Letters: RAM through Medicaid expansion

Johnson City Press • Aug 9, 2019 at 12:00 AM

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RAM through Medicaid expansion

I greatly admire the hundreds of people who give of their time and energy to provide free medical care at the RAM clinics for those who can’t afford health insurance. However, it tears at my heart when I read a statement from RAM CEO Jeff Eastman about Stan Brock, RAM’s founder, talking about Brock’s life’s work of “providing free health care to those in some of the world’s most impoverished regions.” (From Aug. 6 Johnson City Press article) Is that the picture we want to provide to the world, that Washington County is one of the world’s most impoverished regions? Wouldn’t it be much better if Tennessee’s legislators had voted to expand Medicare under the Affordable Care Act so those folks who will be lining up at midnight on Nov. 1 to get their ticket for a free medical exam could schedule a better time to see a doctor? So that 800-1,000 people could preserve their dignity and not have to stand in line through the night for a chance to see a doctor or a dentist?

It appears to me this is just one more way to denigrate those among us who are poor. Tennessee has given up billions of dollars that would have come to the state if our state government had decided to expand Medicaid. Billions of dollars that could have covered those of our neighbors who did not make enough money to be able to get their own insurance coverage over the past nine years. Please, Governor Lee, don’t fool around with block grant proposals that won’t be approved by the governing agency. Just convince your Republican legislators that the plan in place for Medicaid expansion is the way to go and get it done! And we can relegate RAM clinics to a thing of the past.

Johnson City

Go electric

My first reaction to electric cars was that they are non-polluting at nearly 100% efficiency when driving, but they use electric power from the AC power grid produced at about 30% efficiency and they have relatively short driving ranges.

Since joining the Citizens’ Climate Lobby of Northeast Tennessee, I have been learning about the carbon cycle and seeking ways to reduce the release of CO2 into the environment produced from fossil-sequestered carbon.

Recently, I revisited the idea of reducing AC power grid demand swings by storing electricity during low-demand times and withdrawing it at high-demand times. If we reduce the peak demand, we improve the efficiency of the AC power grid, thereby reducing the amount of CO2 produced. There are lots of ideas on how to do this, but they are often complex and costly.

Today, I see that almost every family has two or more cars, many being parked along city streets and in private yards. I propose that we start by replacing our around-town, short-range cars with efficient electric vehicles.

The resulting fleet of EVs is the electric storage capacity we’ve been looking for! We charge them at night with simple timers and drive them in the day, recovering and using the stored electric energy.

Won’t we have to replace the batteries? Yes, but they will last a long time for all those short trips. The replaced batteries are recyclable. Battery performance and recyclability are continually improving, so one can replace them with upgraded batteries.

The time to act is now. So, why not replace one of your old, fossil fuel cars with a new EV? I predict that you will then start dreaming about purchasing and installing solar panels on your house, garage or carport.

Johnson City

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