Sina-cism: Why healthcare reform will happen

Any healthcare reform requires that consumers have sufficient affordable options to induce them to participate voluntarily. There are many paths to that goal, but none of them will be reached so long as crossing the political aisle means committing political suicide.
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

Upon passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, conventional wisdom suggested the law would extend medical coverage to many Americans without it, while failing to curb costs.

Seven years later, that prognosis appears to have been largely on target.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the percentage of Americans without healthcare insurance fell from 16 percent in 2010, to just 8.9 percent in the first half of 2016. On the other hand, many Americans were unable to retain the plans and doctors they had, and many have faced sharply higher premiums and deductibles.

And in some states and counties, insurers have withdrawn from participation in public insurance options, leaving some consumers with but a single choice.

In the wake of a Republican electoral victory last November, conventional wisdom suggested the GOP would move quickly to reform or entirely repeal Obamacare. But Republicans have struggled to do so, in part because parts of the law are popular, and in part because GOP senators remain deeply divided on what reform should look like.

But unless Americans are ready for a single-payer system, which I doubt, some kind of Obamacare reform is a near certainty.

Sina-cism: A Millbury soldier’s odyssey in the Great War

But did 19-year-old William Higginson really choose the Union Jack, or was he drawn to enlist by youthful ardor, visions of glory, and a simple desire to participate in a drama unlike any the world had ever known?
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

For families across our nation, the spring of 1919 was a time for homecomings. Imperial Germany had been defeated the previous November. With the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June, the “war to end all wars” would finally be over.

From the wastelands of a devastated France, millions who had served with the American Expeditionary Forces and survived washed away the mud and fatigue, bound up their wounds as best they could, and prepared to resume the interrupted lives of an interrupted generation.

On May 30, Millbury held the largest Memorial Day service the town had ever seen, honoring her returning soldiers and the six men then known to have perished — George Devoe, Edward N. Blanchard and Donald McCaskill, all of whom had been killed in action in France; and Warren T. Harris, Charles F. Minney and Charles H. Demers, who perished from disease.

A month after those observances, on the very day the Treaty of Versailles was signed, a seventh name was added to the list of the fallen when Charles Higginson of West Main Street received letters informing him of the details of his brother William’s death from cholera.

Last week’s Sina-cism: The right slant on the First Amendment

Sina-cism: Freud, Worcester and ‘The White Hotel’

While there is much historical information about Freud’s visit, fiction has a role, as author Tim O’Brien puts it, “… for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.”
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

There’s nothing like encountering a reference to Worcester in a novel or film. There’s that flash of recognition of the places, people and events the author is describing. It can be a way of discovering something new about one’s native place through the eyes of an outsider.

The 2013 crime drama “American Hustle” offered that, with its scenes outside Union Station, inside the Worcester Art Museum and along Millbury Street.

Another work that references Worcester — less well known, perhaps, but of greater importance — is “The White Hotel,” a 1981 novel by D.M. Thomas. It begins with a series of fictitious letters, the first by Hungarian psychoanalyst Sándor Ferenczi, who accompanied Sigmund Freud on his 1909 visit to the United States and attended his colleague’s lectures at Clark University.

The letter is headed “Standish Hotel, Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.A. 8 September 1909,” and is addressed to Ferenczi’s wife. He tells her how “Brill and Hall are excellent fellows, and everyone at Clark University has overwhelmed us with kindness and compliments. Freud astonished even me with his masterly skill, by delivering five lectures without any notes …”

For insight into Freud’s 1909 visit, this is a promising start.

Last week’s most popular, June 4-10

Here are the most popular Worcester Sun articles June 4-10

Cutting to the chase: Ronnie Caldwell, barber to the Patriots, plans to open shop in Worcester
Worcester 2.0: An outsider’s inside look at the city’s developing future
Mariano: Why no one wants to run for local office
A visionary Worcester under fire
Sina-cism: The word on Trumpian truths from Assumption College
Editorial: In Worcester, a lesson in laundry and kindness