Letters to the Editor
Readers write about why the US attorney general should not be elected, how healthcare in the US could be improved, and how to make digital health records safe from identity theft.
US attorney general should not be elected
In regard to the Jan. 30 Opinion piece, "Elect, don't appoint, the US attorney general": It is unfortunate that the previous administration's transgressions were not kept in check by the Department of Justice, but the oversight of the executive branch is the job of not only the people of the United States, but their elected representatives in the US Congress.
Judges are often elected at the state level (including state supreme courts) and these judges are beholden to the electorate. At the federal level, judges are appointed for life. This grants federal judges the ability to make decisions that may be unpopular with the people, but are the right thing to do. School desegregation was incredibly unpopular with the electorate in the Southern states, and no state judge would rule in favor of desegregation for fear of losing his or her position.
A United States attorney general who answers directly to the electorate would be forced to dictate decisions based on polling and popularity. If Congress is unwilling or unable to rein in the powers of the presidency, then it is the right and responsibility of the people to make a change. That is the benefit of midterm elections. It would be a great danger to elect the attorney general, one that we must not risk.
How to improve American healthcare
Regarding the Feb. 3 Opinion piece, "A road map to healthcare reform": I believe we can effect a meaningful change in our healthcare system by defining a framework for building metro area or community healthcare cooperatives supported by dues-paying members in partnership with a third-party administrator to negotiate coverages on behalf of the co-op with the major payers doing business in the state. A similar system has worked for the farming community for 75 years. Why couldn't it work for healthcare consumers?
Our healthcare nonsystem may someday be blamed for the lack of responsiveness to an epidemic. Too many of us are uninsured or underinsured. In the case of an epidemic, all of these citizens would delay seeking treatment until the last bearable minute, thus delaying the response of the Centers for Disease Control. In Europe, such an epidemic has a better chance of being nipped in the bud.
Now is our opportunity. Let's get single-payer, universal healthcare.
Safe digital health records
In regard to the Feb. 2 Opinion piece, "Keep privacy in health records": Those who oppose digital health records presumably fear that digitization makes identity theft easier. However, the advantages of digitization are too many to deny. Fortunately, there is a middle ground.
We should require that all records be digitized for the purpose of transmission in the event of emergency, but require also that digitized records be permanently stored off-line. Every medical office or hospital should burn records onto CD-ROMs that must remain on the premises and outside computer hard drives. Storing medical records on any hard drive should be made illegal.
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