LETTERS for January 13 issue
GLAD TO SEE NEW GREEN WASTE FACILITY
What a wonderful green start for Maui in 2011! West Maui finally has a green waste facility, and it’s affordable. Mahalo to everyone involved in bringing such a great opportunity for Maui to the West Side.
Across from Napili Park, people may dump green waste for $5/load. It is so much more convenient than driving to Olowalu, keeping green waste out of the landfill is more economical, and having the waste reused for compost is an added bonus. Please don’t litter green waste now that we have a place to take it that is convenient, affordable and helps the ‘aina. Also, I must say that I really like the plastic bag ban, as it forces me to be more aware of what I am doing and what I am buying. I have forgotten a few times and had to turn around to remember to bring my own bag, but it is worth it knowing that soon there won’t be as much thoughtless (non-biodegradable) litter out there.
I hope in 2012 we can add that the green waste facility has been expanded to also accept recyclables, and we won’t have to go all the way to Olowalu for that. Isn’t it odd how redemption stations can pop up all over, but they won’t take your recycles?
SADAO HORIKE, Lahaina
HAWAII NEEDS INDEPENDENCE
Native Hawaiians moving forward with their government is an issue that needs widespread community discussion. I support a sovereign Hawaii, but not based on race. The overthrown Kingdom of Hawaii was not based on race, and I’m glad the federal government didn’t pass the Akaka Bill.
How can someone else allow you to be sovereign? Either you’re in charge of your own destiny or you are not. Did early settlers in America wait for Britain to pass a law to give them independence? No — they themselves declared independence from Britain.
Hawaii is at a major crossroads right now — our infrastructure is aging, our landfills are overflowing and our resources are dwindling. We need to declare independence from Mainland practices that are not benefitting us and bargain with access to our land as a most isolated place on the planet. We are islanders who need to realize we cannot continue to live with a continental mentality.
Mahalo to the Maui County Council; the plastic bag ban is a great step in the right direction for a more conscientious lifestyle. A lifestyle where we realize the most important thing is to have shelter, food, family, friends and maintained infrastructure, not pieces of paper with numbers on them.
Leaders of Hawaii, please lead us to a future where we who actually live here determine our own fate and treasure our ancestral abilities to live in balance with the land and ocean.
Checking blood quantum at the door is a waste of time.
KAIMILOA WRIGHT, Kahului
I CAN COOK — JUST NOT ARMENIAN DISHES
I have to answer my husband Blackie Gadarian’s letter of accusations about my poor cooking skills.
For many years after we married, he ate my cooking consisting of meatloaf, spaghetti, beef stew, etc., even though they never came out the same way each time.
Blackie gave me an Armenian cookbook and asked me to cook the recipes. During the 50 years we have been married, I have tried to cook these strange Armenian recipes, but to no avail.
I have given up. If Blackie wants an Armenian dinner, he should have married an Armenian.
SARA GADARIAN, Lahaina
WILL MAYOR ARAKAWA FIX LOWER HONOAPIILANI ROAD?
Should I assume now that Alan Arakawa is back in the mayor’s seat that we might actually see the final repaving of Lower Honoapiilani Road… the one section that was ignored between Kahana and Napili?
As you remember, I wrote numerous letters and bitched about the section from Napili to Kapalua back when Alan was mayor, and it was repaved in December of 2005. I was very pleased, but here it is 2011, and the poor residents of the lower road that live on the pothole-ridden section still suffer!
Mayor Tavares neglected to complete the project Alan had started. So, Alan, we have been waiting for your return to finish the much-needed work on our beloved lower road.
SU CAMPOS, Napili
BILL WOULD BAN PRODUCTS MADE FROM FORCE FEEDING
A bill proposal to ban the sale and production of products made from force feeding ducks and geese (e.g., foie gras) in Hawaii will be taken up again at the Hawaii Legislature.
In your communications, emphasize “force feeding” instead of “foie gras.”
Several hearings will take place soon to hopefully pass this into law. Last year, the bill failed because of many misleading statements made by those against Senate Bill 2170 on why force feeding is NOT cruel. There was not enough supporting testimony in favor of the ban and not enough scientific evidence to refute the misleading statements.
The testimonies of experts on poultry, vets and scientists have been compiled as a resource that testify to the cruelty.
We did not have enough volunteers to lick this injustice of force feeding. Testimony will help bring relief to the suffering birds, that are treated as objects and not the living beings they are.
The European Union has already done scientific studies and had already issued a directive in 2004 to phase out force feeding in France and Hungary by 2019.
Does a civilized people accept the intentional infliction of pain and suffering to create a diseased liver as a food product today? Laws reflect society’s values, don’t they? For comments, questions or to volunteer, call 879-0025
BARBARA STEINBERG, Kihei
‘BIRTHERS’ CHALLENGE OBAMA’S CITIZENSHIP
I read that Gov. Neil Abercrombie criticizes “Birthers,” a group of people so-named because they argue that President Barack Obama’s mother gave birth to him outside of the United States. They are ridiculed for their position.
Recently, Anderson Cooper went “head-to-head” with Texas State Rep. Leo Berman, who reportedly expressed doubt about Obama’s birthplace.
Obama’s campaign came up with a copy of his Hawaii birth certificate and posted it online. The certificate states Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 4, 1961.
The Constitution states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…”
The first sentence disqualified Barack Obama with what some say is a technicality. Obama is not technically a natural born American citizen. He was born a British citizen and then became a citizen of Kenya after it declared its independence. At age 23, Kenyan law reportedly insists you must swear allegiance to Kenya or lose citizenship.
Obama reportedly did not swear allegiance to Kenya.
He apparently didn’t bother to swear allegiance to the United States either, becoming a man without a country.
If Obama’s critics are technically correct, then Obama is technically wrong and should be impeached.
ALFRED BROCK, Via E-mail
‘OBAMACARE’ WILL DAMAGE HEALTHCARE INFRASTRUCTURE
While making the case for his health reform package, President Obama argued that his proposal would make life easier for small business owners.
Unfortunately, Obamacare threatens to undermine a group of small business owners that is perhaps more important than any other to his reform effort: doctors in private practice.
The number of privately owned medical practices has declined sharply in the past five years. In 2005, at least two-thirds of practices were in private hands. That figure has dropped to less than half today, and it’s expected to sink below 40 percent by next year.
Many doctors, specifically those who have just completed a resident specialty, are now choosing not to enter private practice in the first place. Instead, they’re heading to salaried positions at large hospitals. Last year, 49 percent of first-year specialists chose hospital employment.
Obamacare will only exacerbate these trends. Some of the law’s mandates will make it more expensive to operate small practices, even though the rules are supposed to reduce medical costs.
Take the new law’s health IT initiative, which pushes doctors to set up extensive electronic health records in hopes of better coordinating care among providers. More information, the law’s boosters argue, means less waste and lower costs. But many private practices can’t afford to drop five or six figures on expensive health IT systems that may not even save them money.
Boosters of health IT acknowledge that large organizations are more likely to enjoy its benefits. But shoving patients into ever-larger medical groups may not actually bring down costs.
The reason, as representatives of the American Medical Association recently warned, is that big hospital networks have greater market power. They can use that power to keep prices high, and there’s little that insurers — and even less that consumers — can do about it.
Paying more for treatment doesn’t necessarily guarantee better access or quality. Without an ownership stake in their practices, salaried doctors have an incentive to work the hours for which they’re paid — and no more. Fewer hours for doctors means fewer appointments for patients.
History demonstrates that these incentives matter. In the 1990s, several large hospitals bought up practices and put doctors on flat salaries. As Dr. Bill Jessee, CEO of the Medical Group Management Association, observed, doctors suddenly “weren’t working as hard as they were before their practice was acquired.”
Proponents of Obamacare have conveniently ignored these lessons. President Obama’s top health care aide, Nancy-Ann DeParle, wrote in the August issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine that the new law is “likely to lead to the vertical organization of providers and accelerate physician employment by hospitals.” These organizations are called Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs.
Such vertical integration may prove costly. Already, hospitals lose money on a substantial chunk of the people they see. In New York, for example, hospitals take a loss on more than 70 percent of patients.
That’s mostly because of the stingy reimbursement rates paid by government health programs like Medicare and Medicaid. In 2008, the average Medicare reimbursement in New York represented a 4.7 percent underpayment. Medicaid’s reimbursements were even worse — as little as 64 percent of a hospital’s actual treatment cost. Those with private insurance are forced to pay more for care to make up the difference.
Hospitals’ Medicaid losses are compounded by the fact that the program’s beneficiaries use far more medical services than other patients. On average, the privately insured visit the doctor three-and-a-half times a year. Medicaid patients make an average of seven visits.
Yet Obamacare will add 18 million new individuals to the program’s rolls by the end of the decade, and thus stretch our healthcare infrastructure even thinner.
Primary care physicians are already in short supply. The Center for Workforce Studies predicts that by 2020, there will be a shortage of 45,000 family doctors and 46,000 surgeons. Unfortunately, Obamacare provides no funding to significantly increase their numbers.
Emergency rooms will have to pick up the slack. The new law could result in as many as 41 million additional trips to the emergency room each year.
The health reform law was sold as a way to fill in the cracks in America’s fractured healthcare system. Instead, it has only made them wider.
SALLY C. PIPES, President, Pacific Research Institute