Stefanie Miller’s article (First Person, “Sick as it gets,” Aug. 4-11) bemoaning the state of healthcare in the US states that we are not spending enough for health care when in fact we are spending too much. In the past twenty years the growth of spending on health care has exploded. We now devote between 15% and 20% of our GNP on health and it is producing diminishing returns.
As a nation we outspend other developed nations two to one on a per capita basis. Yet, despite this spending we are no longer living the longest, our obesity rates are climbing, and our children are no longer the tallest. The reason is a system without priorities, not lack of medical spending.
The fact is that 5% of the patients in this country use up over half of all medical dollars. We need to stop paying for treatments that do not cure. Simply extending one’s life by a year or two is nice ... but it’s too expensive to subsidize nationally.
The elderly because of their voting clout get too much, too. Nearly one third of all medical spending is spent on the last year of life. We need to seriously study the way the medical community is abusing their skills to extract money out of taxpayers.
Premature babies are often premature for a reason and too much effort and resources are used to preserve their lives even though most will suffer lifelong medical conditions and learning disabilities.
Lastly, lifestyle choices are responsible for over half of all medical expenses in Indiana. I think the real debate is right here. Do we want to pay for our neighbors’ lousy health habits or should we all be personally responsible. If we feel like anything we do, over eat, smoke, recreational drugs, speed in our cars or drive motorcycles can be fixed later ... we will continue to make the wrong decisions about our lives.
It’s time we got the government out of our lives in these matters or we will give up our ability to make these bad choices freely. Personally, I'd rather be free and suffer the consequences than told what to do with my life. This road to universal health care is a blind alley to having the do-gooders in this country ruling your life.
Steven Pettinga Indianapolis
A poverty stricken source of food or a useful resource to a smart shopper? (Hammer, “Martial law grocery shopping,” July 21-28) I ask you this sir. Let us think out loud for a moment. What purpose does it serve to shop at an ungodly over priced commercial grocery store? So I can walk in and get constantly pitched the idea that I want Spider-man Spaghettios instead of the generic kind. Or maybe so I can hold my head up high, knowing that I’ve joined the upper ranks of the “classy” grocery store population. I need to be seen there so complete strangers know how much I spend on groceries. I must admit that I too assumed that my first time Aldi experience would be a scene of parents beating their children and women giving birth in the aisle. However, after I popped my cherry I would feel a fool to shop anywhere else. But maybe that’s just me. Maybe someone like you needs the security of knowing your Corn Flakes box is going to be spelled correctly. You need the waxed floors and weather channel music other stores offer so you can feel more like a man. It’s hard to find a reason for paying for pretty packages when I know it will inevitably end up in the trash. I also by no means consider myself on the low scale of financial security. I have gotten to this point because I have the ability to conquer and tame the almighty dollar. You say it’s an inconvenience to bag your own groceries!?! Good God man, how lazy are you? If they tell me to save twenty dollars for groceries I must perform a perfect handstand, I would practice them in my spare time like it was cool. Bagging your own groceries seems a small price to pay. It sounds like your shopping comfort spells the very definition of spoiled brat. The stigma of shopping at a Compton style grocery store falls short in comparison to having extra money for Saturday night fiestas. But then again, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m not used to living the pampered lifestyle.
Adam D. Driver Indianapolis
Bob Corya's letter to the editor (Mail, “Hammer was right,” Aug. 4-11) issue brings up too many stereotypes that many on the left rely on. That those on the right are "stupid", blind robotic followers of leaders or that certain unelected "leaders" have control of the Republican Party. The real question is whether this might be a more accurate description of the Democrats.
No one watched the Democrat convention, even democrats. It was boring. There were enough daily updates to cover all the major points. Only political junkies and journalists really cared enough to watch, gavel to gavel.
To assume that conservatives blindly follow Pat Robertson, who is not even elected to lead the Assemblies of God let alone be a spokesman for conservatives, is foolish. Or is it that Democrats assume that since African-Americans have an unelected leader in the Rev. Jesse Jackson that this applies for other groups? Or is it time to question the media's desire to have "spokesmen" for groups as a short cut instead of doing real research?
And do we not have a rather large number of "yellow dog" Democrats who will vote for Democrats no matter who is on the ticket? Why then is it unusual for some Republicans to vote a straight ticket as well? After all Chicago Democrats survive because of straight ticket voting.
And what is with all the rich men who seem to have bought and paid for ownership of the Democrat party? Billionaires like George Soros, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet now basically finance the party. Yuppies run the party and are local state level leaders. In fact the common man seems to be no where to be found in Democrat Party leadership. He is on the outside, looking in. Or voting for Republicans.
And finally that if you do not blindly support every liberal view that you are somehow stupid or uneducated. Maybe it is that conservatives are highly educated. Smart enough to get real jobs rather than just stay within academia for the rest of their lives. And mature enough to deal with responsibility. That may be the reason that the military is 50% Republican, 10% Libertarian but only 15% Democrat. The Democrats seem to have become the party of those who are either misfits, losers or immature. And who are led as blind followers of leaders selected by the media. So much to the point that too many democrats are either immature or educated beyond their intelligence so that even the military can not use them.
Keep believing your stereotypes. It is a good way to under estimate people such as the president. Or those who vote for him.
Greg Dean West Lafayette
I agree that it's wrong for the RIAA to go after people who share music files. The argument they make is that people are stealing music. They use this argument as a red herring to cover up what's really going on.
The real money in music is in the promotion of new artists, not making music that people want to listen to. The recording industry has an interest in not letting people choose what music is good or bad.
If making good music was what the industry was about then they wouldn't be churning out the same type of acts and sounds that they do. They search for a formula, or latch on to a new fad and then promote that and exclude all else.
When people start sharing music on the 'net it means that they're deciding for themselves, and it rocks the boat of the whole industry. Actually making and selling CDs is chicken feed compared to the vested interests of canning and promoting artists like Britney Spears and all of her look-alikes.
Look at all the promoters, caterers and other middle-men who profit from the launch of a new band. The costs are ridiculous. But then the new band sounds like some old band. But it's these middle-men who generate the revenue that the music companies and their subsidiaries are profiting from.
It's not so much that the industry is afraid to take chances with new material, it's just that they already have a money making machine set up and it doesn't allow for anyone to have a voice in what they want to hear.
Joe Wilson Indianapolis