Understanding improved medicare for all

Dear Editor:

Our current health care system of over 1500 private insurers is a complicated and  fragmented approach to health care with much administrative waste.  As a result, 31% of every healthcare dollar goes to paperwork, million-dollar salaries for  insurance company CEOs, profits, advertising and other costs.  In contrast, Medicare which covers 55 million residents over 65 operates with just a 3% overhead.

 It’s clear that our profit-based healthcare system cannot control costs. It’s the most expensive and complicated health care in the world. As a result, health care is often unaffordable and unattainable for many, even with insurance. Health care is a basic human right  that is violated when patients cannot get the care they need.  This results in endless suffering and death.

 We need to replace our current health care with a better system that works for patients. Improved Medicare for All would be a universal single-payer public healthcare plan covering  everyone with all necessary care, preventive health, dental care and other benefits – but without premiums, deductibles, co-payments and out of pocket expenses. 

 Improved Medicare for All would cover everyone, not just those over  65, with no payment at the point of service. Current employer and employee premium payments to private insurers would be eliminated. Improved Medicare for All  would be financed by a modest employer and employee payroll tax.  Dividends and interest over $30,000 would be taxed. State spending on health care  and federal monies would  be directed into the health care trust fund which would become the single payer for all medical bills. 

Improved Medicare for All would be publicly funded, but privately administered. Patients would be able to choose their doctors and hospitals, rather than having to stay in the current narrow networks of providers.

 I believe we would all greatly benefit from Improved Medicare for All and I urge you to learn more about it and to support it.

Maria Termini


Keep us all safe

Dear Editor:

We hear stories daily of families fleeing violence in Central America who arrive at the southern border of the United States only to face additional trauma at the hands of immigration authorities.  But border crises are not only happening far away.  Right here in Boston and Massachusetts we have a less visible border that puts our neighbors and all of us in danger.  It is the boundary that immigrants face between the light of open participation in civic life and the shadow of living in fear of arbitrary detention and deportation. 

We have read this year of a construction worker, injured on the job, who was reported by Boston police to immigration authorities and detained so that his employer can avoid paying workers’ compensation.  We hear of a Boston high school student facing a deportation hearing because the non-violent argument he had with his peers was recorded by a school police officer in an incident report ultimately shared with immigration authorities.  In their peaceful everyday lives, these people suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of a border that threatens to separate them from their families and livelihood.

When undocumented immigrants live in the shadows, the safety of our entire community is threatened.  We are at risk when immigrants fear coming forward as witnesses to report crime, when they fear reporting domestic abuse, when they fear cooperating with local law enforcement.  We must ask our lawmakers to help keep all of Massachusetts residents safe – both citizens and immigrants, documented and undocumented.  Fortunately, a bill has been filed at the Statehouse to do just that.

The Safe Communities Act, renewed and streamlined, is in committee awaiting a hearing.  This legislation is designed to restore community trust in police by limiting their entanglement in immigration matters and protecting the civil rights of all of us within the Commonwealth.  It sends a strong message that here in Massachusetts, law enforcement protects us all. The Safe Communities Act will also ensure that Massachusetts tax dollars go towards Massachusetts priorities instead of upending the lives of immigrants and their children across the state.

More locally, the Boston Trust Act, passed by the Boston City Council in 2014 to keep local police from detaining undocumented immigrants solely at the request of immigration authorities, needs updating.  Boston police and Boston school police officers should not communicate or cooperate with immigration authorities when there is no credible evidence of criminal behavior. 

We need our city and state lawmakers to keep us all safe by protecting those most vulnerable among us – immigrants who abide by the law while working and going to school every day with us.  We ask the Boston City Council to update and strengthen the Boston Trust Act and we urge the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security to advance the Safe Communities Act and begin building a safer community for all Massachusetts residents.

Kevin Batt

Carol Marton

Members, Jamaica Plain Progressives

The right move on White House visit

Dear Editor,

Kudos to Alex Cora for opting out of the White House visit.  I know there are other players who have chosen not to join the team’s visit on principle, so congratulations to them for their courageous positions on a matter that the Red Sox staff keep trying to minimize in its significance.

  No matter how confidently the organization’s CEO Sam Kennedy claims the team’s visit should be viewed as a matter of respecting the office and institution, this decision dishonors players  of color, especially Latinos. For that matter, it disrespects those fans, both black and white, who recognize Trump as nothing more than a self-serving fraud, whose sole aim seems to help increase the wealth and profits of the 1% , even at the cost of causing irreversible harm to our environment and the health and welfare of our citizens.

As many have said, the Red Sox could have chosen to visit disabled veterans in Washington or shelters for the homeless following the lead of the Houston Astros.  If nothing else, they should have declined the invitation like the Golden State Warriors, or, more recently the NCAA champion University of Virginia team.

What is it about the optics that this otherwise enlightened organization doesn’t get? 

Michael Spitzer

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