Cartoons to the editor

Letters to the editor (Obamacare): Sept. 29

September 29, 2013 

Law part of change in health care already under way

As a physcian for 30 years, I can foresee the inevitability of a national health care plan. I cannot predict whether or not it will resemble Obamacare, but in some form, its existence is a certainty.

The more farsighted leaders of the health-care industry have begun factoring it into financial planning.

Obamacare is not a reactionary, situational response to a crisis that will be reassessed after a few years.

Nor is it an opportunistic act by a political party that found itself in a rare, though transient, position of extraordinary dominance that can be easily reversed after the next election.

Obamacare represents a trans-generational, demographic shift that began in the 1960s and has now achieved momentum.

The millennial generation sees health care as a right of humanity, not a privilege reserved for those who fortuitously possess adequate financial assets or employment perks.

They will not and should not accept the possibility of financial ruin due to a ruptured appendix or automobile accident, in spite of being gainfully employed but lacking the right coverage.

Obamacare has many faults and limitations and certainly doesn't represent the final solution. Many adjustments should and must be made. It is, however, foolish and shortsighted to stand in front of this steamroller of societal advancement in a fruitless effort to stop the unstoppable.

Instead, energy should be focused on critical but well-considered ideas to guide the direction and speed of its course. Progress will be rough with many corrections and false starts, but the final result will be an improved America.

John Vance, M.D.

Lexington


Beshear actions wrong

If Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear believes what he wrote in the Sept. 27 New York Times, he should be first in line for Obamacare's new, absurdly unaffordable mental health benefits.

"For the first time, we will make affordable health insurance available to every single citizen in the state," Beshear claimed.

First, we've seen that some rates aren't affordable even when subsidized. More important, health care was more available and affordable before government started taking it over half a century ago.

Beshear states that 308,000 Kentuckians will go from being uninsured to covered by Medicaid. That will mean less than nothing as providers run away from Medicaid and leave longer lines for lower-quality services.

The fact Beshear hopes to keep hidden is that, contrary to a circuit court ruling, he broke the law in promoting Obamacare. His July 2012 executive order creating the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange reorganized government, rewrote state law and mandated expenditures without legislative approval.

KRS 12.028 provides for the governor to do so on a temporary basis, but requires ratification by the legislature in the succeeding session. Failing that, the statute mandates expiration of the order 90 days after the session ends. On that 90th day, Beshear issued a second order re-creating the exchange, which is also prohibited by statute.

If the governor is allowed to make such changes without legislative approval, why bother having a legislature? Supporters of Obamacare may reconsider their zeal for this behavior when the governor is a conservative Republican. But then it will be too late.

David Adams

Nicholasville


Defund, before too late

We have one last chance to stop the 2,700-page monstrosity known as Obamacare with its 10,561 pages of accompanying regulations by defunding it. More will get coverage but, when fully implemented, only the young, middle-aged and healthy will get treatment.

Why? Fewer doctors. Write and call senators and representatives to tell them to defund.

The government is shut down every three-day weekend and Thanksgiving without harm and has been shut down a dozen times from 1975 to 1995 without harm.

If we don't stop Obamacare now, the resulting higher insurance costs, part-time work, taxes on health insurance, fewer jobs from businesses facing too much regulation and other problems will push us into second-world status.

If amnesty is passed, the problems with noncitizens will push us into third-world status and a permanent Democratic majority.

Ask for buying medical insurance across state lines as we do car insurance, for medical savings accounts and for tort reform. Republicans proposed this earlier, but the media didn't report it.

J. B. Armstrong

Bardstown


What's not to like?

Probably no topic has received more recent news coverage than Obamacare. A recent headline reported, "House votes to prevent shutdown, kill Obamacare."

I did some digging to learn what it is that the House wants to kill. Here is what I came up with.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law March 23, 2010, includes these provisions to make doctor and hospital care affordable:

■ Prohibits insurers from denying coverage to individuals regardless of pre-existing conditions.

■ Requires insurers to offer the same premium to all applicants of the same age and geographical location without regard to gender or most pre-existing conditions.

■ Establishes minimum standards for health insurance policies.

■ Expands Medicaid eligibility to include more people.

■ Provides for more efficient operation of the Medicare payment system.

To fund the program, the law does the following:

■ Requires all individuals not otherwise covered to secure an approved private insurance policy or pay a penalty. It provides subsidies to people with low-incomes so that they can comply.

■ Requires online marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can compare policies and buy insurance.

■ Penalizes firms that employ 50 or more people but do not offer health insurance to those employees.

The time being spent by those trying to kill Obamacare would be better spent improving the imperfect parts of the law so that a better health-care system can develop.

Dan Niffenegger

Lexington


Stand up for the law

It is about time the Obama administration has started to fight for and explain the Affordable Care Act. Republicans are spending tons of money on advertising to repeal Obamacare.

Just saying over and over ad nauseam it is bad for America is not true, not very convincing.

Republicans are the main cause of congressional gridlock. Their refusal to compromise and work for the common good of all Americans is selfish and immoral. How can anyone in good conscience oppose health care coverage for everybody? No one who is uninsured should have to declare bankruptcy when stricken with a catastrophic illness or disease.

I am a senior citizen on Medicare. I like Medicare and believe Obamacare is good for America. Once Obamacare is fully implemented, people will like it. That is what Republicans fear the most.

Paul L. Whiteley Sr.

Louisville


Amend, don't end it

Many conservative politicians, mostly Republican, are determined to take actions to end the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The U.S. House has attempted to repeal it on 41 different occasions, without success. Insanity is sometimes defined as doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. Stop the insanity.

Obamacare has many excellent features. Why not try to amend any areas of concern instead of abolishing the whole law? The U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times throughout our history and is currently the envy of the free world.

I am certain that most of us Americans are quite pleased that the politicians did not abolish it when it was first written and made appropriate amendments when needed. Let's amend Obamacare, if needed, and not abolish it.

Bob Naydan

Lexington


Barr echoes GOP mantra

Congressman Andy Barr's Sept. 20 column did little to advance reasonable discussion about the Affordable Care Act or to cease the demonization of the president. Barr describes provisions of the act as "job-crushing" and "flawed" but doesn't explain how they are so.

Finally, the congressman asserts that he is anxious to work to assure Kentucky families' ability to receive affordable quality health care services, yet neither he nor his House Republican allies have proposed any methods to accomplish the things that the act already does.

It's a shame that Barr has succumbed to the Republican mantra so early in his congressional career.

Charles Witt

Winchester


Bad law, troubling legacy

If President Barack Obama's term expired tomorrow, what would be his legacy? Certainly, he will always be recognized as the first black U.S. president. But beyond that, what did he promise and deliver?

He promised transparency; he brought us opaqueness and obfuscation. He promised to cut the budget deficit in half; but didn't tell us he'd first double it.

He promised to be president of all Americans; instead, he has carved up people by race, ethnicity, gender, religion and economic class to promote his political agenda.

He promised to improve the economy; but we've languished in the worst post-recession recovery in history.

He promised to work across the aisle; yet, since losing the congressional super-majorities he enjoyed his first two years, he has been unwilling or unable to accomplish anything with the other side.

His crowning legislative achievement — Obamacare — is one of the most costly and reviled programs; it has had an adverse impact on jobs.

His foreign policy agenda has entailed four strategies: abrogating the U.S. historical leading role to the United Nations; downplaying terrorism; defining red lines and backing off from them; and treating the Muslim faith with kid gloves.

Russia's Valdimir Putin has eaten his lunch; Bashar Assad still reigns in Syria; we're being kicked out of Benghazi and still don't know who perpetrated the consulate attack; and Egypt is on the brink of civil war in part due to his misplaced efforts to instill western democracy there.

I have one question for him: Is this the legacy you want to leave behind?

Stephen I. Nussbaum

Nicholasville

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