I really appreciate the article on Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell (“The Advocate Judge,” 2/23/2017). As a judge, he has natural authority in the community. However, because of his empathy and involvement in it, he is also an inspiration and a role model.
It is reassuring seeing his humanness in the justice system, especially given the current political climate. Now more than ever, community understanding and a person-centered approach is exceedingly important in the criminal justice system. In Dane County, we have some of the greatest racial disparities in the country, and community involvement is a key factor to dissipate these inequalities.
We need to follow Judge Mitchell’s lead, be empathetic towards others and remember that there is a story behind all people.
Kate Berry (via email)
The great divide
Michael Meuleman’s article is a good summary of the issues around Obamacare repeal but does not address that changing the Affordable Care Act is occurring at the same time some Republicans are pursuing major changes to Medicare (“What’s Happening with Obamacare,” 3/2/2017). Overall, seniors do not fare well under any of the new proposals. That further aggravates a major problem, which is maintaining rural health care, as those areas are often more dependent on public subsidies than are urban areas.
During a brief stint at Covering Kids & Families in 2008, I found that when you combined Medicare and Medicaid, many rural counties in Wisconsin had a higher percentage of their population on public subsidies than Milwaukee County. The ACA has undoubtedly expanded those numbers.
In areas with low population density, health care access determines health care availability. As such, the issue becomes the extent that health care services will continue to exist in those communities if there is no way to pay for them and in turn how their economies will continue to function without key medical services.
That is part of the rural-urban divide we often hear about and which we need to begin including in our policy discussions.
George Hagenauer (via email)
The Feb. 23 cover story, “A life worth living,” incorrectly reported how old the Odyssey Project is. The program is now in its 14th year.