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Medicare for all

EDITOR: Thank you to Dr. Herb Brosbe for highlighting the reality of our health care system, even for those with Medicare ("A voice from the medical trenches," Close to Home, Feb. 2). Patients with Medicare go bankrupt because of medical debt, avoid seeking treatment and avoid filling prescriptions because of cost. For those with private insurance and increasingly high out-of-pocket costs due to high deductibles and co-pays, the situation is even worse. Sixty percent of individual bankruptcies are due to medical debt and, of those, 75 percent had medical insurance at the onset of their illness.

The solution is improved and expanded Medicare for all, as is provided by HR 676, the United States Health Care Act, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. Everyone deserves health care.

DR. NICHOLAS H. ANTON

Santa Rosa

Conservation's price

EDITOR: As California struggles through this drought and dry weather, I want to remind readers what happened the last time our elected officials rallied us to conserve water.

A few years ago, during a dry spell, the water agency and others repeatedly asked us to conserve water. We did that is a very big way. Water consumption went way down. It was a grand effort. What did the water agency give us in return? It raised rates.

Its reasoning was that since water consumption was way down, it wasn't making enough money to finance its operation, so it raised rates. So this time when we are asked to conserve I hope the agency doesn't pull those shenanigans again. Stay tuned.

RICHARD ABAZIA

Santa Rosa

Progressive pedagogy

EDITOR: Understandably, an official of the Institute of Progressive Education and Learning, Michael Haran, believes that progressive pedagogy should play a strong role in schooling ("The value of common core standards in school," Close to Home, Thursday). Less clear is why he would insist Common Core should impose progressive pedagogy on all children, despite individual differences that leave some children more in need of structured instruction than others.

Perhaps Haran really believes that governors of the 50 states gathered under the aegis of the National Governors Association and voted for progressive uniformity via Common Core. But that did not happen. The National Governor's Association's permanent bureaucracy, the Center for Best Practices, selectively gathered theorists to draft the Common Core curricular guides, drawing on heavy funding from the federal government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. No record exists of governors voting collectively for Common Core. Indeed, some states neither pay dues to the association nor participate in its proceedings.

Progress in education comes when state and local officials, and especially parents and teachers, are free to exercise choices and implement what is best for each child, as opposed to following a one-size-fits-all scheme.

ROBERT HOLLAND

Senior fellow, the Heartland Institute

Chicago

Welding safely

EDITOR: I was quite happy to see student welders in Friday's paper ("Big shift in school spending"). My granddaughter is currently a welding student at Santa Rosa High. I am concerned, however, by the lack of welder's caps on the students' heads, with long hair hanging down over their coats.

In my 35-plus years in the welding trade, I was unfortunate enough to catch my hair on fire on several occasions, even with a cap. It is traumatic, painful and an extremely smelly experience, made even more so should the person be using hair products with any kind of oils in them.