Opinions

Insist on intelligent health care change
In a recent study for the Progressive Club, I uncovered numerous facts about our American medical culture that may be of interest.  I present it here in brief, hoping this will further inform public discussion.
Health care is complex, a $3 trillion expenditure of our $18 trillion annual GDP, or about 17 percent of all goods and services in this country as of 2015. Warren Buffett called medical costs “the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.” That averages about $9,000 per capita annually, more than twice the $3,600 spent in the average OECD countries (Western-oriented industrial economies; Canada $4,608, France $4,407, all in equivalent purchasing power).  Yet we don’t live as long, have more chronic conditions, and have poorer health outcomes despite spending so much more.

The Legatum Institute in London developed a prosperity index – a composite measure of wealth, education, economic growth and personal wellbeing. In 2016 the U.S. ranked 32nd, just below Thailand and Kuwait, and far below most European countries.  Japan ranked fourth, Sweden sixth, and Canada 16th.  So despite our wealth, our wellbeing is lower than many “almost peer” countries, with our average age at death being 73 years, a ranking of 43rd.

Importantly, we can learn from other countries that are doing better at lower cost. The numbers prove it. Our health care system is wasteful, unfair, inefficient, and unethical, and denies resources to other national priorities.  The Peterson Foundation reports costs result from greater use of technology and unwarrantedly high prices, not the number of doctor visits or hospital admissions. Others add uncompetitive pricing, multiple payers (federal, state, private, public, insurance companies, employers and out-of-pocket sources), and unneeded services as causes. Add a comment

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Editor’s note: The following refers to a letter written by John Holt, titled “Don’t shake down residents for pool,” printed in the April 20 edition.

Spend money as if it were your own
Mr. Holt’s letter underscores the problem we face resolving the issue of a new pool. I was away on travel for two weeks and found the survey closed before I could respond. A search of the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association website, and its associated site map, yielded no swimming pool survey. Has our website been scrubbed of all relevant survey information?
Our community has 4,635 lots, nearly 4,200 homes, and approximately 12,000 residents, yet only 1,374 surveys were tabulated. The survey presented only three options, all requiring payment for a new pool. A “no” option was not available. Are the directors presenting a fait accompli?

A total of only 510 survey respondents were in favor of the 50 percent reserve funds/50 percent new $100 assessment choice for payment, 442 for a new $195 assessment, and 422 for all reserve funds. Is the choice of only 11 percent of our property owners binding? Add a comment

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Criticism should be informed
Regarding John Holt’s letter last week, “Don’t shake down residents for pool,” it is okay to express informed criticism of how Lake Monticello Owners’ Association (LMOA) is managed, but was his criticism informed? I am writing as an LMOA member and volunteer and not on behalf of the Board or staff.

No, Mr. Holt, you do not pay the Board of Directors nearly $1,000 each year for them to “figure these things out,” nor do any LMOA members; Board members are volunteers who give untold hours on LMOA owners’ behalf. You seem to think the pool funding survey didn’t get enough responses, at 30 percent of owners. Every owner who has provided an email address (requested multiple times in recent years) was able to take the survey in several minutes on their computer, and every owner who lives at the Lake was notified in Lake Views that they could take the survey on paper at the LMOA office. What would you have done to get more responses? Did you answer the survey? Thirty percent is actually a very high percentage for a survey of any kind, and it is about the percentage of LMOA owners who vote in most of our annual meetings/elections.

Do you think LMOA should spend less on snow removal? How much less? Do you even know how much is spent annually on snow removal? How do you know that the Board did not consider “other funding possibilities” for the pool? Are you familiar with the LMOA budget, which is posted on LMOA Voice? Do you read the financial reports which are generally posted on LMOA Voice with monthly Board meeting materials? Have you signed up and accessed the LMOA Voice website? Have you attended any meetings of the (also volunteer) finance committee (which I chair)? Can you name another community in our region which has the amenities ours has and dues as low as ours? Add a comment

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Congratulations on VPA awards

To editor Christina Dimeo,

What a wonderful sweep of the awards you and your colleague, Ms. Lisa Hurdle, made in this year’s press awards!  It is just great to see your skillful reporting rewarded. Your energy as a journalist shows through like a thousand watt bulb!

Felicitations to you and Ms. Hurdle!

Jeff James
Lake Monticello Progressive Club
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House fire victims thank community
This is a thank you note from the Elliott family to the Lake Monticello and Fluvanna County community. After a devastating house fire on Feb. 21, the community helped us so much.

Unfortunately, I did not get names of those who so generously came to our aid.  Your kindness and concern lifted our spirits on a day when we lost so much.  We are so blessed that no one was hurt and all the animals were rescued. 

Thank you for taking the time to show you care. You didn’t have to do the things you did but we’re very grateful for all you have done.  You did special things that we will never forget.  Thank you:

  • to the fire department for all they did;
  • to the lady that brought us two large cases of water and a large bag of dog food;
  • to the people that gave us cash and gift cards;
  • to the ladies in the office at Lake Monticello for their help and guidance;
  • to the people who offered us a place to stay;
  • to the lady that bought me clothes and shoes;
  • to the family that opened their home to be a collection site for all donated items and to her husband who delivered them to us; and
  • to the families that offered us words of comfort.

We have never been so overwhelmed by the generosity and support from so many people. How do you thank a community? I’m not sure, but your kindness and generosity will never be forgotten!

Donna and Ronald Elliott and family
Lake Monticello
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