Another Massachusetts Miracle?

Massachusetts’ heavily-scrutinized new health care bill would make the state the first to require all residents to have health insurance coverage. I’d like to address, somewhat self-consciously, the assertion that “the head of the Massachusetts group that has promoted the main single-payer alternative to this approach called it ‘an important, meaningful step forward.'”

As chair of MASS-CARE, the Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care, a coalition of ninety local and statewide organizations supporting a single-payer system of universal health care both in Massachusetts and nationally, I naturally assumed that the reference was to me. I actually spent several minutes mentally reviewing what I’ve been writing throughout this lengthy debate in Massachusetts, and what I’ve been saying to innumerable community, labor, Methodist, Jewish, senior and student groups in recent months regarding the evolution of this crisis and the solution.

Our consistent opposition to such concepts as the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, proposed last summer by Governor Mitt Romney and spelled out last October in a report from the Urban Institute commissioned by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts, stands unshaken.

Haase’s reference most likely is to the current executive director of Health Care for All of Massachusetts, which stands apart from such-named organizations in other states in no longer supporting the single-payer solution. At its’ Fall 1993 board meeting, with one dissenting vote, HCFAMA voted to jump on the Clinton bandwagon and put the campaign for single-payer on the back burner. Today a Google search of its extensive web site fails to find even a lone reference to single-payer.

For the record, this “head of the Massachusetts group that has promoted the main single-payer alternative” considers this Massachusetts Miracle as primarily a boondoggle to the insurance and hospital industries, whose coverage expansion is under-funded and clearly not sustainable.

Sandy Eaton, RN, chair, MASS-CARE
Boston, MA

Border Battles

Spare a thought for immigrants and the burden they adopt by joining us. We should welcome them as heroes and saviors. Instead of burdening our superbly educated and brilliant kids with the indulged overspending of our generation, they will have a fine set of immigrant workers to help them pay down the debt, pay for our Social Security, Medicare, and the other needs we have as big spenders. After all, it is our freely elected government who is spending so liberally for our freedom and well being.

If I move to South America, will I escape the burden and save myself? It is us who should sneak across the border as immigrants and leave the mess behind. The immigrants who move north will inherit the debt, and we can continue to borrow more for good times while the immigrants carry the burden of our indulgence. What a great world!


Werner Fassler

I’ve listened to the callers on C-Span radio mention several times that if they didn’t lose their job to an “illegal,” they know someone who has. Whole industries have seen a decline wages, including meat packers in the Midwest and construction jobs across the country. These are blue-collar jobs that require Democratic support. How about some “pity” for the blue-collar worker who can’t support his family?

I have no problem with legal immigrants from any country. I live in an agricultural area with a large Hispanic population. Most of them are nice people. Some actually come to build a real life here — but many do not. They come and live six and eight to an apartment, send most of their money home, and don’t pay taxes, because they’ve been hired as “contract” workers.

The Republicans claim they’re going to tighten the border and increase enforcement. That is just what the “hurting” lower middle class want so their wages will go up. The Democrats respond with a lot of babble, wanting immigrants to stay. I read the McCain-Kennedy bill. The end result is that illegal immigrants stay!

The correct Democratic position should have been to enforce immigration where the problem has started — with the businesses that willfully and intentionally hired people illegally. Every employer with illegal workers should be made to pay the cost of enforcement, detention, and deportation, plus a heavy fine that’s mandatory and non-negotiable. First offense, misdemeanor; second offence, a felony with jail time. If businesses didn’t hire illegal workers, then they wouldn’t come. Supply and demand would kick in and wages would go up, thus, helping the blue-collar worker.

J.J. Gudat

What Does the Public Want on Immigration?

I don’t often agree with Ruy Teixeira, but his assessment of the immigration issue is right on. Americans are tired of the lawlessness and fecklessness of our “leaders,” but do not want to punish those who have come here seeking a better life. Unfortunately, a tough, fair solution does not appear in the offing.

Paul Burich
Los Gatos, CA

The public wants the current laws enforced. If you have come to this country illegally, then you have violated the law. End of story.

Allan Green
Goleta, CA

Think Again: Deconstructing the Attack on Jill Carroll

I spent 22 years in the military and went through the same survival-and-escape training as Senator John McCain. We are supposedly trained how to react and deal with situations in which we are captured by the enemy. However, and I’m sure Sen. McCain would agree, that nothing prepares you for being captured. I salute Sen. McCain for his statements regarding Jill Carroll and her actions during her capture and after her release. I was fortunate never to have been a POW, so I can only speak from one small week of training and experience. But I believe that Jill Carroll did well — in fact very well — and hats off to her courage and ability to keep her wits about her after she was released. Carroll is a true hero. To those who say they could have done better or who criticize the way she acted, I say when you walk in her shoes, then MAYBE you can criticize her. I am looking forward to hearing her story once she has had time to heal from the ordeal. We should all have patience and allow her the time for healing.


Barry Heath

Jacksonville, FL

God’s Politics: An Interview with Jim Wallis

I enjoyed the interview with Jim Wallis and he hits the mark quite well. However, one salient point he makes on several occasions fails me; that one must respect other peoples’ faith. To me, there seems to be a correlation between “other peoples’ faith” in this world, and the ushering in of more fundamentalism and violence. At most I can only hope to tolerate people of faith. People of faith are too sectarian; they really only care about their beliefs, their truth, and the ones they chose to love and care for. And when they are not proselytizing they live their lives in quiet conceit or in bold arrogance of their faith.

L.J. Hollaman