Helping others helps ourselves

All across the world people are living in extreme poverty. Living in one of the most powerful countries in the world, it is our responsibility to help those in need.

In mid-June the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act passed through the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would help combat malnourishment and chronic hunger for an additional 5 years if passed. These continued efforts would help better coordinate investments in improving global food security for those who need it.

Many Americans have a hard time understanding why we would support foreign countries rather than focusing this money on our own turf, however, what they fail to realize is that helping others is actually how we help ourselves.

Supporting underdeveloped countries creates a large return on investment for the united states by opening new markets for trade and forming allies with those we assist, in turn strengthening our national security.

Whether it be those within our borders or across the globe we need to be helping and supporting those who need us. Go to to contact your congressional leaders today in support of the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act and together let's make the world a better place for everyone!

John Schmitz

Cottage Grove


Health care discussion needs accuracy

The recent letter, "A free lunch?," demonstrates misunderstanding of our health care system and its financing.

Let's start with the basics. Currently, you must choose a doctor or hospital from those selected by your insurance company. When the selected doctor treats you, she must ensure that the procedure is permitted by the company. The insurer prefers minimal or no treatment, often resulting in costly wrangling. The doctor's office or hospital billing department must deal with hundreds of such insurers, each with their own guidelines and billing procedures.

The result is sky-high administrative costs in our health care system. One-third of your payments go to system overhead.

The single-payer system your letter-writer fears would replace the insurer overhead with a single fund managed by a public-private partnership. All Americans can access it, as with our fire and police protection, and all Americans pay into it. I agree with the letter-writer that there is no free lunch and this system does not assume there is. It does, however, cover everyone much more efficiently. Our current Medicare system is similar.

The letter-writer quotes a study of a proposed single-payer health financing system in Minnesota by the Lewin Group and completely misunderstands it. The writer expresses shock at the predicted cost of single-payer but conveniently fails to compare that to the predicted costs of continuing the current system. In actuality, the Lewin Group calculates that an improved financing system would cover everyone AND save the average Minnesota family over $1,200 annually (

We need to rethink our health care financing system and I am glad there are contributors doing so. For this discussion to be useful, however, we need to bring more accuracy to it.

Joel Clemmer

St. Paul