Letters: Medical fees, historic districts, election

Watch for health disparities

Re: The story in the Feb. 13 Detroit News, “State health agency asks Genesee to halt test charges

I was taken aback that it took so long for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to stop low-income Flint residents from being charged for toxic lead blood testing. The cost of the $36 blood test is a significant financial obstacle to many families who have been exposed to toxic water and need treatment.

As a medical student, I am increasingly aware of the everyday inequalities that plague our healthcare system. Communities of lower socioeconomic status have worse health outcomes. This reality has to do with circumstances like disproportionate environmental burdens and the ability afford basic health services like blood tests.

It is devastating that our public health system has failed the residents of Genesee County twice. First, they failed to protect the community from the danger of toxic water exposure. Second, they were unable to provide equal access to treatment services from the start.

The cost of lab testing is a well-established barrier to seeking and receiving healthcare. I urge healthcare providers, policy makers, and community members to better anticipate disparities across communities. Simply reacting is not enough to prevent public health disasters like this one from escalating.

Sonia Havele, Farmington Hills

Historic districts work

Would it make sense to question every 10 years whether Fort Michilimackinac, for example, was still historic? No. What is historic is, by definition, going to remain historic as time passes.

The notion that historic-ness should be subject to a legislative “sunset” policy is laughable — not to mention ironic — on its face. But that is just one of many flaws in legislation being proposed to change the way Michigan’s Local Historic Districts Act works: House Bill 5232 and Senate Bill 720.

My colleagues and I who make up the board of trustees of the Historical Society of Michigan want what is best for the preservation of our state's history in each of its communities and these bills would move us in the opposite direction, diluting local control.

To make matters worse, it is a solution that lacks a serious problem to solve. Our historic districts law has been an unqualified success story since being implemented in the 1970s, adding value to communities across the state.

Our board believes the proposed changes are unnecessary and would damage the cause of preserving key parts of our past.

Once a historic area is lost, it can never be recreated. That is why we believe it is so important that these bills be rejected.

Paul M. Keep, Historical Society of Michigan

Economy tops social issues

Republican presidential candidates keep talking about what they want, not what the people want. I don't agree with everything Donald Trump has to say, but we need someone who can bring jobs back to the U.S.

When we are all working again and the economy is on track, then the religious zealots can try to change the laws so everyone will live life like they want them to. Some people are so worried about how other lives their lives in private that they would let the country go bankrupt in order to impose their beliefs on their neighbors. God is our final judge, not our fellow men.

Trump is our best chance to put America back to work, so let’s vote for getting our country back on track and not worry about how other people live. I've never voted Republican and I'm not now. I'm voting for economic changes before it's too late.

Ronald Gibbs, Wyandotte

Support for Sanders

March 8 is Michigan's presidential primary election. This is an open primary; you do not need to be registered in any party to vote. If you are undecided, please consider Democrat Bernie Sanders.

Sanders has a long time history of advocating for the average American. Notice during debates and interviews, he’s not the one questioned about his integrity: he is a solid candidate who has been consistent, forthright, and exercised good judgment for decades. Recently he has been endorsed by the Michigan Nurses Association.

He’s campaigning on getting the big money out of politics, which I think almost all Americans can agree on. There was a time when wages were high, corporations were profitable and paid their fair share of taxes, and we had the greatest infrastructure in the world. Sanders' economic plans aim to return those times

Let 2016 be the year we make our voices heard, voting for the candidate who will represent us all.

Hailey Stampfly Black, Schoolcraft