Your recent article about forthcoming health-care insurance reform ("Clinic digs in heels for health reform," July 15) pointed out one area of reform not specifically discussed in the article: cost reduction.
Under the new reform, over time, medical records will be automated and reduce the need for the duplication of procedures for the same outcome. Through the example of Sonia Munguia's breast cancer treatment, she went to Tijuana for a mammogram, and when she returned to Huntington Beach, she was required to have another mammogram.
This is a duplication of procedures that drives up costs. Having electronic medical records avoids unnecessary duplication of procedures. Another cost reducer in the reform is the emphasis on preventative care, which will drive down costs of the uninsured presenting themselves to emergency room treatment for illnesses best treated in a clinic or doctor's office.
The care that Munguia received was funded by several sources: a foundation, a fundraising event in the community, the patient and Medicaid.
Sure, I support the reform on the principle that the insured pool is greater and will lead to people living healthier lives. The health-care reform begins to meet both a moral and fiscal imperative.
State code leaves Sunset in the dark
There is a thread of malcontent about to be sewn into our community. On Monday, at a regularly scheduled meeting, the Huntington Beach City Council will be discussing and taking action on a most irregular issue: the annexation of Sunset Beach.
Despite the citizens of Sunset Beach's efforts — organizing a majority opinion in favor of incorporation, raising more than $100,000 toward this goal and entrenching themselves in the arduous process to do so — the council has not ruled out the possibility of annexing (taking over and governing) Sunset. In fact, it appears that they will be doing just that Monday night.
Did you know that there is a law buried deep in the hundreds of thousands of pages of the California State Government Code that denies each of the 1,200 citizens of Sunset Beach their right to vote if they want to be annexed? This denial of voting rights is based on acreage of land. No vote for mayor or council; policy and procedure imposed. No vote for who governs because Sunset Beach is less than 150 acres.
Do you remember, as I do, being taught in grade school that, at one time in this country, the right to vote was reserved for land-owning Anglo-Saxon males, and that gradually, through painful determination of engaged citizens, this right was extended to all adults? Eventually, it became true that all Americans had a say in who governs them, right?
Does it not seem to you as if the citizens of Sunset Beach are being denied their fundamental human right to the choice of self-government due to the size of the land on which they reside, instead being pushed against their will into Huntington Beach's sphere, under its governance?
Keep an eye on mobile homes issue
Ideologues often do not understand or even care about the human costs and impacts of doctrinaire positions based upon their ideologies. On the national level, for example, many "gun nuts" don't care about firearms abuses under their warped interpretation of the Second Amendment. They put ideology over practicality and reason.
Want to own machine guns or buy "cop killer bullets"? Go right ahead, they would say. Your right is sacrosanct in our view. Forget protecting the public. No government intervention allowed.
There is an issue brewing in Huntington Beach that has the ideologues rattling their sabers. It is the ideology of "private property rights" and its application to the subdivision of mobile home parks ("Council approves park subdivision," May 20).
It holds that park owners should have the unfettered right to do anything they want with their property regardless of how it affects those owning residences on it. Under this subdivision ploy to get around current city ordinances protecting this vulnerable population (largely seniors on fixed incomes, many of whom have been in their homes for decades), manufactured housing owners would be forced to purchase the land their homes are on for hundreds of thousands of dollars per space. This would naturally bankrupt most homeowners and force them to either move or stay at the mercy of the park owners. This would kill resale value and make the manufactured homes themselves virtually worthless.
The ideologues are lining up behind this "sacrosanct" right of park owners to do whatever they choose, regardless of the human costs and impacts this doctrinaire position would cause. We can see this in the positions of various City Council candidates. In 2004, the Huntington Beach City Council enacted an ordinance protecting the residential rights of manufactured housing homeowners in the event that park owners converted their property to other uses.
Local government should consider similar protections against this subdivision scheme that victimizes an important and vulnerable segment of our society. The alternative (doing nothing and allowing any abuses to take place) would ruin the lives of thousands of our citizens and enrich only a few, some of whom don't even live in the city.
The choice is clear. Do we put profits over people, or the other way around? Will the ideologues win, or will we emphasize practicality and reason in coming up with solutions to this property rights issue? We will need to listen carefully to City Council candidates in this campaign and hold them accountable for their views on this subject.