Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to Thanks for your patience.
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Pass Policies on Plastic

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 26, 2023

Dear Editor,
    Environmentalists and politicians need to change the way we speak about plastic pollution. We often hear the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but there is more focus on recycling than reduction. Recycling plastic, simply put, is not enough. Plastic incineration is also frequently claimed to be the perfect solution. If plastic is burned and destroyed, it no longer causes harm, right? This notion is incorrect and is leading us and our policies in the wrong direction. Plastic incineration is far from an acceptable solution, as it contributes heavily to air pollution. The only way to work toward a more sustainable future is to reduce plastic production and consumption altogether. There is no magic cure to fix the consequences of plastic while our economy still relies on it, we just need to stop contributing to the problem. We need to pass bottle bills, plastic packaging taxes, and policies that limit single-use plastics.
Eliana Legatt

How 'Bout That Higgins

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 26, 2023

Dear Editor,
    It was with great humor and after the Paxton debacle, I read a teenager is suing my DA, Kelly Higgins for being "a impolite person.” [“Teen Files 'Rogue Prosecutor' Lawsuit Against Hays Co. Prosecutor,” News, Sept. 22] I know this is Texas but are you freaking kidding?! Mr Higgins has come in to clean up a mess in Hays County and was the attorney of a friend of mine.  He is gracious and kind and taking on a job to protect women, trans folks, and others whose rights are being stomped on. If he doesn't pass charm school, so what? He's fighting for all of us! I am behind Kelly Higgins!!
Nancy Lemon

Seton Has Their Say

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 25, 2023

Dear Editor,
    On Sept. 11, The Austin Chronicle published the story “Central Health Budget Suggests Waning Trust in Ascension.” Ascension Seton was not contacted for comment or input on the story. Had The Austin Chronicle reached out, here’s what readers would have learned about this complex issue.
    Seton has seen every MAP patient that Central Health has referred to us, in good faith, even though Central Health enrolled thousands more participants than our agreements allowed. Despite Central Health’s claims to the contrary, the goal was never to have the same number of hospital visits as in 2013. The goal was and remains to see patients in appropriate settings and, through case management, reduce the hospital visits for the 25,000 [Medical Access Program] enrollees. 
    Central Health was intended to be – and initially was – a material part of the public funding for hospital services for the safety net, but recently stopped providing funding and since 2020 has provided less than $1 million per year for these hospital services.
    By unilaterally increasing the number of patients participating in the MAP program and not paying for the additional participants, per the agreements, Central Health has left Seton with tens of millions of dollars in additional costs.
    Seton receives only partial funding from state and federal programs for services delivered to the safety net population, generally covering less than half of the cost of the services. To meet the expanded need, we depend on the strength of our system, our donors who are committed to caring for those most in need AND governmental entities (Central Health) meeting their financial and contractual commitments. 
    Year after year, Central Health has budgeted tens of millions of dollars to expand health care services for the safety net patients, and knowingly failed to spend those dollars for Travis County residents, preferring to set it aside for a future, unclear plan. Mayor Watson recently said, “...right now there are significant needs, and parts of that distant plan align directly with those immediate needs and the missions of both Central Health and Integral Care.”
    Seton has provided $5.6 billion in uncompensated care and community benefit in Central Texas over the last 10 years, as reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
    Seton has been part of Austin since 1902 and it was and is our mission to care for those most in need. Through our infrastructure, MAP patients currently have access to 15 high-quality hospitals and 250 clinics across Central Texas. Central Health’s plan would return to a fragmented, two-tier system that’s not equitable, and that costs taxpayers significantly more. The residents of Austin and Travis County deserve to hear the full story.
Jennifer Hudson
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