May 2-8, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

Watch Out on Health Care

Re Steven Hahn's Overview of S.B. 840 ("Does California Have the Cure?" MetroNews, April 18):

Mr. Hahn provides some of the best coverage that this bill has received here in Silicon Valley. An additional detail is that the Lewin Group has done a complete computer modeling of the proposal covering 10 years. No other health-care reform proposal has this level of financial detail to back up its legislative objectives.

The Lewin Group has over 25 years' experience is modeling health-care financial studies. They prepared the 2004 comparison of the Kerry-Bush campaign health-care proposals so they are nationally recognized experts.

As Marcia Angell, former New England Journal of Medicine editor, wrote in her New York Times commentary on Oct 13, 2002, the private health insurers spend less then 75 percent of their premium dollars on health care, while Medicare spends 97 percent of its funding dollars on health care. Government already spends 60 percent of the health-care dollars in this country. Do you really think it is better to have those dollars go to private health-care companies where only 75 percent of the funds is for patient care or through an expanded form of Medicare where 97 percent of the funds is for patient care? It will not affect your ongoing doctor care access.

The Romney-Massachusetts program is following the 75 percent model. We can do better in California.

Gerald W. Hunt, San Jose

Arnie, Get It Done

I somehow believe that the governor sees the need for S.B. 840 and might even sign it if he can overcome any allegiances he may have to the insurance industry as a result of their support for him during the recent election.

While this is a radical change in the delivery of health care and would pretty much eliminate an industry, conditions require a radical change and politicians should recognize just who they represent and who elects them.

The governor's bill seems to be patterned after the Massachusetts plan, which is already having its problems and has recently seen a rate increase. California's needs are not comparable to that of most other states due its geographical and population size. Let's get this done, once and for all!!

Sidney Cohn, Ojai

Do They Know It's Earth Day At All?

Where was Earth Day in the South Bay? Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22, my husband and I opened up the newspaper to look for local Earth Day events and discovered that in the Bay Area, there really wasn't much being offered. He had just moved here from Chicago, and back there, a big Earth Day Convention was being held. Surely in "green friendly" Northern California, there would be plenty of activities for us to participate in. However, that wasn't the case. There were a few on Saturday which included a computer e-waste recycling activity at the Pleasanton Fairgrounds. That really wasn't much of an activity to drive up, drop off and then leave. We thought there would be talks or demonstrations and booths but we couldn't find any in the South Bay. I insisted that Sunday would be better because that was actually Earth Day. Alas, Sunday wasn't any better. There was something in San Francisco—too far for those of us trying to conserve our carbon emissions; something in Lafayette—again too far, but finally an event in Sunnyvale. So we drove to Sunnyvale only to find a small community garden selling plants and offering tips and ideas. The garden wasn't offering its guests much except a little tour and a raffle of plants. So why didn't we look for activities earlier? We did. We had tried to get into a beach cleaning at Natural Bridges State Park, but it was only accepting 50 volunteers and was already full 2 weeks in advance. If only each of the cities were doing an activity—maybe a school could do a local neighborhood trash cleanup or maybe downtown could have hosted booths on organic living. We take it for granted in Northern California that we're already recycling. We already know about being "green." But do we really? Yes, we try to make Earth Day every day, but on a special day such as April 22, why didn't we do something even bigger? What a shame it was that San Jose, Milpitas, Fremont, etc., didn't take the initiative to host an event recognizing the many things we could do for the planet. What a waste it was that we didn't make more of a priority to celebrate the day as the beginning of living a more earth-friendly life. I'm hoping next year more cities in Northern California, especially the communities in San Jose, will take the torch and lead the way to being "green."

Ann A. Santos, San Jose

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