Readers Write (June 3): Whistleblowing, energy policy, VA health care, the safety of women, higher ed

  • Updated: June 2, 2014 - 6:41 PM

There will be more Edward Snowdens until we have a system that protects them.

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In this image taken from video provided by NBC News on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, speaks to NBC News anchor Brian Williams during an NBC Exclusive interview. (AP Photo/NBC News)

As I read James E. Lukaszewski’s May 31 article “A tally of Snowden’s treachery,” I was struck by what was missing. Yes, Edward Snowden has caused damage, the extent of which we won’t know possibly for years. But, the likes of Snowden will continue until we have systems in place that in fact protect the “whistleblower.”

In case after case, over the last 50 years, the whistleblower has become a pariah within the organization he or she is trying to benefit. In most cases, becoming a whistleblower means constant character assassination, along with the loss of one’s career.

Lukaszewski is a crisis consultant. The crisis that needs to be dealt with is the systematic destruction of anyone who does in fact come forward in an attempt to point to areas where the system needs to be changed. Until that happens, the Edward Snowdens will be a way of life, or worse yet, no one will come forward to call for change where change is in the best interest of this country.

Dennis Walker, Rosemount

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It’s hard enough for two people to keep anything secret, let alone over three-quarters of a million workers with top-secret clearances working in both the government and private intelligence agencies. One thing I’ll say about the article: In this country, luckily for Lukaszewski and Snowden, we’re still able to express our opinions. My point is, secrecy is not always a good thing as the writer suggests.

Richard Segers, Savage

ENERGY POLICY

There’s a business opportunity in this

While the Republican Party would appear to be winding down its five-year protest against the Affordable Care Act, it starts anew today with its mission to destroy any efforts to limit carbon accumulation in the atmosphere (“Obama to slash carbon pollution,” June 2). Both of these are examples of government overreach, party members would say. Ironically, the intrusive ACA has been one of the best drivers of new business we have had in the past 25 years. All over the country, companies are sprouting up to reduce medical cost, improve access and encourage people to engage in their own care.

Similarly, a requirement that will speed (not cause) the demise of coal power plants will encourage lower pollution and carbon alternatives. The next decade will make it increasingly clear that limiting our impact on the atmosphere is common sense. States like West Virginia and Wyoming should become factories for solar and renewable energy. Nothing will reduce resistance to carbon reductions like new jobs to replace old ones.

Michael Emerson, Eden Prairie

 

VA HEALTH CARE

In these studies, better results than Medicare

The May 31 editorial asks: “Should the VA remain a separate system or should it morph into a system like Medicare, which … relies on private-sector providers and hospitals?” While any administrative falsification of the numbers is clearly outrageous, we should all know that the care provided by the dedicated clinical employees of the VA is very good, as demonstrated by published scientific data. One study compared risk-adjusted mortality rates in 584,294 Medicare Advantage Program patients with 420,514 VA patients over four years. These rates were significantly lower for VA patients (Selim AJ et al. Med Care, 2006). Another study reported that VA patients with colon or non-small cell lung cancer had higher survival rates than fee-for-service Medicare patients (Landrum MB et al. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2012). These and other papers show that for optimal care, Medicare should rather “morph” into the VA.

Edward K. Weir, Wayzata

 

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