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Maligning Socialism

Do I malign socialism? Make misleading or harmful statements about it?

This question was posed to readers in the Letters to the Editors last week. We were asked to rethink our reaction to the “word” socialism used as an adjective to describe a party (political, I assume) candidate, or public program and question our initial reaction feeling of revulsion to it.

I ask, why? The un-informed writer last week obviously dismisses the origins and consequences of socialism. It is not Christianity? Socialism is godless. Socialism is administered from a powerful central core body of men and women with precious few checks and balances. Socialism is forever linked to the adage that power corrupts and total power corrupts completely. Note: the word “oversight” used by the writer implies supervision with no emphasis on enforcement. Do you really believe socialist “oversight” lacks enforcement consequences – that’s what it is all about – every one must comply with the central core decision. No freedom is socialism’s big flaw.

Rethink my “revulsion to socialism” response? I don’t think so. I could, however, get down on my knees and thank God we not a socialist country. Yes, that might be better.


Candyce Scott, Ocala


Cost of medical waste

Thank you for your excellent editorial -- "Do some medical shopping" in the April 5, edition.

The following information might add to your ability to highlight the 20% to 30% waste (no medical benefit to the patient) in medicine.   

The following is information I have been sending to various parties, with little result.  Hopefully you will be interested in following up on this vital subject.

We constantly read of the high cost of healthcare insurance and that healthcare costs are about 18% of the national economy but all the current discussions are about how to split up or rearrange who is to pay the current costs rather than reduce the costs -- like rearranging the deck chairs on the (sinking) Titanic.  

 Kindly review the following items which show how to save about $750 billion (with a b) each year and enjoy better health outcomes -- saving up to 75,000 lives per year. 


The first is an article in the Dec. 3, 2011 NY Times by Robert Pear.  It is called “Health Official Takes Parting Shot at ‘Waste’”.

I have given you all the details in case you do not or cannot open links.    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/health/policy/parting-shot-at-waste-by-key-obama-health-official.html

The NY Times does a good job, in this instance, of reporting Dr. Donald Berwick’s 2011 resignation from CMS (Medicare and Medicaid) and of his complaints that 20% to 30% of all medical expenditures are wasted as they yield no benefit to patients.  Dr. Berwick lists five reasons for the “extremely high level of waste” – over treatment of patients, failure to coordinate care, administrative complexity of the health care system, burdensome rules and fraud. He says some of the waste is due to onerous, archaic regulations enforced by CMS.

 The second item is the result of a study by the IOM or Institute of Medicine (currently called Academy of Medicine or AOM) reported September 6, 2012 which shows ten ways to improve health care in the US and to reduce the cost (reduce waste) of health care by 20 to 30% or, in 2009, saving $750 billion that year.  Improving healthcare might also save 75,000 lives each year.  You can Google “the national academies of medicine September 6, 2012 report + transformation of health system needed to improve care and reduce costs”.   

Here are three links to or about the study -- the first is an article in The Atlantic magazine and it easily highlights how the money is wasted. 


 The best and easiest/quickest way to understand the study is to read the Summary and here is the link to the Summary.


This is the link to the entire 400-page study which you can read online for free.     


Here is a link to an article (one of many) about how the Mayo Clinic is working to reduce costs by 30%.



Tom Hauck, Ocala


Losing freedom writer losing it?

I congratulate the writer of the letter, Losing Freedom (Friday, April 25, 2019), for reading more than 4,000 nonfiction books. I assume that mathematics was not one of his stronger subjects since he wrote that earth is composed of two classes of people, and then he went on to list three.

   The letter writer does engage in some fiction when he states that there may be no airplanes, cars or meat in our future.  He is simply reading from the right wing playbook which has accused progressives of threatening our individual liberties ever since the lies about FDR in 1936. Even though he denied it, the letter writer is just another scaremonger. No, you do not “lose your freedom” when you participate in the Social Security and Medicare programs and you will not lose your freedom if legislation is passed that addresses anthropomorphic global climate change.

His letter laments that we cannot overcome a corrupt government. This was true for the first two years of the Trump administration when a Republican Congress refused to investigate evidence of corruption by the Cabinet Secretaries of Education, Housing & Urban Development, Transportation, Health & Human Services, Commerce, Interior, Treasury and the head of the EPA, not to mention the President himself and his family. The Democratic House of Representatives is now fulfilling its duties as an equal branch of the federal government by requesting documents and conducting interviews and hearings. Have no fear!

Yes, it is human nature for power lusters to be, “satisfied with nothing less than complete power,” but I am hopeful that Trump will transfer power peacefully to his successor after the 2020 election, despite his disdain for limits to his power and his admiration for foreign dictators.  We do recognize that Trump is one of the “greedy monsters” that is described in the letter but our American institutions are strong and we will survive.


Daniel Lack, Ocala