More health care discussion
In response to Jack Lessenberry's article "Time to get real" (July 29), I'll start with a disclaimer: I work with the MEA.
That said, I am concerned about what you write about the plan, "a single, statewide, uniform health care plan for everyone who works for state or local government in Michigan," proposed by Dillon. It says that money will be saved. Eventually. But what about now? The plan identifies a number of people that it will include. Except, there are a number of groups that might not be in that mix: police, fire with binding arbitration, state university employees, etc.
Maybe the plan should be looked at further. However, isn't there a move on the national level to address the issue? Doesn't this muddy the waters and add to the confusion? Doesn't this address only the money issue for the state of Michigan, and not the problem we have across the board with providing adequate health care for all of us?
You are critical of the MEA, pointing out that the Cadillac of insurances is there for all teachers and school employees. Do you understand that some districts are self-insured? Some have very limited insurance programs? Some have "carve out" programs that don't cover a spouse if that spouse has the opportunity for insurance somewhere else, regardless of that plan being inferior?
You cut some pretty wide swaths when it comes to the discussion of the Dillon plan. And I find that unfortunate. You generally are good at looking at the issues critically. This time you blew it. You have centered in on the dollar amount that the state is paying. And you only look at it in terms of the purchasing individuals. You have completely missed the provider side of the issue. That side seems to be no different in the state of Michigan than it is on a national level: supply and demand.
I would hope you would take a step back and consider some of the other issues in the health care debate. The national discussion is not that different from the state discussion in terms of the health care itself. The state discussion has greater ramifications: one more item taken out of the realm of negotiations by limiting the acceptable factors. Without that discussion, there isn't much more left for labor.
The problems in the state of Michigan are not going to be solved by reducing the participation of labor in the process. Labor has been reduced to scratching to provide food and housing for its families. Not for a long time has there been such a divide between the "have mores" and the "have littles." To consider it the place of those "fortunate" to have a job to accept the "bones" thrown to them as acceptable is really unfortunate. —Michael Wasielewski, Bloomfield Hills, Field Assistant, MEA Local 1
Keep on printing
Re: "The newspaper scam" (Aug. 5), it's a shame about the Ann Arbor News and AnnArbor.com.
Most people acquainted with the Internet-vs.-print debate credit that censorship and quality journalism could take a back seat when daily news is put on the Web. One of them is that the process of what goes into a story can be diluted and minimized in the midst of scattered links and advertisements. It is easier and infinitely more profitable for a picture of Britney Spears to linger on Yahoo! News, as it is somehow connected to a link that is somehow connected to an online store, or whatever.
But who knows?
Good — maybe better — things can come from responsible journalism on the Internet. It is, after all, a giant database containing both opinions and facts from all over the globe. The problem with the Web, however, is that it is often hard to decipher fact from fiction. There is no system of checks and balances, no rubric, no editor-at-large. The Internet is a free-for-all. At least with print newspapers and their readers there is still a bit of structure, a dose of professionalism, and a considerable workforce. It just doesn't seem necessary to suddenly abandon the printing press. —Braden Bell, Bloomfield Twp.
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