An emergency medical billing system suggestion

To meet the coronavirus crisis, our medical billing system needs to be streamlined into an emergency system that includes the following: All medical care to everyone provided at no cost, retroactive to March 15; all patient and insurance billing suspended; all costs to providers, hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, etc. be paid through Medicare at 130 percent of current Medicare/Medicaid rates; all health insurance companies to suspend operations by April 20; everyone needing medical care for any reason will receive medical care, but crisis protocols for postponing or denying nonurgent care apply; fraudulent billing to Medicare to be investigated and prosecuted aggressively; this system to be in place until March 1, 2021, or until a coronavirus vaccine is available.

An intended consequence: several hundred thousand people will be laid off, including health insurance company employees, medical billing workers in hospitals and medical practices, and human resource employees who administer employee health insurance plans.

Medicare could hire 5 percent to handle its increased workload. The Justice Department could hire 2 percent to help combat fraudulent Medicare billing. Ninety-three percent remain available — all could be invited to train as temporary health care workers. Many will already have some medical training and experience.

Let’s do it!

David Paul Henry


Success is in the eye of the beholder

On Sunday, President Donald Trump said that if the United States can keep the death toll down to 100,000, “we all together have done a very good job.” I pray we can do much better than that.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also stated Sunday that the death toll could rise to 200,000. I have to wonder why and how a country like ours with a population of 327 million (one fourth that of China) could have a death toll of between 100,000 and 200,000, while China’s with a population of more than 1.3 billion had a reported death toll of approximately 3,300. Why may the death toll of the U.S. be 30 to 60 times that of China?

I’m sure there are several rational explanations. The most obvious to me is this: ineptitude, incompetence and inaction at the highest level of our government.

Ronald Sweet


Our fates our linked

I appreciated Bruce Poliquin’s call for unity in the Bangor Daily News on March 29. The times certainly demand it. The times also demand increased discernment. The coronavirus pandemic shines the light on our absolute connection as humans.

There really is no here and there, no us and them — our fates are linked. We’ve known this on many levels throughout history; prophets and spiritual guides from every corner forever preach the same. We’re moved by kindness and generosity, especially when the odds are hard.

Success as a person, as a society, is not in taking more but in sharing more. To see government attempt to serve citizens — that is what gives me and many hope, and renews our courage.

Poliquin seems to believe that our hope and strength were in the economic bluster of the past years — the steep acceleration of the economic distancing (inequality) of global capitalism — in it to get the most, make the most, give the dog a bone, leave the rest behind — what even Pope Francis has called ” savage capitalism.”

If we do not see the absurdity of a few having billions, and billions having next to nothing, we are missing the underlying global pandemic that is destroying the planet, its people, nature and our futures. If we do not reach across borders to shelter those fleeing violence and terror, we will find no mercy either. If we do not care for our earth and temper our growth, we will lose our only home.

There is more than enough to go around, if we dare to see our world as one family. We need a larger view of ourselves and each other. May these times help us renew our spirits and rebuild a global society of the people, by the people and for the people.

Brian Dyer Stewart