Why we should support changes to health care

Editor of the Reformer:

In an airport recently, facing life-threatening boredom, I broke down and tried to buy a book through Amazon’s Kindle Store. Folks, I was not able to. Somehow this failed to make national news; somehow Wolf Blitzer didn’t appear on the airport TV screens to discuss it for the rest of the day, but yes, it happened, and I’ll bet it’s not the only instance of a commercial website letting somebody down.

Point being -- it’s time to be done with the wailing and gnashing of teeth, time to stop rending our garments and everybody’s nerves, and man up here. What if we were actually rooting for our country? What if we were rooting for the team that wants us all to have access to health care? How would we be acting right now? This frenzy seems unpatriotic to me, frankly, and also, really, really boring.

I’m proud to be a Vermonter at this moment. I think Governor Shumlin has done exactly the right thing with the delays and extensions of deadlines, but our website is working better than most, and we’ve been proactive. As the governor points out, ACA isn’t the plan we would design. It’s not single payer, we didn’t draft it, and it’s a serious compromise of many of our values and insights. But it is the law of the land, and a major opportunity for us to pull down federal dollars to advance toward our goal. We can be proud that we made this happen. Shumlin campaigned on single payer, yes, because he needed to in order to get our votes, but what’s wrong with that? It’s how politics works. Here in Windham County we raised and trained Shumlin, educated him on a lot of issues, and now we’ve got him where we want him -- in a position to forward the goals so many of us share. Good for us. Good for him.

I’m also proud to finally have a president who could achieve national health care reform. Yes, it’s a beast, and it will need further reform for decades to come. But who else ever got this far? How can we complain about the compromises with insurance companies, when we recall how they killed every other attempt? These guys got the ball rolling. We’ve got to keep it rolling.

If you like carping and complaining, you’re in luck; we’ll need to keep pointing out the deficiencies, and pushing for better things. But how about a vote of thanks for the people who’ve gotten us this far. Barack Obama. The Heritage Foundation. The Clintons. Mitt Romney. Nancy Pelosi. Rahm Emmanuel. Cheryl Rivers. Peter Shumlin. Richard Davis. Peter Ziliacus. Harriet Gelfan. You, and me, and the list goes on. We haven’t reached our goal yet, but Joe Biden was right -- this is a big deal.

Jessie Haas,

Westminster, Nov. 12

SAFSTOR is not enough

Editor of the Reformer:

Poor Entergy. Back in 2002 Entergy made a poor business decision. Entergy bought all the risks and responsibilities associated with the Vermont Yankee atomic reactor, as an exempt wholesale merchant generator. For $180 million, Entergy bought all the reactor fuel, the spent fuel, the $300 million valued decommissioning trust fund, the atomic reactor itself, and the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with cleaning up the reactor and site.

We watched as the market changed, cheap fracked natural gas arrived, Entergy spent millions of dollars suing Vermont (repeatedly), and years of corporate mismanagement slurped their profits.

Behind Entergy’s desire for SAFSTOR is the hope the market can top off the decommissioning trust fund (Vermont ratepayer money). Last time Entergy bet on the market, the market won, not Entergy.

Prompt decommissioning costs less than SAFSTOR.

I appreciate Vermonst State Nuclear Advisory Panel member Leslie Kanat, who termed it "Saf" store not safe store. It may not be safe and who knows the future? The concrete and steel casks may not even store the waste safely beyond 30 years, needless to say for hundreds of thousands of years.

SAFSTOR, leaving the reactor and spent fuel pool full for decades is not all right, was not an option when the reactor was licensed in 1972, and violates public trust.

May we find our voices now and learn to use them?

Gary Sachs,

Brattleboro, Nov. 15

Generosity is alive, well

Editor of the Reformer:

On Aug. 10, 2013, The Valley Lions Club hosted the coffeebreak at the Vermont Welcome Center in Guilford. If you have never stopped at our wonderful welcome center, you should. We heard nothing but accolades about how beautiful it is, and we couldn’t agree more. We are proud of it. We had a very successful day thanks to the kindness of the companies and individuals who donated to us.

Jim Billings, the manager of The Works on Main Street, Brattleboro, was very generous. We would like to thank Price Chopper on Canal Street, the Brattleboro Food Co-op, and Hannaford’s on Putney Road. The monies raised will go toward our scholarship fund. Thank you all so very much for your generosity.

Natalie Donovan,

Secretary, Valley Lions Club,

Townshend, Aug. 15