Oral health care continues to be one of Ohio’s greatest health challenges. But with the recent extension of Medicaid to more low-income adults, 275,000 additional Ohioans will have dental coverage. While coverage does not necessarily mean access, it does give these Ohioans a way to pay for needed health-care services. We cannot miss this important opportunity to expand basic dental services.
One problem we still need to address is our inadequate dental-care workforce. Ohio has 81 areas designated as short of dental providers — communities and counties that don’t have enough dentists to meet the needs — including two in Summit County. Only 12 percent of Ohio dentists see a significant number of Medicaid patients.
Whether due to the provider shortage or the lack of dentists who take Medicaid, too many Ohioans do not have access to the care they need. There is a solution. We need to expand our dental team to include mid-level providers who can provide basic dental services, leaving the more complex procedures to the team leader, the dentist.
Team-based care, where all providers practice to the full extent of their licenses and training, can expand access while keeping costs down. We see it working in other states. It is time for Ohio to modernize its dental practice laws so more Ohioans have access to care.
Cathy J. Levine
Why America didn’t change
Jeffrey Goldberg’s Dec. 20 column, “Why Newtown didn’t change America,” was very interesting. He gave a good answer as to why things haven’t changed. The statement, “Not that this is going to happen,” is sad but true.
Both sides will never come to an agreement on the rights of Americans or on the rights to own guns. But if you look though history, you will find that if Americans didn’t own guns, or any weapon for that matter, we probably wouldn’t be here as a country.
I will encourage readers to make decisions based on the actual Second Amendment and not on media commentary. One of the reasons I say we as a country might not be without Americans owning guns is because of how the militia helped our country during times of need.
Since about 1665, “militia” has been taken to mean a military force raised from civilians of a country or region to supplement a regular army in an emergency. The militia is not paid for their service; they serve because they love their country. I wish politicians would do the same. So to all those who believe that Americans should not have the right to own a gun, I say look at history and be thankful to all the militia that stood up to protect our country and the rights you have.
If you don’t like guns don’t own one. I am not a huge fan of sports, but does that mean all sports have to be taken away? No, it means I can choose to not watch or be around them. So choose to not be around guns.
In wind and snow
I wanted to express my thanks to mail carriers for delivering the mail through the bitterly cold weather this past week. Thank you to all whose work required being outside all day in windy, subzero temperatures. My hat is off to them.
Rose Marie Schreier
A bully, too
It is interesting how certain media organizations are trying to pin New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with the label of bully, for the traffic-lane closing scandal.
I would think they are doing so because he may be the best Republican candidate with an interest in running for president. The label could also be applied to other political leaders, such as President Obama. Nevertheless, the news media is not putting the label of bully on the president even though Obama, through the Affordable Care Act, used his political authority to require American citizens to pay for abortions, even if they consider abortion to be murder.
In war, conscientious objectors can opt out of fighting, but Obama will not allow Americans to opt out of paying for murder. Furthermore, Gov. Christie is appropriately sorry for the partisan actions of his subordinates, but President Obama is proud of his own actions.
Who is the bigger bully?
Where one party rules
In response to the Dec. 18 letter headlined “Party in power”:
I find I it hard to accept the writer’s two points. One was that doing away with a much-abused filibuster created a one-party system in the Senate. Has the writer looked at the make-up of the House of Representatives lately?
The party in charge there has refused to even bring to the floor an up-or-down vote on many issues. The speaker has said if he doesn’t have the Republican numbers to vote the way he wants them to, then nothing will be voted on. One could say that there is a one-party system in the House. No?
The second point involved the accusation that President Obama “can get away with still more cheating.” A horrible accusation without any facts to prove the comment. How, where and when has he cheated? If the writer knows the answers to these questions, he should please state them. Otherwise, how about showing a little respect for our president?
Michael J. Arciello
With regard to the Jan. 10 letter, “Legislation to promote violence”:
I hope and pray that no one has to face an armed criminal with only a smile as the letter writer advises. I prefer to be at least as well armed as my assailant.
Joseph Abraham III
Danger of creeping socialism
We have steadily moved from capitalism toward socialism, especially in recent years, in the U.S.
Capitalism is a system that allows freedom from excessive government control and taxation. This encourages ambitious and talented people to improve their financial conditions and then to invest their wealth in enterprises that create jobs and overall wealth. Capitalism has allowed the U.S. to become the most wealthy and powerful nation in the world.
Our form of socialism attempts to distribute wealth by using government regulation and taxation. It has created numerous programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance and the earned income tax credit. Unfortunately, these programs are sustained with borrowed or printed money, thus creating an enormous federal debt.
Thoughtful people reason that this cannot continue indefinitely without resulting in a financial catastrophe. At the same time, despite the excessive government subsidies, our economic situation remains anemic.
Much of our population either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the danger to our nation’s economic future and regularly re-elect members of the political party that they feel will continue entitlement payments to which they have become accustomed.
Presidents at war on poverty
I listened to President Obama’s news conference Thursday and his desire to remind us that 50 years ago, President Johnson declared a war on poverty. Imagine the richest country in the world having to focus on the poor, the hungry, the homeless and a need to give education an added emphasis.
As I looked at the president, I saw that he is a wonderful, humble, kind and compassionate person. He certainly has been vilified by those who seem to despise him. How fortunate we are to have a man in that office who is intelligent, moral and articulate, eager to work with whatever party he can to improve the country.
I had hoped that this former editor of the Harvard Law Review, a man who wanted to get the uninsured insurance, help for the poor in the form of food stamps, Medicaid assistance and payments for the unemployed might tickle the consciences of all who seem to pull him back and make his efforts ineffective. To those who cry big government, I remind them that it was much bigger during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.
Sister Kathy McIntyre