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Letters to the editor

October 19, 2001 | Page 4

Heartened by the antiwar response
Already feeling the economic slump

This health care non-system is sick

Dear Socialist Worker,

As the days have passed following the September 11 tragedy, I've seen how arbitrary, inhumane and unfair our healthcare "non-system" really is.

In this country, more than 40 million people have no health insurance. Many of the survivors of the September 11 attacks who suffered injuries were among the ranks of the uninsured. In the coming months, these workers will be getting medical bills that will bankrupt them.

Only some of the families of the people killed will continue to have health care--because for many families, coverage was dependent on an employee who died. This is sick.

Cathy Nash and her daughter Jennifer Petrillo are nurses in Brooklyn. Minutes after the towers came down, they rushed to the World Trade Center to offer their services.

While helping the injured, Cathy tripped over some rubble and broke her leg. But she works for a home health care company that does not offer health insurance, and the company has refused to pay for her medical treatment.

Cathy will be out of work for at least six weeks with no pay. She is now considered a "charity case" by the New York Times--which has created a "Neediest Fund" specifically to help the uninsured.

What an outrage!

Instead of pouring billions of dollars into the military, President Bush should use that money to create a national healthcare system, where every single person is insured.

Helen Redmond, Chicago

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Heartened by the antiwar response

Dear Socialist Worker,

I was out of the country living in Mexico City when the September 11 attacks occurred. But I was excited to see such a confident antiwar movement already underway when I returned for the weekend of demonstrations on September 29-30.

I am a public school teacher from Washington D.C. Three D.C. public school teachers died in the plane that hit the Pentagon, so when I went to visit my school, I really didn't know what to expect from my coworkers.

But I was so heartened to listen to their ideas. Now that a few protests have broken through the pro-war rants of the media, many of my coworkers had the confidence to speak their minds.

And what did they say? That Bush is a hypocrite. That the U.S. is the biggest instigator of violence the world over. That they're mad that the airlines can go begging for money and then fire so many people. That nothing is gained by war.

After I heard the strong and angry words of my colleagues, I have so much more confidence in our side's ability to stop this insanity. It might not always seem like it, but many people are watching and taking their cue from activists. The coworker who is silent today might well become our strongest ally tomorrow.

Jeff Bale, AFT Local 6, Mexico City

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Already feeling the economic slump

Dear Socialist Worker,

Long before the September 11 attacks, the recession was already evident in small-town America.

I am in Laurinburg, N.C., where I am teaching for eight weeks this fall. Everyone I have met either has been recently laid off, has a family member who has been laid off or is actively seeking a better job.

One woman told me that although the unemployment rate in the state as a whole is about 5 percent, here in Laurinburg, it is 10 percent. And that rate will increase to 12 percent when the largest employer in town, Abbott Laboratories, closes its hospital products manufacturing operations--putting 900 people out of work.

Abbott attributes the shut-down to "continuing cost pressure in the worldwide market." A division vice president said, "These actions result from an ongoing evaluation of business and economic conditions." But he failed to mention how hundreds of families are going to feed and house themselves following the layoffs.

Meanwhile, Abbott is a leading U.S. maker of health-care products and had almost $14 billion in revenues last year. What's more, the federal government is investigating Abbott for making money by defrauding Medicaid and Medicare.

Somebody is making out like a bandit--while the prospects for working people in this town are shrinking smaller still.

Laura Rose, Laurinburg, N.C.

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