Letters to the Editor 3/10/11
Health care, capitol rallys and penions
MARCH AGAINST SUFFERING
I was amazed that the article by James Krohe Jr., “Living too high off the hog” [ March 3] was even considered for publication. His comparison of members of our community, often in the most vulnerable times of their lives, to soybeans is callous to say the least. And further, to liken providers of some of the best care in the region and the complex work we do to a mechanized agricultural processing center begs the question: Has he or a loved one ever been seriously ill and needed the services Springfield’s hospitals and physicians’ groups provide? To speak of our team as if we are “mining” the “fat seams of money” when many of us have worked 12-hour shifts carrying pagers which beckon us in the middle of the night away from our homes and families with the opportunity to help is insulting.
It seems as though it surprises him that people with chronic illness consume more health care dollars than their healthier neighbors. Clearly he is not a person suffering from such an infliction nor has he likely ever provided care to someone who has.
He begs the federal government to tax our health insurance, which would further increase the cost to the individual and in the next column seems to be in disbelief at a price tag over $10 for a consultation by one of our highly skilled M.D.s. We pay short order cooks and waitresses (who do a great job by the way) more for a horseshoe in Springfield!
It is true there are imperfections in the organizational structuring largely set up by our famously ineffective lawmakers. The legal ramification (career ending lawsuits) of not doing a series of costly tests for the simplest things are in place due to a conflict of interest involving the high amounts of campaign contributions from malpractice trial lawyers to both sides of the aisle at Second and Capitol.
Krohe’s job as a critic is a famously easy one. It takes little effort to write about things he knows nothing about. Certainly less effort than it does to obtain specialized advanced training in the medical field. Despite his inference that we should, we will not stop our march against suffering. We will continue to strive to build the best instruments of care we can.
It was disappointing to find no coverage of the rally that took place at the Capitol on Feb. 26 in your paper this week. There was also no mention of it in the State Journal-Register. However, I expect more of Illinois Times in these matters. Your counterpart at the SJ-R said he was not aware of the rally. I find this unbelievable and I resent replies that assume I am stupid. Am I correct in thinking you found this rally to be unimportant or that you do not want to be seen as supporting this cause? I thought better of you.
State Rep. Dwight Kay has sponsored HR 31 which calls for the discovery and audit of the Illinois pension plans by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.
Currently, the Illinois pensions have an unfunded liability of approximately $76.6 billion. Illinois pension obligations are funded at approximately 34 percent, compared to a national average of 82 percent. The bill would begin with the teachers’ pensions (TRS) which has $28 billion in assets and a $44 billion shortfall.
Given the recent Illinois debt and need for restructuring, Representative Kay’s bill is timely and prudent. Our teachers deserve to receive the pensions the State of Illinois promised and to know their pension funds are safe and invested appropriately. With this audit the teachers and citizens of Illinois will determine if there is fraud, mismanagement or a conflict of interest in the TRS.
Philip W. Chapman