Jeremy Olson’s Nov. 27 piece, “Minnesota Department of Health report says diabetes takes heavier toll on young adults,” points out something obvious to anyone who cares for hospitalized patients — high insulin prices and lack of affordable health insurance are huge barriers for people who struggle to control their diabetes. On Nov. 26, Glenn Howatt’s piece, “Out of prison, but struggling for health care,” illuminates the difficulties that newly released inmates have in accessing health insurance, despite the fact that most should qualify for Medicaid; it was proposed that there should be more “navigators” helping people complete the burdensome enrollment paperwork required by our nearly incomprehensible health insurance system.

Both problems outlined above (and many more) would be much better addressed by redesigning our health care system so that all people are covered for any medically necessary care with no out-of-pocket expenses at the point of care. A universal single-payer system, such as proposed in state Sen. John Marty’s Minnesota Health Plan and in national Expanded and Improved Medicare for All legislation, would improve health outcomes generally, enable better chronic disease management and significantly improve equity by guaranteeing the same high standard of health care for everyone, rich or poor, privileged or socially marginalized. It also would be fiscally prudent, saving money through bulk drug price negotiations, global hospital budgets and the elimination of administrative waste associated with our bloated insurance system. As an added bonus, a single-payer system would be so straightforward that we could navigate it ourselves.

Dr. Brian Yablon, Minneapolis

Diabetes

Changing diet, lifestyle would combat disease in young

It is disturbing to see so many young people being devastated by a preventable/reversible disease once called “adult onset diabetes.” (“Young adults hit harder by diabetes,” Nov. 27.) Yes, type 2 diabetes can be prevented and reversed!

Diabetes is caused by our industrial diet of refined sugars, flours and seed oils. These ingredients provide up to 50 percent (or more) of many teenagers’ calories and provide virtually no vitamins and minerals. In addition, these ingredients are highly inflammatory, do not satiate our appetites and take our blood sugar on a roller-coaster ride.

Case in point: Many high school students keep boxes of breakfast cereals (blends of highly refined sugars, flours and seed oils) in their lockers so they can feed their hunger pangs between classes, and many of them are downing two or more cans of sugary drinks per day. Such foods are designed to keep us coming back for more and more. Because most industrial foods are highly caloric and lack micronutrients, many young people are overweight, nutrient-deficient and susceptible to diabetes.

Alternative? Many clinicians across North America and Western Europe are helping patients reverse diabetic symptoms with no medications. This is a functional medicine approach, getting to the root cause, and prescribing not pharmaceuticals, but dietary and lifestyle changes.

While it is advised that people make these changes under the guidance of a physician, there are published guidelines, such as “Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes”

Gary Engstrom, Cannon Falls

Mars landing

This NASA milestone brings pride in accomplishment and staff

I’m a senior citizen, a retired math teacher, who many times has shared with others the exciting successes of NASA, including the U.S. moon landing, and then Monday’s successful landing on Mars. On TV, I have watched both the anxiety and jubilation of NASA’s engineers and staff as their successes were broadcast worldwide from Mission Control.

Monday’s scene was noticeably different, however. The NASA celebration included young women.

In the past, I had observed only men in white shirts and black horn-rimmed glasses. Never before have I witnessed such a celebration where young women were exchanging high-fives and handshakes with fellow NASA staff. I was so proud of all these women and men at NASA who have worked diligently to enable NASA successes, like Monday’s. It’s long overdue that women are included in the NASA program and share in the celebrations of their successes. I’m looking forward to more successes and celebrations by NASA that I now know include many intelligent, talented women in science and engineering.

Cheryl Coulter, Bloomington

Distracted driving

Would another law resolve problem of distracted driving?

The Editorial Board writes in support of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson’s proposals to increase both restrictions on the use of mobile devices while driving and punitive measures for violations. (“Get serious about distracted driving,” Nov. 26.)

One rationale used for backing these ideas is the existence of similar laws in other states, but no data are presented on their effectiveness and what, if any, additional resources were allocated for enforcement.

Presently, we have traffic laws that every person reading these words knows are constantly violated with impunity, and that authorities lack the resources required for necessary prevention and intervention.

New laws may make some feel as if something has been done to stop the foolishness and selfishness, but those who patrol and those who are victimized know better.

John Ammerman, Minneapolis

No baby talk

All seniors want is respect they have earned over years

I saw the article titled “Don’t give me any baby talk!” and it was all I could do to keep from tossing my figurative hat in the air and shouting, “Huzzah!”

I’m a 63-year-old nurse with 41 years of experience, graduated from a university program cum laude with a bachelor’s degree and spent 33 years working in a level one trauma center, yet when I go out to eat, the wait staff invariably talks to me as if I have the IQ of a large rutabaga. Enough, already!

This article ought to be posted in every workplace in America, and staff ought to be trained to speak to people of any age with respect for their intelligence and life experience.

Sharon Casey, St. Paul

Sports

Where is coverage of women Gophers? Reader wants equal time

I graduated from college 10 years before Title IX, but I have remained an avid follower of women’s sports. I, too, was a talented athlete but never had the chance to participate the way girls do now, which only adds to the interest I take in them. You can’t imagine how angry I was when I glanced over the sidebar on page one this morning and saw “Gophers Fall for First Time.” Which Gophers? What sport? Lindsay Whalen’s lady Gophers played and WON last night — why wasn’t that noted? Our lady volleyball team has just been given a No. 2 seed for the national tournament, and one has to hunt mighty hard on the last page of the sports section to even find a game time for them (if there is one listed).

It’s time our sports pages began to give the women equal time in all the sports they play. We’ve been waiting a long time for this, and I, for one, am tired of waiting.

Gail Kleven, Bloomington