Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Associated Press article on Cuban health care in the Aug. 26 Maine Sunday Telegram ("Cuba squeezed by health care costs") is off base. Individual complaints of corruption, hoarding and overuse of services are used to suggest health care disaster.
A nurse checks a pregnant woman’s blood pressure at a government-run health clinic in Havana. An Associated Press article on health care in Cuba overlooks both the sector’s accomplishments and the drawbacks of the U.S. system, a reader says.
2012 File Photo/The Associated Press
It's as if there aren't complaints here of troubled doctor-patient relations, hospital mistakes and "can't pay for care"; as if U.S. babies don't die at a rate of 6.5 per 1,000 in their first year (more than 12 per 1,000 for African-American babies), compared to Cuba's rate of 4.5 per 1,000; as if life expectancy here is any better than on the island.
Yet our system is the world's most costly. Want to think about efficiency? Please allow for profiteering.
It's as if:
• Twenty-four thousand students from 116 countries aren't presently studying medicine in Cuba at no personal cost.
• There weren't one doctor for every 148 Cubans (one for every 370 people in the U.S.).
• Some 132,000 Cuban health workers haven't served in 102 countries over 50 years.
• Last year, Cuban and Venezuelan ophthalmologists didn't perform 2 million sight-saving (mainly cataract) operations in 35 countries.
• A total of 2,500 Cuban doctors and nurses weren't working in Pakistan two weeks following the earthquake there in 2005 -- and they stayed six months.
It's as if Cuba's money problems aren't related to a U.S. blockade costing $1 trillion over 50 years.
And, lastly, it's as if Cuba never had to fight off a U.S. assault best described by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Lester D. Mallory in 1959:
"The majority of Cubans support Castro. (We need) a line of action that, if carried very cleverly and discreetly, would achieve major progress in denying Cuba money and supplies (and) thereby cause hunger, desperation and the collapse of the government."
William T. Whitney, M.D.
MDOT keeps wasting time, money on S. Bristol bridge
Livermore Falls townspeople no doubt are thrilled to receive a $400,000 state cash infusion; state Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, is disappointed he can't get similar treatment for his townspeople. Yet quietly in South Bristol, a multimillion-dollar bridge and right of way improvement project moves forward.
When Maine Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt was appointed, he promised improved efficiencies within the department.
The bridge design for Maine Department of Transportation Project No. 016750 has been in progress since 2000 (12 years), with multiple meetings, changes of designers from HNTB Corp. to CHA Inc., different recommendations, multiple changes of project management; an incredible waste of time and taxpayer money.
Adding insult to mismanagement, the design will destroy the character of an incredibly beautiful New England town: South Bristol, Maine. It is overdesigned and overkill. This design will devastate South Bristol's tourist industry, impacting fishermen, handymen, restaurant owners, boatyards and B&Bs.
Please take a look at http://southbristolbridge.org/ -- a picture is worth a thousand words.
To boost deer population, try cutting down more trees
Deer herd decline ("Fewer hunters mean more Mainers feel economic pinch," Aug. 22)?
After the controversy on clear cutting and the loss of the wood harvesting industry, maybe it's time to "cut" a few trees, thus increasing feed opportunities for these deer herds.
Large forest growth contributes to the lack of deer. They need the smaller growth -- tree huggers take note.
Judith Nelson Farrin
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