholic Church, waste reduction

  • Updated: June 2, 2014 - 11:06 AM

The VA is a scandal, yes. It’s not the only one in health care.

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HEALTH CARE ACCESS

The VA scandal, and the ones beyond

True, the VA has waiting lists, real and fake. We spend fortunes to send youngsters to war, yet underfund their care when they come home. They suffer for no good reason.

That is unacceptable.

Here’s what else is unacceptable. Even with the Affordable Care Act, 30 million U.S. people will remain uninsured. No one keeps their waiting lists, but each year tens of thousands will die because they lack adequate access to medical care. Nearly half of the states refuse to expand Medicaid, effectively condemning more than 7,000 uninsured each year to preventable deaths. Medical bills remain the leading cause of bankruptcy. We don’t have enough primary care physicians, both inside and outside the VA.

Even the best programs could be better, and doctoring waiting lists must stop, but patient surveys still make the VA the highest-rated health care program in the country. Let’s face it. The VA is a public, single-payer health care program. The day the United States and Minnesota choose an adequately funded, public single-payer system, everyone will have access to timely care, and everyone will be protected from financial disaster in time of illness.

Now that is acceptable.

Dr. Inge De Becker, St. Paul

IMMUNIZATIONS

As news events show, it isn’t wise to resist

It strikes me as ironic that the same medical technology that produces immunizations is being used to save 43 Amish lives in a modern hospital because they elected not to be immunized and then developed measles on a trip to the Philippines (“Accelerating U.S. measles outbreak is worst in decades,” May 30). They are also at risk of exposing others around them to the disease, especially infants, since the shot is usually not given until 15 months of age.

One hundred years ago, the average life expectancy was 45. Now it is passing 80, in part due to technologies, including immunizations. It is now common for people I see in clinic to be celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary, because they are living longer. It is also a thankful rarity to hear about a child dying of a vaccination-preventable disease.

The news report stated that more than 500 people had died every year in the United States from the measles prior to the immunization being available. Most of those were children. Children also died of diphtheria, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus and meningitis, all significantly prevented if not nearly eliminated with today’s immunizations. I recall in residency some 25 years ago young children being brought into the ER actively seizing from hemophilus meningitis. Since the HIB shot, we do not see that anymore. And the new HPV shot has been shown to potentially dramatically reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

So, good people, remember to get yourself and your kids immunized.

Dr. Kirk Dornfeld, Owatonna, Minn.

Catholic Church

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