Mail and Commentary 

Health Care. It's the Topic Du Jour

In his article in the July 29, 2009, BW (Opinion, "Health Care RX"), Dr. Krouth blames some healthcare expense on excessive civil liability. There is probably a good measure of truth to this. I can appreciate the dilemma of physicians caught between contradictory pressures for selectiveness and thoroughness. Some unavoidably bad outcomes maybe do get turned into treasure hunts.

However, I have also seen ethical deficiencies in respectable facilities. I highly suspect the underlying problem may be pursuit of privilege as a goal instead of a tool. At times I marvel that the rate of bad outcome isn't higher. A major pet peeve of mine is patient specimen identification. At a Naval hospital where I worked in the early 1980s, about half the samples were submitted unlabeled despite ostensible (but unenforced) policies. In one area, some lab results were reported without actual testing, and this was known by the pathologist and clinicians. From my perspective, it appeared that the only thing the chain of command did with systematic diligence and competence was whistleblower retaliation.

In more recent history, Joint Commission requirements curb some of the problems. It can still take intensive babysitting and sometimes imminent threat of outside complaint by the conscientious technologist to get compliance. It has already taken one complaint to outside authority to curb retaliation attempts.

I would like to see tort reform that makes the system more honest, e.g. placing all attorneys under oath. (Dream on!) Making categories of prospective defendants immune to civil liability is not a good idea.

--Martin J. Grumet, medical technologist (ASCP), Boise

Americans don't get a break from the health-care crisis so Congress shouldn't get a break until they vote on the health care bill and fix it.

Every day, 14,000 Americans lose their health coverage; 17,000 file for bankruptcy because they can't pay their medical bills every week; 20,000 people die each year because they cannot afford health insurance.

I know people who suffer because they have no health insurance.

Any delay in passing health legislation is despicable.

Idaho's two U.S. House members oppose reforming the nation's health-care system. Of course, they have great health insurance. They don't need to worry about paying for medicine.

Please call their offices (Minnick: 208-888-3188 and Simpson: 208-334-1953) and demand that they vote for the health care bill!

--Richard Mussler-Wright, Boise

[Congressman Mike] Simpson is partly right (BW, News, "Idaho Politicos Hedge on Health Reform," Aug. 5, 2009). This health-reform effort does not appear [to] do enough to incentivise prevention. I think it was Oregon Sen. Wyden who had a proposal for employer tax breaks for providing prevention programs to employees. Who can tell what is really going on, though. There are so many plans on the table. It appears that our representation has been lost in the fog as well.

--devehf, BW online

Boise, You "Hippie-Crits"

Dear Boise Weekly, I have a question. I realize that today's economy is resting solely on the consumer's "supply and demand" mentality and that "going green" may actually be the more sufficient economic direction. That by buying local organic fruits and vegetables, we're not only supporting the local economy but also assisting in maintaining a healthier lifestyle. So then why is it that practically all I can buy is fried at every outdoor Boise community event and festival? The vendors shuffle in their propane tanks and gas grills so that I may enjoy everything from burgers to pulled pork. I understand that these are local businesses supporting local events, but why are there no organic vegetable or fresh fruit stands in sight? We see plenty during our regular visits to the Saturday market. Even Thursday's market never leaves us without these fresh, locally grown necessities. So then why at these mass community gatherings do I not even have the options of these foods from the vendors that are supplied? Some apples or bananas would easily suffice these needs. It's no secret that Boise's urban comfortable scene promotes and flaunts its earthly attitudes about these topics. The masses that attend such events as Eagle Island and Goddess Fest have these similar mentalities about eating simply more raw or organic. So if this be the masses' choice of consumption, why is it then never the option? Why does Boise promote earth-friendly materials and ideals but when put to the challenge fall back to its "hippie-crit" ways?

--Starr Garcia, Boise

The Paper Trail

What's worse than the Idaho Statesman? How about reducing it to a few poorly designed advertisements, calling it the "Weekly Marketplace" and dumping it on people's lawns for free?

After calling the Statesman about six times in effort to stop the Weekly Marketplace's imminent trip to my recycling bin, I am still hit with the paper every week. All the more reason for my reluctance in supporting what I already consider a poorly written, designed and now marketed paper.

I suppose I'm preaching to the choir if you're reading this in the Boise Weekly.

--Noel Weber, Boise

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