Saturday, November 14, 2009

What if government weren't in health care?

car insurance

After reading the letters to the editor on Oct. 27, I am compelled to write.

One letter writer is talking out of his or her mind here, not wanting the government in health care.

What do these people think Medicare, Medicaid, and TennCare are?

Yes, you still have to pay for it the rest of your life.

Yes, you paid for it all the time you were working and paying taxes.

Should the government not be in the health care business, you and yours would be a burden on society. You cannot have it both ways; wake up; smell the coffee. The "Party of No" is not out for you. It is out for big business and bigger bucks for themselves.

Should Social Security go broke, you can thank the Republicans. They have been trying for years to do away with Social Security.

Thank President Reagan for having to wait past age 65 for full retirement. I have to wait until I am 66 for full retirement benefits or take reduced benefits at age 65.

One more thing, it is not unconstitutional for the government to be in the health care business. It would be a tragic thing for the government not to care about the citizens of this great country.

Harvey D. Boles


Employer mandates

a concern for business

The Nov. 1 guest column, "Economists have it all wrong," accurately notes some of the concerns that businesses have with the increasing number of employer mandates.

Policymakers who favor a requirement that employers provide health care for employees should also recognize the traditional definitions of "small business" versus "large company" aren't always appropriate.

Many small employers have a very high profit per employee. For example, investment firms generate tens of thousands of dollars in pure profit for a single hire.

On the other hand, some large companies employ thousands of workers in entry-wage positions. They operate on low levels of profit per each employee.

A play-or-pay mandate based on the number of employees disproportionately impacts these businesses. A $400 per year per employee health care premium would be less than 2 percent of the profit of a small investment firm but a devastating 20 percent of profits for a casual-dining restaurant.

Kristen Lopez Eastlick

Senior Economic Analyst

Employment Policies


Washington, D.C.

Republican proposal

backs insurance firms

On Nov. 4, I read in the newspaper that finally the GOP in the House came out with a proposal of health care reform.

It was overdue: Simply dumping on any Democratic proposal was not really helping, and it was suggesting that Republicans liked the health care system the way it is.

Now finally we can compare ideas and proposals, and we can see what side each congressman is on. For example, the Republican proposal allows insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, one of the most evil characteristics of the present system, responsible for death or bankruptcy of thousands of Americans.

There is no doubt in my mind that, on this specific issue, Democrats are on our side - the side of 90 percent of the American people - and the Republicans are on their side, the side of the insurance companies' CEOs.

On health care reform this time, the Democrats got it right. Regardless of our own political affiliation, today we should all support the Democratic bills, and call our representative to do so.

We can go back to our own political affiliations when this health care debate storm has passed, and we get our long-waited-for, decent and affordable health care.

Maurizio Conti


Rasmussen better pol

on public health option

I have to wonder why the News Sentinel still bothers with Froma Harrop's columns.

She states Americans favor a public option by nearly two-thirds but uses only a poll by The New York Times/CBS as her source.

Now that is just laugh out loud funny!

The Rasmussen poll has 55 percent against to 42 percent for the public option. Now the Rasmussen poll consistently is the most accurate and was the only poll to call the defeat on Nov. 3 of Jon Corzine in blue state New Jersey correctly.

I think the problem with The New York Times/CBS poll is they may only poll their own declining readership or viewers.

Perhaps the Times poll actually only indicates that even for hard-core liberals, not even two-thirds still support the public option.

Harrop and other liberals must be having a true anxiety attack that this ill-disguised attempt of our rapidly expanding federal government to rip yet another industry from the private sector may actually not come to pass.

John Woodward


Bail out Afghanistan

or pay for health care?

So you think the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was a national disaster?

Want to see something worse? Open your eyes and look around you.

Do you know any of the 10-15 million Americans who are currently unemployed? Do you know any of the 43 million American adults and children who have no health care insurance because they can't afford it, because they lost their jobs or because their insurance company dropped them?

No problem, right? They can get treatment at a hospital emergency room. Sure, it costs more there, but you and I get to pay for it.

We can't afford universal health insurance, but we can afford to spend over $12 billion a year in Afghanistan for the next 20 years on a country which has been ungovernable for 1,300 years.

Now, you decide. What is the greatest threat to our national health and security? Should we be spending our money in Afghanistan or on our own people here in the U.S. who need jobs, health care and some training for good jobs in the future?

Make up your own mind and then call Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander and Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. Tell them your priorities for spending our money. Forget about cutting taxes. For every dime you collect, a dollar will disappear elsewhere.

Ten years not spent on Afghanistan will pay for half the cost of 10 years of national health insurance. Would you rather bail out more banks or invest those billions in job creation for people who will actually earn their money here and now.

Gene Bocknek


Puppy mill story

found appalling

I was appalled at reading the story on the puppy mill in Harriman.

What is wrong with the authorities that they had to go there a third time? There should never have been even a second time with what they found the first time. Those poor animals!

The operator needs to be shut down completely and never own another animal.

If the authorities are there for the animals, they are doing a bad job of things.

Deb Sperling

Sweetwater, Tenn.

Take a stand against

credit card greed

I think it's time for America to wake up and take a stand against credit card companies and the greed they represent.

I refer to the way they keep raising the finance charges to our accounts at their discretion, even when you have a perfect credit rating with them.

As long as we allow this to continue, there's no hope for America to ever overcome the bondage we have brought on ourselves by living beyond our means.

As soon as you receive notice of changes in your account, cancel the cards.

Pay them off as soon as possible.

Rip them up; return them; show them you won't be intimidated any longer.

Before credit cards, we had layaway plans. If we wanted something badly enough, we paid for it each pay day until it became ours - no hassle, no finance charges. Sometimes the old ways are best.

If America would take a stand and the banks and department stores that issue these cards faced bankruptcy for their greed, maybe they would think twice before they took advantage of us again.

Ella Mae Hood


Seniors deserve hike

in Social Security pay

I am one of those whiny senior citizens who doesn't get a raise this January.

Could you live on $1,000 a month and pay utilities, medicine, food, gas, insurance and mortgage?

Yes, we did get a raise, but the Medicare payment increase took it.

I have to pay the same for food, clothing, gas, etc., as the person who is making that much a week.

The $250 we got went for car insurance and other things. Yes, gas did go down, but it has gone up again.

As for those of us who don't have a car, we have to pay someone to take us anywhere, so, no, we are not getting a "freebie," as a letter writer called it.

I would like for you to try and walk in our shoes for a couple of months, and you wouldn't be calling us "whiny."

We have worked all our lives and put money into Social Security, so we are not getting anything that doesn't belong to us already.

Charlotte Branch


Issue is the cross

on government land

In a letter to the editor Oct. 24, a writer suggested that we should boycott the Olympic Games because of the protest in this country of a cross on government land.

He suggests the protest is against the cross. The argument is not about the cross but where it was placed. Had it been a Star of David, it would have elicited the same response.

The cross being on government land crosses (pardon the pun) the boundary of "separation of church and state." The cross should not be erected on land of a national preserve.

Our Founding Fathers didn't want the government and religion to mix. This protects both parties.

The writer's remark about boycotting the Olympics because of the statue of Christ in Rio de Janerio is just silly and doesn't require a reply. He wants us to make decisions for another country. How arrogant!

It is frustrating that most people don't know the basis of our laws; yet without examining these laws, they make quick and uninformed decisions.

As an example, I have heard people complain that the accused are given too much latitude in their trials. Our laws were set up to protect the innocent, and whether we like it or not, a person is considered innocent until he or she is found guilty through an honest and impartial trial.

If a person doesn't like the laws as they are, then start a movement to change them. Independent opinions are just that - independent opinions.

On this, I support anyone's right to voice his or her thoughts as much as I have the right to dispute them.

James M. Cardwell

Lenoir City

House calls are OK

but won't be enough

I was very interested in the article in a recent Sunday edition about doctors who make house calls.

It sounds like an excellent idea, but the case of the woman who was found to have low blood potassium left me wondering why the emergency room doctors didn't test her for it.

If house calls became standard, how long would it be before equally poor or inexperienced doctors were given this job and their work deteriorated to the current level of emergency-room care?

I have a biased view of emergency room care based on my own experience. Recently I called 911 because I was too dizzy to risk standing up and since several close relatives have died following strokes. I was worried.

I was put in a cubicle and left for over two hours. At one point a very rushed young man in a white coat came in and talked to me for less than five minutes.

I'm not sure why he was so rushed since the emergency room was not busy. I was not given a CAT scan although I found later my insurance was billed for one. Then, when I was finally released, my diagnosis was headaches although I almost never get them and the young man never mentioned them.

Although I was at the hospital where my doctor works, the emergency room does not have access to my records. If I had had repeated TIAs or even a stroke I had recovered from, they would have had no way to know.

Just house calls are not enough, desirable though they may be.

Shirley E. Hastings


U.S. judicial system,

language needs change

The judicial system in this country is in desperate need of revision.

It is outrageous to refer to someone who was personally observed by dozens of individuals as he gunned down a group of unarmed soldiers as a suspect.

He is the perpetrator and should be referred to as such.

And what kind of justice is it when defense counsel at trial is allowed to denigrate the character of murder victims, while the prosecution is prohibited from introducing evidence of the accused's past record.

Yes, the system needs to be changed or else appropriately refer to it as the "criminal protection system."

William G. Phelps