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Hultgren should listen to voters

Sun-Times Library

Sun-Times Library

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Updated: October 23, 2013 6:34AM

The next time U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren is in town, maybe he could find a way to talk to some of his constituents who do not have health-care insurance. Maybe they could explain to him what it feels like to have health problems without the means to pay a doctor or fill a prescription. They could tell him what it’s like to choose between saving your life and losing your home. Then maybe he could explain why it is so important to him to deny them access to health care — even if it means shutting down our government. Hopefully, when he talks to them, he’ll begin to understand why his position on the Affordable Care Act shows a complete disregard for the people whose health and well-being depend on their new right to obtain health insurance. While health insurance is something he takes for granted, there are thousands of people in his district who have, until now, been denied. It’s not their fault America has the most expensive health-care system in the world.

Has the congressman looked at his Facebook page lately? It seems there are more than a few people in his district who are disturbed and ashamed of his use of overblown rhetoric to frighten, confuse and prevent people from enrolling in the insurance exchanges. This is a time when his constituents need level-headed guidance to navigate the implementation of one of the most important pieces of legislation in a generation. Instead of trying so hard to advance a narrow and extreme political agenda, why not demonstrate true, magnanimous leadership and work to solve the numerous flaws of the ACA? Help it achieve what it is intended to do: Make health care attainable for all Americans. Who doesn’t want that?

Joni Lindgren, Elgin

Sneed’s statistics wrong

Mike Sneed’s Friday column says “Chicago has passed New York as the murder capital of the U.S.” But New York was never anywhere near being the nation’s “murder capital,” a title currently deserved by New Orleans, followed by St. Lois, Detroit and Baltimore. Although high by comparison with “First World” cities abroad, Chicago’s homicide rate (murders per 100,000 of population) is about the same as that of our neighbor to the north, Milwaukee. More broadly, the FBI report Sneed drew her headline from notes that 40 percent of the country’s violent crime occurs in the South.

Thomas W. Evans, Mundelein

Don’t hesitate to call poison center

When it comes to calling the Illinois Poison Center (IPC), I have heard parents say, “I would have called but I didn’t want to look like a bad parent,” or “I am afraid you will report me to the DCFS.” I’ve heard this refrain from young mothers, Facebook followers and even a public official; many parents are afraid to contact our free, confidential medical service for fear of being labeled a “bad” parent. As an emergency physician and toxicologist, and the father of two children, I understand on a personal and professional level that children can and do get into everything. In the time it takes you to turn around, a small child can swallow a battery or drink your eye drops. In fact, close to 49 percent of all calls to the IPC are regarding children 5 years of age and under.

At the IPC, we have a top-notch team of physicians, pharmacists, nurses and specially trained poison experts available 24 hours per day seven days per week to provide treatment advice on poison exposures. This skilled staff manages 90 percent of calls at home without referral to a health care facility. We do not report parents to authorities; that’s not our job. Our job is to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones by providing access to comprehensive treatment advice. I know the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and fear when something may be wrong with your child; panic ensues and your thoughts often turn to the worst-case scenario. In that stressful moment when you discover your child in the medicine cabinet or playing with household chemicals or other potentially hazardous substances, I’m encourage you to call the IPC at 1-800-222-1222 for free, confidential treatment advice for your child.

Dr. Michael Wahl

Medical Director

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