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LETTERS for August 22 issue

August 22, 2013
Lahaina News

Ride a scooter to avoid traffic delays

Su Campos writes (Letters, Aug. 8) about the underground construction just north of Kaanapali Parkway and how it is affecting her customers.

She demands that southbound traffic be rerouted through the Kaanapali Resort, so her customers won't be impacted on their way to her place of business.

Article Photos

If Ms. Campos had thought her proposal through, she'd realize that doing what she demands would slow southbound traffic down even worse than what we all have to deal with currently.

The rerouted southbound traffic would have to deal with two stop signs and a traffic light, plus the occasional pedestrian crossing the parkway, which brings everything to a screeching stop. Her customers would be even more unhappy.

The easy fix? Ride a scooter. It's a lot of fun passing all those cars in the bike lane.

PETE FANARKISS, Lahaina

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Mentors sought for LHS students

The Lahainaluna High School Health and Medical Services Pathway students are seeking health care exposure, volunteer and service experiences.

If you or someone you know is willing to open your door to enhance the educational opportunities for these students, who are professionally prepared to observe and even for service, please contact me at malia_shimomura@notes.k12.hi.us or (808) 662-3979, extension 317.

The program is grateful to those who have already partnered with students.

MALIA SHIMOMURA, Lahainaluna High School

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Boo Boo Zoo needs donations

The only reason The Boo Boo Zoo has been able to go on this long is through the financial support of people like you.

The Boo Boo Zoo is struggling right now. Our donations have been very slow lately, and we know that it is because we are not the only ones going through hard times.

The storms have been hard on our refuge, and we have been forced to make many costly improvements to our facility lately.

These expenses were necessary, but have cut deeply into our general operating funds.

To continue the 24-hour care for the many animals we have, and to ensure our continued service to the Maui community, we desperately need your help.

Please help us continue and donate here: www.booboozoo.org/Donate.html.

EVERY single dollar helps. Can you imagine if every single one of our supporters gave $10? The result would be amazing.

EAST MAUI ANIMAL REFUGE, Haiku

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More trees means more bird waste

Is County Councilman Robert Carroll going to also fund the cost of washing all the bird excrement off our cars when we are forced to park under all the trees his recent proposals will require?

Do I send my claims to the county, or do I just send it to him personally?

JERRY PILLER, Kihei

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Government can't effectively control health care

When President Obama hawks the wonders of the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I'm reminded of those "As Seen on TV" products.

True believers ridiculed critics of the Independent Payment Advisory Board and its unchecked power to ration health care. They were impressed by the $575 billion cut to Medicare, although lower payments lead physicians to accept fewer Medicare patients. They cheered because 11 million Americans will be added to the Medicaid rolls over the next ten years. While Medicaid looks like it's a good deal with its low co-pays, provider payments are so low that only one-third of physicians accept new Medicaid patients.

True believers scoffed at claims of loss of privacy. After the NSA snooping revelations, a Pew survey revealed that 70 percent of Americans believe the government is using data for purposes other than fighting terrorism. Not only could unethical employees misuse health and financial information, the health "Data Hub" can be shared among seven federal agencies for ill-defined "routine uses."

President Obama has repeatedly promised that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it." Even his Praetorian Guard has now defected. The National Treasury Employees Union - which represents the IRS folks who are ultimately in charge of ObamaCare - does not want its members to be "pushed out" of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and into the insurance exchanges.

Candidate Obama promised: "If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is that you will spend less on premiums." Au contraire. Insurance premiums have risen an average of 30 percent since ObamaCare's enactment.

Insurance will cost less for the lucky 26 million Americans who are eligible for health insurance exchange subsidies that can pay more than half the cost of policies. Subsidies - paid directly to insurance companies - are available for those with incomes from 138 percent ($15,415 for individuals; $29,326 for a family of four) to 400 percent ($45,960 for individuals; $94,200 for a family of four) of the poverty level. The ACA was to have employers report whether they were offering employees "affordable" care. Now, with the employer mandate delayed, exchanges may accept applicants' statements that they qualify for subsidies without further verification.

Another wrinkle in the program could limit access to care. If enrollees pay one month's premium, exchanges must provide a grace period of three consecutive months during which coverage cannot be terminated. However, insurers are only required to pay claims during the first 30 days of the grace period.

Thus, patients with valid insurance cards in hand can seek treatment at a doctor's office on day 31 through 90 of the grace period. When the physician in good faith submits a claim to the insurer, the claim can be denied. Although the physician can bill the patient, realistically, many patients simply will not pay. Chalk up another win for the insurance industry, which has off-loaded two-thirds of the risk of nonpayment onto physicians.

ObamaCare ignores human nature. Despite the claimed efforts to have patients adopt behaviors that help control costs, two recent studies in the journal Health Affairs demonstrate that people do not change merely because you tell them to.

Uninsured and Medicaid patients reported that they preferred care in an emergency room to a doctor's office. For Medicaid patients, the financial cost of an ER visit and the physician's office were similar, but the ER was more convenient. The uninsured reported the cost of office care was higher because of additional testing or specialist visits.

Another study revealed that a majority of patients didn't want costs to enter into their medical decisions. Some participants even chose expensive care "out of spite" because of antagonism toward their insurance company.

Hucksterism cannot overcome reality. Government efforts at mass control are doomed. Successful reform requires innovation, maximization of personal engagement with medical treatment, and minimization of third party involvement. ObamaCare does the opposite.

DR. MARILYN M. SINGLETON

 
 
 

 

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