Air ambulance service

Recent news of one of the larger air medical companies, PHI, filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reorganize and solve its debts due partly to “a significant decrease in revenue from air medical” demonstrates that access to these life-saving services is in jeopardy.

PHI has air medical bases primarily throughout the Midwest/Southeast/Southwest and Mid-Atlantic states.

Operating an air medical base 24/7, 365 days a year is expensive. Yet, more than 70 percent of patients using air medical services have Medicare, Medicaid or no insurance at all and those programs only cover a fraction of providers’ costs.

Some private insurers then add insult to injury by refusing to negotiate with providers and go in-network.

This current system is simply unsustainable. That is why we must find a federal solution — one that updates reimbursement rates by government payers.

And private insurers must do right by patients by working with air medical providers to go in-network and reimburse for these life-saving services. Access to emergency care and American lives are at stake.

Carter Johnson

Washington, D.C.

Pronouns

A recent R-E article, by someone who identified himself as a retired college English professor, ranted against the singular use of “they”/“their”/“them.” He assumed that these pronouns must always have plural reference.

But, singular “they” (etc.) has been in use since at least the 14th century.

The Wikipedia article on singular “they” gives this example from a 1382 edition of Wycliffe’s Bible: “Eche on in þer craft ys wijs.” (Each one in their craft is wise.)

There are usages of singular “they” in works by Chaucer, Shakespeare (e.g. “there’s not a man I meet but doth salute me, as if I were their well-acquainted friend” — The Comedy of Errors) and Emily Dickinson, among many others.

And there are plenty of everyday uses that would most likely go unnoticed by the article writer, e.g. “Somebody keeps calling me. They want money.”

According to a post in the public Oxford English Dictionary blog, “Even people who object to singular they as a grammatical error use it themselves when they’re not looking, a sure sign that anyone who objects to singular they is, if not a fool or an idiot, at least hopelessly out of date” (https://public.oed.com/blog/a-brief-history-of-singular-they/).

Barbara Abbott

Lake Leelanau