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Letter: Troubling times

According to The New York Times, a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that some hospitals “will wind up losing money if they take better care of patients.” Therefore, “researchers see little incentive to change if better care means less money coming in.”

This is a reminder that the big problems facing the United States are systemic.

They include that absurdly expensive health care system and an education system seemingly content to recruit its teachers from the bottom two-thirds of college graduates while the countries surpassing us recruit the top one-third and give them the money and support and respect commensurate with their job.

They include a justice system in which indicted people wait years just for a trial and a child-care system that is badly regulated and charges the poorest more than they can afford while paying those who take care of the children an annual median wage of $19,000.

They include 1,000 gun deaths every month accepted as a matter of course and evidence about global climate change dismissed by corporate interests and the powerful people they control.

They include politicians of astounding narrow-mindedness and ignorance who seem nowadays to be proficient in one task: adopting rules that prevent them from enacting legislation.

Would we want teachers to devise policies that stopped them from planning lessons and evaluating students? Would we want physicians who created impediments to diagnosing and treating patients?

A few hours after every crisis breaks, the media spins things to an emphasis on resilience and the triumph of the human spirit. Then we return to watching Dancing with the Has-beens and Wannabees and wait for the next explosion that will jolt us from our lethargy for a day or two.

ROBERT W. PINGREE

Concord

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