Kingston Times letters (3/16-23)

Climate change
isn’t going away

Climate change is real and it’s primarily caused by fossil fuel emissions of carbon and methane put into the atmosphere by human activity. There’s no longer any rational doubt about this. It’s affirmed by 97-98 percent of the world’s credible climate scientists and organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) and by every college, university and study group with acknowledged academic standing in every country. Here in the United States, NASA, under the leadership of James Hansen, recognized and began to study it in the 1970s. The U.S. military and CIA have said for decades that it’s a major threat to the security of the United Sates in that it will cause tremendous environmental destruction and a consequent disruption of world order which it will be their responsibility to deal with.

We already see this in the part that the worst droughts in history played in precipitating the civil war in Syria and are right now directly causing the mass immigrations out of Africa into Europe of people fleeing land that is no longer habitable. Places like northern Germany, Holland, the United Kingdom and New York City are currently planning and building sea walls which will cost billions of dollars. Money speaks as loudly as words: no major insurance company in the U.S. will give affordable coverage to seaside property anywhere. Lumber companies are studying the effects of warming on temperate locations where they grow trees.

These facts are now denied only by small but very vocal Conservative groups like our Republican Party that are financed by money from large fossil fuel energy companies. Science tells us that climate change has the potential to destroy life as we know it on this planet. It’s going much faster than previously projected and is about to hit “tipping points” in which the very warming itself causes more warming that will spiral into a chain reaction that cannot be reversed no matter what we do. Representative Faso, what do you think about climate change and what are you doing about it?

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Ralph Moseley
Bearsville

 

Medicare under attack

Medicare provides health insurance for most Americans over 65 years old (not to be confused with Medicaid which provides health insurance for the poor). The GOP health plan under discussion in Congress to replace the Affordable Care Act would pull tens of billions of dollars away from Medicare, harming it and making it insolvent in just a few years. This GOP health plan cuts money from Medicare in order to reduce taxes for wealthy individuals who earn over $200,000 per year and in order to benefit prescription drug companies by eliminating fees which they now must pay into Medicare under the Affordable Care Act. This is unfair to the middle class and clearly unacceptable. Mr. Trump you promised not to touch Medicare. Why are you giving your full support to this GOP healthcare plan which undermines Medicare?

Georgia Asher
Shady

 

It’s about controlling women

Under the newly proposed healthcare plan, Planned Parenthood would be “defunded” — ineligible for Medicaid reimbursement for non-abortion health services it provides to women on Medicaid (it already is ineligible for reimbursement for abortion). Theoretically, the bill lays out objective criteria a medical provider must meet to lose its Medicaid eligibility; practically, as the Congressional Budget Office confirmed, Planned Parenthood is the only medical provider that meets all four criteria. In other words, a private doctor who performs abortions does not lose her eligibility for Medicaid reimbursement for non-abortion services she provides. Only Planned Parenthood does.

The savings to the federal budget by defunding Planned Parenthood is negligible — $234 million per year. Consider, for example, that the plan offers a yearly tax break of almost $16 billion for those who earn over a million dollars a year, and you can see how insignificant this saving really is.

So what will defunding Planned Parenthood achieve? Because Planned Parenthood provides services that help women avoid pregnancies, such as birth control and family planning counseling, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that defunding Planned Parenthood would result in several thousand more births by women who no longer have access to preventative care. Aside from the human cost of forcing women to carry and birth pregnancies they’d have rather avoided, many of these births would be paid for by Medicaid, and these children would be eligible for Medicaid. This reduces the actual savings to Medicaid to $157 million a year.

This is not about money. This is not about abortion, a service for which Planned Parenthood already does not receive federal money. This is about reducing a woman’s access to health services and controlling women’s bodies. Without access to reproductive services and birth control, women will always be unequal to men. If Representative John Faso Claims to care about women’s issues and women’s rights, he cannot vote for a bill that defunds Planned Parenthood.

Jordana Jampel
Clintondale

 

Cancer survivors know ACA’s value

President Trump and congressional Republicans are seeking to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. Trump claimed: “People hate it. But now they see that the end is coming and they’re saying, oh, maybe we love it. There’s nothing to love. It’s a disaster, folks. OK? ”

Breast cancer survivor, Xeni Jardins points out: “There’s nothing to love about cancer and the experience of going through cancer … But the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, for me meant that I was able to get the life-saving treatment … It’s really important for Planned Parenthood, and other kinds of clinics that offer low-cost cancer screening. If that gets wiped away, we’re going to see a lot of people who don’t get diagnosed until much later stage when the treatment options are brutal and limited.

“When I was receiving cancer treatment, there was one very important drug that kept me from vomiting. And when you’re going through cancer, if you aren’t able to keep down food, it’s not a good thing. That drug costs 800 bucks a pill before the Affordable Care Act, and now those kinds of prescriptions cost what I can afford.

“The bottom line is this is an imperfect system, the Affordable Care Act was a compromise, as everything in politics is. But this is better than no protections at all. I know men and women who died early, who died bankrupt and whose quality of life was destroyed by the fact that they did not have access to affordable care.

“When you have to choose between your rent, your food, your children’s food and your cancer treatment, you’re not living in a civilized nation. I remember an America where we cared about the lives of our people. It’s not OK to turn cancer into a political football.”

Jim O’Leary
Delhi

 

Bridges, not the wall

Mr. President, let’s not build the wall that is an attack on the country’s Constitutional, democratic guarantees to genuine “open borders” and the rewards of citizenry.  Let’s build the kind of bridge(s) that reinforces those guarantees:

• Bridge to affordable healthcare for all working classes

• Bridge to quality housing that addresses the homeless crisis

• Bridge to quality education that prepares a diversity of citizenry in a high-[BULLET] tech world to maintain quality control at home and the competitive edge abroad

• Bridge to a reformed justice system that rejects the disproportionate incarceration of those of color

• Bridge that strengthens the Constitutional guarantee of the right to vote in these United States

• Bridge to a means to truly begin the process of deconstructing the deep isms/phobia of race, ethnicity, religion, sexism, etc.

Those, Mr. President, should be the real focus of your Wall; and if so I, for one, along with the many others, would be willing to concede you our support.

Dr. A.J. Williams-Myers
New Paltz

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