Forum, March 14: Health Care Should Be a Right

Published: 3/13/2017 9:00:04 PM
Modified: 3/13/2017 9:00:08 PM
Health Care Should Be a Right

As I was listening to latest news from the Trump administration, I found myself getting angry that they are attempting to impose their belief systems on us by way of government cutbacks to social programs set up by President Obama to protect and care for our people. What is a democratic country that protects only the wealthy and those with similar morals?

I have always considered myself pro-life. That is why I support Planned Parenthood. I am concerned with the lives of young women (and men) who will be parents sooner than they planned due to unintended pregnancies and then due to that, be unprepared to raise a family without a lot of assistance.  According to an article in The New York Times by  Nicholas Kristoff,  who investigated and wrote about a rural community like ours:

“About two-thirds of the women and girls who come to these (health) clinics don’t have any other health care provider (where they go) annually to get checkups and birth control pills. One 33-year-old woman, when asked about the effort to cut funding for clinics like hers, responded: ‘You’re not taking away abortion services. You’re taking away my health care.’ ”

I think it is immoral that  a wealthy democracy should turn its back on its people. Health care should not be a privilege, but a right for all. We need to support our youth, not cast them out. Pro- life means pro- all-people, including young people who make mistakes. I could have been one of these young uninsured women had I not found the medical services offered by Planned Parenthood in my community. I was fortunate to find affordable medical help from providers who cared about my welfare.

Ellen Hollyday


Monitoring Police Is Necessary

The 2015 movie Spotlight showed that the Catholic Church allowed thousands of its clergy worldwide to repeatedly rape and abuse children. It took decades to uncover this story, because the church, instead of fixing the problem, tried to destroy the credibility of victims and their families. The coverup was done to protect the church, which does “so much good for so many.”

Why was hiding a mess better than dealing with it head-on? It’s almost as if the lives of those kids didn’t matter. Maybe it was human nature that led to avoidance of responsibility, victim blaming and the needless destruction of lives, in a case where the right path was clear.

It’s trickier in the gray areas of “implicit bias.” I support the police; I want them to be safe and effective. But I want the institution to be monitored if it can’t or won’t monitor itself.

Our new attorney general believes the police would be more effective with less scrutiny, which he thinks undermines respect. I disagree. The police need the public’s trust to do their job, and trust is a better path to respect. 

Susan K. Johnson


Don’t Blame Carbon Dioxide

I was fascinated by the article in the Feb. 18 issue, “EPA Bracing for Cutbacks Under New Administrator Pruitt.” Was this article supposed to make us feel sorry for the EPA?

I entered the air quality field in 1950, 20 years before the EPA was established, with a degree in chemical engineering (MIT, 1947). At that time, people were getting sick, and even dying, from exposure to toxic and irritating air pollutants emitted primarily from human-caused sources: industrial, power generation and transportation. All of us working in the field in this emerging area welcomed EPA’s formation, since it leveled the playing field occupied at that time by a hodge-podge of local nuisance-type regulations. Soon thereafter, EPA developed national ambient air quality standards based on protecting human health, and provided the basis for the states to partner in implementing and enforcing the forthcoming regulations.

Under the terms of the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to review periodically the air quality standards, and of course, each time the standards were made stricter and increasingly difficult to justify. But the Supreme Court came to EPA’s rescue in 2007, ruling by a narrow majority that EPA could now consider carbon dioxide (CO2) to be among the dangerous pollutants that the Clean Air Act was originally intended to regulate. The justification for controlling CO2 was the confusing term “endangerment,” based on the questionable belief that this friendly and useful gas is the principal cause of climate change, a natural phenomenon that has been occurring throughout history. Thus, the court’s ruling was manna from heaven for the EPA, since it authorized a vast enlargement of the agency to carry out the clean energy program, increasing its control over our lives. But one must understand that mature bureaucracies ultimately tend to favor self-preservation and aggrandizement over their reason for being.

I cannot understand the court’s action allowing the inclusion of CO2, a benign, life-giving gas, to the list of pollutants that can kill us. I wish EPA chief Scott Pruitt luck in the daunting challenge to straighten out the thinking of those governing us.

John E. Yocom


Barbarians at the Opened Gate

Stop me if you’ve heard this one:

Genghis Khan: knock, knock.

Us: who’s there?

Genghis Khan: Genghis and my horde.

Us: Oh! we weren’t expecting you, but come on in! And by the way, here’s the keys to the city.

Why are there are so many apparently complacent citizens who insist we accept an illegitimate (ask Rep. John Lewis) candidate as president? Were the commander-in-tweet legitimate, wouldn’t he and his apologists offer a more cohesive game plan? Would Jeff Sessions need to recuse himself? Would Mexico still need to warn us it won’t accept cast-off illegal aliens? Would the Royal Canadian Mounted Police need to arrest a steady flow of refugees as they cross the border into Canada?

And then there’s the environment: On Feb. 25,’s Jennier Dlouhy wrote, “Scott Pruitt unveiled plans to roll back at least three Obama-era rules at the EPA.” This may be all right with businessmen, but what about mother nature and her children? Let’s face it: climate deniers represent a very (very) small percentage of all souls on this Earth. So if Gaia granted each one of us a vote, I doubt the Electoral College could rescue Genghis and the horde.

Pruitt’s roll-back plans aren’t the only ones in the queue: Obamacare has been in the GOP’s sights for a long time, but the amazing part is the ACA has more support than ever. This may be due to people from both sides of the aisle recognizing that Paul Ryan’s idea of accessible health care is like my understanding that the square root of negative one is an imaginary number. Worse, it’s tweeked for fat cats and against the poor.

Patience runs thin as the barbarians devastate the planet, health care, education and seemingly anything they can pick a fight with. Perhaps we can take a tip from Al Gore, who recognized the ecosystem is fast approaching a tipping point. Like the environment, the political system has its tipping points.

We’ve seen lampoons that sent our modern-day Genghis into conniptions. Maybe a little more will produce a meltdown.

Kevin Leveret

White River

After the Fire, Thanks

Now that the dust has settled, we would like to take a moment and reach out to all the people who helped us through a disaster since the first alarm rang throughout the Upper Valley.

The Hartford Fire Department and all of its mutual aid partners showed up and put in a tremendous effort to keep everyone safe and save property. The Red Cross arrived early in the morning and supported the efforts of the fire departments. Thank you to the town officials, the state of Vermont and the Green Mountain Economic Development folks. They have all been there from day one trying to help mitigate employee loss and economic damage that results from an event like this. To our neighbors down on Nutt Lane and Latham Works: Thank you so much for your patience and kind words.

To all friends and acquaintances who reached out with genuine concern and the many offers for a helping hand, the outreach was overwhelming and comforting to us all.

Lastly, to the tenants who lost everything, we will be there for you until this is over. We, the ownership group, are fully committed to this property and plan to rebuild better for all involved. 

Sue Kay, Kenny Keith, Mike Palmer, Jared Keith

White River Junction

Good News in Thetford

A remarkable thing happened at the Thetford Town Meeting. The voters approved an appropriation for the support of the Community Nurse of Thetford, Inc. that exceeded the amount asked for by the board.

After a discussion in which the original article was amended (twice), we ended up with an appropriation that will cover one-third of our current operating cost. We are extremely grateful to the residents of Thetford who voted to support the work of a nurse in their community.

The Community Nurse of Thetford provides support, guidance and education to individuals dealing with illness, aging, disability or family crisis. There is no charge for her services. Her work is currently funded by a combination of private donations and gifts from community trusts. 

 If you need help or know of someone who does and you live in Thetford, please call Cindy Grigel, RN, at 802-738-9066; email or  visit our website at

Community Nurse of Thetford, Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization and gratefully accepts donations of any amount.

Again, our heartfelt thanks goes out to Thetford residents who voted to support this important community service.

Sarah Jo Brown

for the Board of Community Nurse of Thetford, Inc.


Tweeting at All Hours

So far in his administration, the only actions I have seen President Trump perform is tweeting at all hours, holding up the things he has signed like a kindergartner “at show and tell,” and accusing the previous administration of some kind of misdeed, only to find out it is not true. I believe all this is done to take the focus off things he had done wrong that require looking into.

Elaine Smith


Valley News

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West Lebanon, NH 03784


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