Readers Write: The strong precedent for Obamacare; Waging peace with aid

Letters to the Editor for the December 9, 2013 weekly magazine:

Every other industrialized country has some type of national health-care system because it can't afford US-style medicine. And neither can America.

Accounts of good works Vietnam veterans are performing in Vietnam are heartening. US military personnel are increasingly proving the effectiveness of waging peace with humanitarian aid.

The strong precedent for 'Obamacare'

Regarding the Nov. 4 Briefing, "Rollout of 'Obamacare' ": Every other industrialized country has some type of national health-care system because it can't afford US-style medicine. US expenditures far exceed those of our economic peers (about 18 percent of gross domestic product), and medical bills are a major cause of personal bankruptcy. But medical outcomes are far worse compared with those in other countries.

There are only four basic types of medical systems: (1) government-run (US Army, Britain), (2) compulsory insurance with some subsidies (Obamacare, "Romneycare" in Massachusetts, Switzerland), (3) optional private insurance and tax dollars that pay for the poor in the emergency room, and (4) no care for those who can't pay. No country has ever been able to control costs, have good medical outcomes, or maintain a healthy productive workforce with those last two types of systems. All of the countries with superior medical outcomes and lower costs have either Type 1 or Type 2 – though many spent decades trying other options that failed.

In the end, I think the United States must end up with Obamacare as a health-care system, or something almost identical to it with a Republican name, because we can't afford the other options.

Charles Forsberg

Lexington, Mass.

Waging peace with humanitarian aid

Thank you for your excellent coverage in the Nov. 11 issue of the good works that Vietnam veterans are performing in Vietnam as part of the healing and relief from the challenges of a very difficult war. Accounts of such good work are heartening.

Readers should also know about the remarkable accomplishments of a growing number of Vietnam veterans from Ohio in conjunction with Rotary International. It is called The D.O.V.E. Fund (Development of Vietnam Endeavors), and details can be found at www.dovefund.org. Clearly, US military personnel and veterans are increasingly proving the effectiveness of – and experiencing the fulfillment of – waging peace with humanitarian development.

Chuck Stocking

Perrysburg, Ohio

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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