Reader letters, Monday: Georgians need better health insurance access – Opinion – Athens Banner-Herald

Georgians need better health insurance access A recent Savannah Morning News headline indicated that half…

Reader letters, Monday: Georgians need better health insurance access – Opinion – Athens Banner-Herald

Georgians need better health insurance access

A recent Savannah Morning News headline indicated that half a million people in Georgia lack access to decent internet. This was undoubtedly brought to light as children are challenged with online learning.

This population probably overlaps with the half-million people who lack health insurance in Georgia because of the intransigence of legislators who refuse to expand Medicaid, so all Georgians can access a basic level of healthcare.

Last week, the Commonwealth Fund, which supports independent research on health policy reform, presented its annual report assessing 49 health measures in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. They found Americans are living shorter lives than in 2014; that Black Americans are nearly twice as likely as whites to die prematurely from treatable conditions, suicide, and alcohol and drug overdoses; and that health coverage gains associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have stalled, while affordability of insurance and out-of-pocket costs have worsened.

The bad news is that Georgia’s national overall rank fell to 46th from 43rd last year; that the state is 49th in access and affordability and 35th in healthy lives.

The headline asked, “What is the state doing?” about the lack of decent internet; shouldn’t it also be asking “What is the state doing about these appalling health rankings?”

We can all work on improving the healthy lives ranking. Healthy Savannah’s website,, outlines healthy choices we can make. We can also keep lobbying our state legislators to expand Medicaid and our federal legislators to strengthen the ACA.

Rosemary Mackey, Savannah

NBA team’s success sparks memories

As I watched the televised NBA basketball playoffs, I realized I was born in Savannah’s segregated and now defunct Georgia infirmary general hospital destined to grow-up to be Savannah’s ultimate Los Angeles Lakers basketball fan.

In 2009 I tried to acquire game tickets only to be rejected. Of course, I knew from the outset Laker tickets are the hardest, most difficult and expensive tickets to acquire in the NBA.

So I tapped into my Savannah roots, calling on lessons from my high school English teacher, the late Mary Roberts. She taught me that it was essential to write with conviction, compassion, attitude, pain, anger, humor, self-worth, selfishness and privilege to get my point across.

I wrote a five-page letter to John Black, the Lakers’ public relations executive. A week later he called to inform me that my letter was great and sent tickets for games in 2009 and 2010. Of course, the Lakers won NBA championships each year. What a coincidence?

This March I was in LA to watch three Laker games, but the NBA canceled all games because of COVID-19. If the Lakers win this year’s NBA championship, I must return to LA in 2021 for two weeks to make up for games missed in 2020, as well as watching games for 2021. I will always be grateful to Ms. Roberts for giving me great insight about writing. She made my dream come true

Edward Maner, Augusta

Trump supporters have abandoned rationale thought

Not only is our nation divided, but we have lost the ability to even talk to each other. It is easy to blame both sides but the fault mainly lies with the side which has abandoned any connection with the truth. Books and news deliver information on President Donald Trump’s reaction to the virus, his statements on military service, is denials of his own words, his endless lies and how shocked and dismayed his former close advisers are by his behavior.

Rational people would evaluate this flood of information. They would not deny its existence. Is it possible to discuss these issues with Trump supporters? Try it and perhaps you will have more success than I have had.

What comes back is not just denial of reality but the creation of an alternative world. “Biden is a secret radical who will destroy our freedoms,” they say. “… Barack Obama deliberately created the divisions in our country … Trump has saved thousands from dying of the virus … Be careful if you go out to dinner as your service to our country will not be recognized as the radicals drink your wife’s wine and spit in your face.”

Those are words to me from Trump supporters. Do people really believe such stuff? Can our democracy survive if too many of us are willing to believe in such dystopia?

John Morris, Savannah

Businesses should do more to protect customers

With the best of attention to masks and spacing, I observed two recent examples of individuals who believe they developed a COVID-19 infection while being cautious with distancing and wearing a mask.

In one, a person went to an outside restaurant at what was previously a marina where they had dinner sitting at a table outside. After dinner, the customer was asked to pay their bill at the bar register rather than the waiter handling the credit card settlement. At the bar there was a group without masks where she had to wait some time to pay her bill. She believes that is where she was exposed and symptoms began a few days later.

In another, a person went into an office supply store to arrange for printing documents and had to wait in line standing on designated floor markings. All there were wearing masks. Because placing an order for printing involves questions and choices each person can take five minutes to place an order. This was, of course, inside the store which had no fans moving the air. As the fourth person in line, he advanced one marker at a time. As a result, he was standing in the air left behind by the person in front of him for either 15 or 20 minutes and a few days later serious symptoms developed.

So these two examples may help illustrate how very careful people can slide into an exposure situation when wearing a mask and distancing correctly – when the business does not consider just one aspect of the customer service process that creates an exposure risk for their customers.

Gordon Matthews, Savannah

Asbury congregation sets poor precedent

Here’s evidence that old heresies never die; they just go to America and become pet theologies of the local clergy.

Asbury Memorial has split from the United Methodist Church because the UMC voted that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” So at Asbury, repentance is unnecessary about homosexual practice despite Jesus’ words, “Repent and believe in the gospel.”

Suppose another church somewhere is “welcoming, all-inclusive,” where “all are invited to experience God’s love in worship, sacrament, and community.” Suppose the pews fill, but with thieves and murderers. But nobody tells those in the pews to repent. Something is wrong.

Is it that thieves and murderers shouldn’t be compared with Asbury’s members motivated by “love” and “inclusiveness?” The Apostle Paul wrote: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.”

Traditionally within Christianity, sex outside marriage is a sin; exceptions open the floodgates.

The ancient heresies that are here now include that the Old Testament does not mean what it says; that sex outside marriage is permissible; that Paul is wrong; that new “prophets” can contradict the Tradition; repentance is unnecessary; and that orthodoxy is whatever you choose it to be.

Herbert Guerry, Savannah

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