Healthy learners

Sen. Tim Scott recently stated that the United States should look to Scandinavia and countries in Asia as models for improving our educational system. The one factor he did not mention is that those countries provide universal health care to all their citizens.

There is a strong connection among access to health care, healthy children and improved educational outcomes. If Sen. Scott feels we should mimic those countries' successes in education, then he should be championing universal health care for all Americans.

Richard Hernandez

Fairbury Drive

Goose Creek

Birth center study

I am writing in response to a Dec. 1 letter regarding birth centers and the 2013 National Birth Center Study II. The study only looked directly at outcomes from birthing centers. It did not contain a similar group of low-risk women managed by obstetricians during the same time period.

The 2010 source cited for the information regarding Caesarean rates by obstetricians did not delineate a similar group of low-risk women. The rates of Caesarean delivery of up to 32 percent include all pregnant women, including high-risk groups not managed by midwives.

According to the study, the majority of women were white, married, between the ages of 18 and 34, carrying single babies with head down presentation, and half having more than 16 years of education.

I applaud the success of Charleston Birth Place and appreciate that this is an option in our community for highly motivated women. Obstetricians manage all pregnant women regardless of maternal or fetal risks. We do not perform Caesarean deliveries on a whim, but on an individual basis with both maternal and fetal health considered.

I managed similar low-risk patients in my practice, including the mother in decisions regarding positioning during labor and need for pain management, and involving family members in the birthing experience, with resulting normal vaginal deliveries, albeit in a birth suite in a hospital setting.

Susan Kerrigan, M.D.

Enclave Drive

Mount Pleasant

Double rewards

Do you have trouble buying holiday gifts for your family? Do they have too much already? Do you want them to feel the holiday spirit without just getting stuff they don't need or want?

One year, we didn't want to give just to fulfill the "giving obligation." My daughter suggested we give more to charity because her kids already had enough toys.

We gave the grandchildren (4 and 6 years old) a "donation coupon" to buy school supplies for Teachers' Supply Closet. My daughter explained to the children why TSC needed school supplies. We requested they make it a fun family outing.

They loved shopping for bags full of supplies for other children and felt very good about helping those who needed things more than they did. When they got home, they even volunteered to donate some of their own toys to needy children.

Whether you are a 4 year old, teenager, adult or grandparent, please consider giving a "donation coupon" to your family for Teachers' Supply Closet. It will bring the holiday spirit to children and support a great organization.

At Teachers' Supply Closet, we provide free school supplies to children at financially challenged schools in the tri-county area. Teachers schedule their shopping time in accordance with available supplies and space. Please visit the website for more information. Of course, we always welcome your supply or monetary donations and thank you for your support.

We wish you a happy holiday.

Linda Britton

Board member

Teachers' Supply Closet

Steeplechase Lane

Hollywood

Global shifts When reporting on species migrating because of changing weather conditions, you could also include the Florida orange groves in the vicinity of Orlando, Florida.

During the 1970s there was a period referred to as "global cooling" and the cold weather wreaked havoc on the orange groves. This problem was solved by relocating the orange groves south.

When you consider the brief time between reported global cooling and global warming, the time difference in terms of the "life" of the Earth is comparable to the blink of an eye.

The only thing that is constant in life is change.

Tim Calnon

Morgan Place Drive

Isle of Palms

Cut the baloney

Sadly, I think we should consider for our government a less than flattering descriptor, which has long been unused in the dust bin called a dictionary. Kakistocracy (1829) is defined as "government by the worst element of a society."

The "worst elements of a society" do not apply to all individuals who are Democrats, Republicans, Independents or those aligned with other political groups. However, the phrase is appropriate as applied to political groups in general.

I use "kakistocracy" to describe the last eight or so years of our federal government and the economic turmoil and uncertainty they have imposed on our citizens, covering the last part of the term of President Bush to the present day under President Obama.

The Democrats say this. The Republicans say that. In between are the wannabe types who feel that everyone who doesn't accept their positions is most certainly in the shallow part of the human gene pool.

The so-called "fiscal cliff" problem remains. We need to eliminate deficits and have a yearly surplus. Why? The deficit, regardless of the amount, adds to the national debt. Not only will taxpayers (mostly those who will follow us) have to pay that debt, the interest on that debt must be serviced. The more we have to pay on the debt the less we have for other things.

Cut the political posturing. Stop the self-serving shortsightedness that looks to the next election. Senators and representatives must not focus on only their own state or district. Look also to the United States of America. Priority one is to bring in more revenue than expenses.

Remember that word "surplus" from so many years ago? The excess or fiscal surplus, no matter how little, must go to reducing the debt. Give the current kakistocracy 60 days to agree on a plan to have a yearly surplus. If after 60 days it fails, the responsibility goes to the Federal Reserve (members are not elected) to devise a plan that the federal kakistocracy must accept.

Further, fire them all and start over. Sounds like a proposal to establish term limits? Absolutely.

Albert N. Balzano

Chisolm Road

Johns Island

Expand Medicaid

Medicaid expansion may not be the Bullet Train, but not having a ticket (while simultaneously thumbing our noses at the conductor) will probably prove disastrous for about 40 percent of this state's population. It could prove, yet again, disgraceful for our state and its policymakers in the eyes of the rest of the nation.

I wish The Post and Courier would re-evaluate its editorial involvement on this issue. The state's efforts on Medicaid expansion have been, to say the best about them, equivocal and even capricious. It's very possible I've missed something, but I have yet to learn of any serious and comprehensive initiative.

Given the state's demographic and economic make-up, South Carolina could be at the leading edge of a challenge to the nation to make good on its commitment to broaden health care coverage to economically disadvantaged towns, counties and regions.

Instead, the state is again behaving as though sufficient neglect will eventually result in the disappearance of the poor and uneducated, refusing to learn many of the most significant lessons to be taken from the storied past of which it claims to be so proud.

South Carolina's quasi-official callousness, neglect and oppositionality on expanding health care coverage promise to cast the Palmetto State once more as the nation's incorrigibly cruel, recalcitrant and self- destructive two-year-old.

Phil Snead

North Edgewood Drive

Charleston