Letters for January 23, 2020

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Aviation hobbyists need your help

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Dec. 26, 2019,  made available a “proposed” rule  for unmanned aircraft operations in the United States. If the rule “as it is written” passes into law it will in essence immediately cripple the hobby of model aviation, and seriously prevent its future growth. There is a 60-day comment period for the public to express concerns and opinions to the FAA regarding this proposed rule.

As a member of one of our local flying clubs in Macon County and a member of the AMA or “Academy of Model Aeronautics” I am very worried that if we don’t express our concerns on this matter our Annual Charity Air Shows and other public model aviation events at our airfield in Otto will be no more, not to mention events across the country.

Regardless of how you feel about “drones” in general, model aircraft are typically flown under very controlled circumstances at sanctioned and insured flying sites like ours in Otto. We, as AMA members, are required to follow a set of safety guidelines. AMA sponsored flying clubs have an outstanding safety record since their inception way back in 1936 and many young AMA members go on to full scale aviation careers.

I really want to keep the charity events at our flying site going because we feel giving back to our community is a pretty important thing and from what I hear the BBQ is pretty good, too.  So here is how you can help our model aviation community. Whether you fly quad rotors at the local park, your back yard, or model aircraft at an AMA field, or even thought about it in the future, you will be affected by this rule. Anyone who would like to read the proposed rule, comment on the rule or just get more information, you can visit the Academy of Model Aeronautics Website at www.modelairraft.org/gov; or the FAA’s website at www.faa.gov/uas

Any help you can give on this matter is greatly appreciated and we thank you for your efforts.

Greg Doster, president

Macon Aero Modelers, AMA 3114, Otto, N.C.

 

Health care not a commercial product

Have you a favorite president?  I do, Harry S Truman (no period after the S).  Truman was the first president I saw in person.  In 1947, he campaigned from a caboose in my hometown (Haverhill, Mass.).  It was after Labor Day, school had commenced, my third grade class was at the railroad station to greet him.

Truman became president when Franklin Roosevelt died April 12, 1945, then won the presidency by defeating Thomas Dewey in 1947.  One of Truman’s accomplishments, he made a sincere effort to introduce national health insurance.

Even in Harry Truman’s time (70 years ago) the deep-pocketed American Medical Association (AMA) opposed the program, wanting to protect physicians’ superior market power and professional autonomy.  Then, as now, the AMA’s national network endeavored to stir up fear of “socialized medicine.”  Opponents of universal coverage have relied on variations of that playbook ever since.

This is well-documented and you can verify these facts through study of William C. Hsiao, K.T. Li Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Hsiao most recently wrote on the subject for Foreign Affairs (Jan-Feb 2000).

Truman, JFK, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, H.W. Bush, Clinton and Obama all recognized the need of establishing effective, affordable health care.  The fact remains, across the broad spectrum of health care, Americans pay more and get less… Why?

The root of the problem (deferring to William Hsiao), as the United States became a prosperous, industrialized society in the early 20th Century, it chose to treat health care as a commercial product rather than a social good, such as education.  As a result, whereas government-mandated universal schooling was the norm by the 1920s, health care still remains primarily a private-sector commodity driven by the profit motive.

According to statistics (confirm them – please) 28 million Americans are uninsured, 44 more million are under-insured contributing to an inequality in that the top quarter of American wage-earners live 10 years longer (on average) than the bottom quarter.

Finally, the flagrant fraud, waste and abuse driving up the price of health care, tens of billions of dollars in unnecessary spending year after year.  Hsiao tells us that a cottage industry has sprung up to advise hospitals and physicians how to game the claims system by fragmenting bills and “upcoding services” – exaggerating their complexity – in order to maximize payments.

Large providers employ workers whose primary task is to find ways to pad charges.  Some hospitals and clinics take a blunter approach: they simply file claims for services they’ve not actually performed.  It’s been going on for decades.

Some of us have experienced and reported irregularities over the years with only minimal success.  Unless public attitudes shift drastically, we’ll never achieve full and affordable health care.

However, should American values and urgencies change and we decide we’ve had enough scheming and scamming, we have only to look to Canada, Taiwan, Germany (and a few other nations) for guidance with systems that work.

 David Snell – Franklin, N.C.

 

The road to nowhere

As a United Parcel Service Driver Helper this past Christmas season, I rode on hundreds of miles of back roads in Franklin, Murphy and Andrews, delivering packages to thousands of customers, including many of you. I saw many beautiful places I would never otherwise have seen.

One night after dark, we were looking for an address which was not posted, so we unwittingly drove right past it on a steep, winding, bumpy road. We finally realized we were on a road to nowhere. There were no more homes and no place to turn around, so we had no choice but to back up about half a mile. I craned my neck to look out my side with a flashlight, while the driver did the same on his side. It wasn’t easy, but we finally got back to the house we had passed.

Many people go through the road of life in the wrong direction, only to realize too late, that there is no place to turn around. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way (road) that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

Another of those long, winding mountain roads led up to a huge, beautiful house with a spectacular view of the valley below and the mountains beyond. I couldn’t help wondering if the owners thought they lived in paradise! The Bible says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” That last phrase is frightening. Many people may be deceived into thinking they are headed in the right direction, when actually they are not.

One night, on our last stop, after dark, we needed a signature from the recipient, so we knocked on the door. No one came, but the light was on and the door open, so we started looking around. Around back, a man came out from under his car, with one hand missing. He said he had blown his hand off. He signed for his package with the other hand. Then he proceeded to tell us that he had been on heroin for 23 years. It had taken recently losing his hand to get his life turned around and headed down the right path. He said some things about the power of prayer. Then he told us that the Lord Jesus Christ had delivered him from his drug addiction. He said that now he is in church every time the doors are open. He said it was too bad it took the loss of his hand, but that it was worth it! 

I’m guessing the man was in his 40s. Jesus said, “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Clearly, it is far more important to be on the right path, even if it takes a great tragedy to get you there. 

When I was a young child, my mother read the #2 best-seller of all time to me: John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Even though written in 17th century English, I understood and was captivated by it, so that I cried when she stopped reading! That book has helped millions of people to better understand how difficult it is to stay on the “straight and narrow road” and to reach the “celestial city.” I pray that you will find that path, and get on it in the right direction before you reach the end, and find no place to turn around!

There are other roads, but only one will take you where you want to go. Jesus said, “I am the Way (road), the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father except through me.”

 Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

 

Hospital visit results in bill dispute

I just took my wife to our local hospital here in Franklin. She slipped and hurt her ankle. Young lady at check-in was very pleasant. Short wait in to see the doctor. She was put into a room, doctor, a woman, ordered an x-ray. When wife came back, a nurse told her she has a small bone break. No cast, no instructions and go home. We never saw the doctor again. Now I get a bill from their office in Virginia for $491.69. OK but they tell me on the bill Medicare paid $43. It didn’t seem right, called Medicare. They tell me something was filed wrong at the hospital. I called their office in Virginia. Guess what? They tell me the bill is right, that they have a special deal with Medicare and that’s it. She then tells me their hospital is a for profit now. I guess so. She also tells me if I don’t pay in 30 days I am put in collection. Well, all you local politicians who were sold a bill of goods with Mission, thanks for the ripoff. Oh well, thank the Lord, Harris hospital is close. I’ve dealt with them before. 

  

William Trapani – Franklin, N.C.

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