Letters to the Editor: March 12 – 18, 2020
The Administration’s Poor Response to Coronavirus
The Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a sham. In addition to President Trump’s ill-informed tweets and Vice President Pence’s continuing missteps in the responding to the epidemic (and the HIV outbreak while Indiana governor), the administration’s unremitting efforts to slash public health and health care funding have only endangered our prevention and disease control efforts that, as many have learned under this COVID-19 epidemic, also contribute to economic stability.
While the administration seeks to shift the blame on the Obama administration, funding earmarked for public health under the Affordable Care Act has declined under the Trump administration. The Trust for America’s Health estimates local and state health departments are struggling with a shortfall of $4.5 billion to address public health threats.
In addition to slashing funding for public health programs, the administration has sought to handicap our health care system which is as critical to mitigating the onset of public health emergencies. Most notably, since President Trump took office, he has sought to destroy the 2010 ACA which successfully boosted insurance coverage and access to free preventive services for over 20 million Americans. More recent efforts to hamper access include Medicaid work requirements that disproportionately affect low-income adults who may not be able to comply because they work intermittent hours during the week or face significant barriers for claiming exemptions. The administration’s public charge rule, which seeks to penalize immigrants for receiving assistance from public programs, also has the effect of discouraging those legally in the U.S. from accessing screening services and basic primary care, including immunizations, until deathly ill.
Rather than seeing public health as an avoidable cost or simple budget expense, the administration should recognize public health funding as an investment for reducing economic risks. Indeed, the freefall of the stock market showcases this link between public health and the global economy. With a stronger and responsive public health system, and greater access to cost-effective preventive and primary care services (which also contributes to a healthier workforce), the return on investment is two-fold — a guarantee on our economic and health security.
Wishes F.C. Council Cared More About Affordable Housing
I am writing in response to the article “Council Barely OKs $1.207M Cost Overrun on City Hall Project,” published in your newspaper on February 28, 2020. I found that this approval of budget for the expansion of [city] hall was able to spark a conversation with regards to developing affordable housing crisis. Makes me wonder why things like renovations are overshadowing this much more important issue at hand.
I want our community to be as inclusive and diverse as it can but if this crisis continues to progress I am afraid constraint choices will be forced upon those who can not live in the area due to economic struggle. This crisis should be a priority because having affordable housing not only invites more people in but also helps those who are currently struggling in our community. I hope the council will become more concerned with the affordable housing crisis then renovations then the issues concerning renovations because we need them to be making decisions that will strengthen our community not put the city in debt.
One of the things I love about this city is that there are people of all soci-economic backrounds. I grew up with many different diverse students in my high school which has enriched me and served me in so many ways when moving on to college away from home. I want to be able to move back home after college into this beautiful inclusive community I know and love.
Melisa Sejas Zenteno
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