Sunday’s Letters to the Editor
EDITOR: Lori Garver, a former deputy administrator of NASA, expressed the need to refocus the energy and expertise of NASA on the most critical needs facing the U.S. (and the world) today: environment science and innovation in the era of water scarcity and climate change (“Finding a new mission for NASA,” July 21). Her article spoke for me and many others who admire NASA but question whether a manned flight to Mars or the moon is worth the effort and cost.
Her article especially struck me because my daughter is a scientist at NASA. She and her colleagues are struggling not to become cynical about their purpose, and many are trying to find ways to contribute more directly to fighting climate change. I am convinced that such a refocus would not only energize these dedicated professionals and unleash their considerable expertise, it would unite more U.S. citizens in support of this effort.
A San Francisco native, I spent 35 years working in Africa and the Middle East. I find the Bay Area as environmentally fragile as the often desperately poor countries where I worked. We need to take practical steps immediately. NASA could lead this effort if allowed to do so.
EDITOR: Since getting on Medicare in 2017, I am puzzled by the term “Medicare for All” from Sen. Bernie Sanders and all the Democrats who back that proposal. It makes Medicare out to be free for those on this federal government program and a single payer. Here is the reality on Medicare:
It is a hybrid program that Medicare administers and pays much of the costs. First, working people pay 1.45% of their total income to Medicare, and so do their employers. When on Medicare, recipients pay a monthly premium, which is taken out of their Social Security check.
But there are coverage caps on medical and drug prescriptions. As a result, many people pay for a supplemental policy with a PPO or an HMO. These policies vary in coverage and cost. The services are usually administered by third parties from the private sector, although it can come from a municipality. Not from Medicare.
What Sanders wants is a Department of Veterans Affairs-style program. The federal government provides the services directly, owns the facilities and employs all the health care workers and administrators. And no cost to those using the system. So why not call it “VA for All”?
Duped on bipartisan basis
EDITOR: I think I’ve got today’s political tensions figured out. The Democrats are being duped by the Republicans, and the Republicans are being duped by the Russians. A dire forecast for our country.
The new chief
EDITOR: For several years, the permit process required me to meet with the Santa Rosa Police Department’s traffic division and special events officer, Lt. Ray Navarro. With his promotion to captain and now chief, I offer a few observations.
During our meetings, I felt at ease and comfortably reassured by his soft tone and pleasant demeanor. He was always polite, organized, well prepared, steps ahead on some issues and impeccably dressed, which to me reflected respect and pride for the uniform, his department and the community he represented.