We pay more for healthcare than the rest of the world and get less (Opinion)

Health care

Regarding “‘It’s OK if You Die’ – Because Ben Taub is the People’s Hospital (Sage)” (March 19): Tears came to my eyes as I realized Dr. Nuila’s experience with her patient mirrored mine in 1988, as an immigrant hospice social worker. Both patients died peacefully. Ben Taub offers universal non-profit healthcare to patients, whether they are insured or not. When healthcare is denied, people wait until they need emergency room; these costs are high and paid for by us through taxes.

Right now, I have Medicaid clients with cases where cost, not care, is the priority. They are denied their effective drug because it costs more than another, delaying infusions and leading to illness and hospitalization. Insurance companies do it too. We pay more than the rest of the world and most of us get less.

Through the British National Health Service, I have achieved more. In 1948 my immigrant mother survived her illness; I came home from the orphanage, came to the United States, became an American citizen and got my master’s degree. Excellent health care also benefits the recipient and their families. As we say here, “I have a deal for you”. Let’s stop talking only about the benefits of universal health care and let’s make it happen.

Angela M. Arney, Houston

Dr. Ricardo Nuila’s essay was inspiring: If your life depended on it, you couldn’t devise a more expensive, inefficient, unfair, and complicated health care system than we have in this country. We are the wealthiest nation on earth, yet our life expectancy, infant mortality and other measures are lower than in many other countries.” There are two causes: greed and the inability to follow the golden rule of treating others as you want to be treated. There must be a better way.

David McMillin, The Woods

HISD extension

Regarding “Dutton: My amendment allows TEA to take over HISD. I have no regrets” (March 13): State Representative Harold Dutton may be proud of what he has done, setting in motion the Texas Education Agency’s ability to take over the Houston Independent School District. But he’s practically on the side of government allies Greg Abbott, Education Commissioner Mike Morath and businessmen ready to rake in millions of state dollars for charters and vouchers.

While Rep. Dutton appears to have approached them, Houston teachers and schools have taken matters into their own hands. As of 2019, 94 percent of HISD campuses have earned an A, B, or C rating, for an overall districtwide rating of B+. Rep. Dutton can talk all she wants about failing schools; a B+ is not failing in my book.

Instead of offering Houston students on a platter to people who don’t care about public education, Rep. Dutton could have pushed to fund community schools that provide inclusive services that low-income students need, such as health clinics, banks food and clothing, extra tutoring and enrichment lessons. And he could have applied for state funding to pay competitive salaries to hire more teachers.

There will come a time when we can say “we told you so”. State takeovers are power grabs that don’t necessarily boost student achievement. Houston students deserve a lot of credit for what they have accomplished. And they deserve the right resources to continue the progress.

Austin lawmakers: Kick yourself out of Houston schools unless you offer something that will actually be good for students.

Jackie Anderson, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers

Since your council shares Harold Dutton’s frustration, and indicated why he introduced House Bill 1842 in 2015, ask him this question: Why didn’t he have the same frustration over 20 years ago? The schools in his district didn’t just start failing. They failed.

He has been in office for over 30 years and just recently decided to do something about failing campuses in his district. He is sad when politicians get elected over and over again, probably because of his name recognition. We need time limits for this reason. His frustration is now the frustration of thousands of children, parents, teachers and urban communities.

John Glenn, Fresno

Invasion of Iraq

On “20 years after the US invasion, Iraq is a freer place, but not a promising place” (March 20): I started my energy consulting business three months before the 1973 oil embargo. My timing it was good, but my acceptance was poor. Which is a better buy: an accurate negative forecast or an inaccurate positive forecast?

The night the first attack happened, I was asked to appear on KHOU’s Channel 11 with Steve Smith. Congressman Tom Delay was also there to provide input. (At the time he was a Republican leader in the House). The bombings started and Channel 11 showed the public filling up the cars. Steve asked what the price of WTI oil would be the next day. My prediction was that it would go down big time. The next night, I was right. Both feared that the price of oil would go up.

I have never accepted President Bush’s idea that the United States should react to 9/11. I offered him a plan, similar to the US exit from Japan: write their new constitution and leave troops to protect them from other nations. Also, have a plan on how to distribute your wealth to the people, fairly, and how to operate as a true democracy.

This was one of my best trend discontinuity proposals. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have Germany, Japan, the United States and Iraq as model countries of the world today?

Dale Steffes, Houston

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