- The Washington Times - Monday, September 27, 2004

The meaning of Bill Clinton’s medical care

The fact that “former President Bill Clinton could get the emergency heart care his survival required within three days underscores a life-and-death difference between medicine under capitalism and under socialism,” argues Dr. Andrew Bernstein (“The significance of Clinton’s surgery, Letter, Sunday).

It sure does: A millionaire gets treated immediately, but if you are poor, you won’t. Dr. Bernstein seems to believe that individuals should not have a right to health care beyond what they can afford.

The United States is thought to be a highly moral society: 44 percent regularly go to a religious service at least once a week. So whatever happened to “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity”?

European countries clearly have problems with their health care systems — but they never peer into the wallets of seriously injured persons for a medical card before admitting them.

Dr. Bernstein’s message for the 45 million uninsured U.S. residents seems to be “get some money or you don’t get treatment.” It makes one think a patient’s bank account status must appear on the chart beside blood pressure and the other vitals. “Quick, nurse, rush this patient to the exit. It looks as if he is becoming terminally poor.”

WILLIAM G. GARRETT

Harrow Middlesex, England

Arizona’s illegals and the establishment

I read your Proposition 200 editorial with great interest (“… While Arizonans debate illegals,” Sunday). As an Arizonan who collected ballot signatures for Proposition 200, I would like to offer what I learned.

Many don’t know that Proposition 200 doesn’t make new laws; it only enforces those already on the books. The 1996 federal Welfare Reform Act excluded illegal aliens from welfare benefits in every state, but not one state has ever enforced it. We hope Arizona’s voters will force our state to be the first.

Attributing the opposition of Arizona’s political and business establishment to their aversion to the “un-American” concepts of people such as racial separatist Virginia Abernethy gives them too much credit. Their opposition to the initiative began the day of filing on July 1, 2003. Dr. Abernethy didn’t arrive until July 26, 2004.

The Republican congressional delegation refuses to support Proposition 200 — even the members who voted for the same provisions in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. Considering that 74 percent of voters approve of it, they say, “I support the principle, but the text is flawed” or, “Prop 200 isn’t the way to achieve it,” or, “It will interfere with federal immigration reform.” We called that “copping out” back in the 1960s, and we still do today. Only Sen. John McCain admits outright opposition, but he understands our frustration. Bless his heart.

We expected Gov. Janet Napolitano’s opposition after she vetoed a 2003 bill requiring only that voters present a photo ID at the polls. She claimed Arizona had no voter fraud.

Last week, 34 employees of the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department were arrested for selling false drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens. The head of Arizona’s Department of Economic Security announced last week that our state has the fastest-growing welfare rolls in the nation. Because most illegals enter through Arizona, it seems possible some cause-and-effect is at work here.

While gathering signatures and talking with voters, I reflected on why people would oppose Proposition 200: Libertarians and globalists oppose anything that hinders illegal immigration.

Others oppose citizens telling government officials what to do. Businesses or other organizations dependent on the expansion of the Spanish-speaking population also oppose implementing into public policy a process for verifying citizenship or immigration status.

Ethnic and illegal alien advocacy groups tend to be prime opponents of Proposition 200, too, and so are the politicians who support them. Labor unions and their affiliates who benefit from illegal aliens also are opponents.

Not-so-obvious opponents are churches and nonprofit groups that receive government funds to provide “back-door,” taxpayer-funded services to immigrants and the government social agencies that provide “front-door” taxpayer-funded services.

All this opposition, even though the only thing Proposition 200 would do is ensure that only citizens vote and collect public welfare benefits.

ANNETTE HETTINGER

Tempe, Ariz.

Presidential debates to lack third-party candidates

I was disappointed that your article on the upcoming presidential debates (“Bush, Kerry agree to 3 debates,” Page 1, Sept. 21) did not mention that the so-called nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates is a creation of the Democratic and Republican national committees, to the exclusion of any third-party candidate.

It was created to prevent a true debate among the candidates. The debates are sponsored by major multinational corporations to lobby their agendas, not the interests of the American public.

The 32-page book of rules to the debate guarantees there will be no true discussion of issues. The town-hall format is a farce because the questions are pre-screened and questioners will be cut off if and when they deviate from the approved questions. No follow-up questions are allowed, and the candidates cannot even challenge each other’s answers.

The news media and the American public should be calling for a real no-holds-barred debate of the issues, including the participation of the leading third-party candidate, to differentiate the candidates for the undecided voter.

MICHAEL D. BROOKS

Atlanta

No bipartisanship on security

Your story didn’t mention it, but at the Sept. 22 announcement of the New Partnership for America’s Future (“House Democrats unveil ‘new partnership’ agenda,” Nation, Thursday), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said, “Democrats recognize, first and foremost, that our highest duty is defending the American people and protecting the homeland.” As usual, Mr. Hoyer’s words are contradicted by his actions. Just two weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks, on Sep. 25, 2001, Mr. Hoyer voted against strengthening our borders and providing deterrence to terrorists.

On July 26 and Nov. 13, 2002, Mr. Hoyer voted against establishing the Department of Homeland Security. What kind of “new partnership” can the American people have with Democrats whom they cannot trust or believe?

W. VERNON GRAY

California, Md.

Eat right with more fruits and veggies

Thank you for pointing out how easy it is to eat more fruits and vegetables (“More fruits and veggies,” Food, Wednesday). Alarmingly, studies show that nearly half of all Americans consume fewer than three servings of fruits and vegetables a day, even though the FDA recommends a minimum of five.

Instead of settling for a bucket of cholesterol-laden, fatty fried chicken for lunch or dinner, why not try a protein-packed veggie burger topped with lettuce and tomatoes? Or a black bean burrito loaded with iron and calcium?

Plant-based foods are chock-full of the nutrients people need for optimum health. So it’s no surprise that vegetarians are, on average, healthier, slimmer and more energetic and live longer than their meat-eating friends.

Amid rising rates of obesity and related ailments, there never has been a better time to veg out.

CORY SMITH

Takoma Park

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