Jonathan Wright: If columnist dislikes subsidies, he shouldn’t take one

Saturday, February 15, 2014
To the editor:

I read Jay Fleitman’s Feb. 4 tale of two diatribes with some disbelief. First, anyone who has tracked faxes and trundled outdated medicine lists from office to office trying to organize care among disconnected practices knows that better integrated information is essential for efficiency and for good care. Even a casual look at the modernized practices locally and larger systems such as the spectacularly integrated EPIC system at Yale University will see the benefits.

The federal government subsidies are directed to underserved areas and rural medicine to help those practices advance. They were lobbied for by private physician interests. If Dr. Fleitman does not want to take the subsidy, then he shouldn’t. Pay for your own systems upgrades, the way the rest of us do in business.

The carbon investment in solar panel manufacturing takes about nine years of generation to offset, against 30-year panel life. Transforming the sun’s energy is clean and harmless and beautiful. Most crystals and many panels are made overseas. Some, such as Sunpower, are assembled in the US. Evergreen, a Massachusetts company that tried to buck the trend, could not make it. Maybe, with increased U.S. markets, the panel manufacturing will return.

By comparison, a nuclear installation, never, in its 40-year service life, recovers the energy invested in its construction and operation. Not even close. It is decommissioned before it breaks even.

Jonathan Wright