EDITOR: In reply to Mark Ferguson (“Got Meat?,” Letters, Monday), being vegan is not a religion. Dietary and lifestyle choices are, of course, up to each of us to decide. However, it is my hope that if you had found a way to enhance your own health and well-being, as well as that of other humans, animals, and the environment, that you would feel encouraged to share it with others as well. Please consider investigating the many reasons to be vegan before throwing the idea out.
What are best interests?
EDITOR: The United Kingdom case of baby Charlie Gard is more complex than suggested by Dr. Roger Delgado (“Individual rights,” Letters, Sunday). In the UK, disagreements between doctors and parents over treatment may go to a court of law to decide what is in the best interests of the child. The decision is entirely independent of the government, and the court only considers the best interests of the patient without concern for the cost. The UK High Court will now consider fresh evidence about the proposed experimental treatment and reassess the balance between the chances of securing meaningful brain recovery, against the pain, suffering and distress it is likely to cause to Charlie. We all sympathize with the predicament of Charlie and his family, but sometimes it is kinder to accept the inevitable rather than impose further suffering.
Kenilworth, England (and Santa Rosa)
Finish the job
EDITOR: “Uncle!” I give up! “Throw in the towel!” and “Wave the white flag.” This is from a libertarian who believes in the dictum “that government is best which governs least.” I lost this battle 52 years ago, and now I finally admit it. You see readers, that is the month in 1965 when Lyndon Baines Johnson signed Medicare/Medicaid into law and launched this country onto the inevitable path of single-payer health insurance. A little bit of research tells me that more than 138 million Americans on Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP are provided health care by “We the people.” The latest population numbers tell us that there are more than 321 million in the United States, which means that more than 43 percent of us are on a single-payer system. Not only this, just add to these numbers the combined number of federal, state and local workers of almost 22 million whose premiums or insurance is paid by the collective. Then the number becomes 50 percent of the population for whom the rest of us provide.
So, while we debate the replacement of Obamacare, we are already, indeed, a single-payer health-care nation. What’s left of private insurance is a bloody mess. Why don’t we just admit it and finish the job. Let’s find a way to finance and implement Medicare for all on a sustainable path because the current “fee-for-service model” cannot continue as it is.
Israel and anti-Semitism
EDITOR: As I read Rabbi George Gittleman’s Close to Home column (“Ode to the Jewish-American experience,” July 2), I reflected on the experience of my Jewish grandparents, all of whom immigrated to the United States to escape the rampant anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe and Russia shortly after the turn of the 20th century. However, I was saddened to see the rabbi equate anti-Semitism with criticism of the state of Israel. Is it anti-Semitic to criticize Israel for continuing to occupy the West Bank and Gaza? Is it anti-Semitic to criticize Israel for the denial of basic human rights both within Israel and the occupied territories? Growing numbers of American Jews are questioning the actions of Israel. Does that make us anti-Semites? I think not. Rather I think it situates us squarely in the Jewish tradition of seeking justice and fighting for human rights.