Exorbitant health costs go unreported
An article last month about workers having to pay more of their health insurance costs missed an important point, that there are self-employed people who must bear the entire cost of health insurance from their after-tax earnings.
Insurance is almost a requirement for the self-employed, because without it, they have no way to negotiate down the inflated fees charged by the hospitals, as insurance companies can do.
But there is a Catch-22. The average family income in Kentucky is less than $50,000. The insurance premium for a family of four is almost $14,000. Not many families, if they are reasonably healthy, are going to spend over 25 percent of their income on health insurance.
And without health insurance they are exposed to the outrageously artificial and bogus hospital charges such as one I have seen: a $19,000 bill submitted for a circumcision on a 2-year-old. Even with the protection of the insurance company and a final discount of $1,000, the hospital still made off with over $13,000 for the procedure.
A self-employed person with no insurance would have been billed the entire $19,281.10, a gross overcharge for a circumcision even if the patient were an elephant.
Apparently this behavior is not illegal. Such quasi-fraudulent billing should be made illegal by our illustrious lawmakers, but I expect no effort from those quarters.
Price Sewell, M.D.
In 2000, I was suckered into thinking there was no difference between Republicans and Democrats. We all saw how that turned out: War, debt and financial meltdown.
In this coming election, turnout will be crucial. I don't like that Ben Chandler voted against health care reform, but I'd still rather have him in Congress than Ernie Fletcher's unindicted co-conspirator. I don't like that the number of death warrants Jack Conway has signed is equal to the number of men that Kentucky has executed since 1977.
But I'd rather see him in the Senate than someone whose implicit agenda is that those with property should be able to control the lives of those with less property.
Not all of our candidates can be as good as Steve Kay. But we do have choices, however limited. I plan to be at the polls. I hope you will be there, too.
FOP backs judge
One of the key responsibilities of a district court judge is to ensure the protection of a citizen's rights and interests.
The selection of a judge is a somber responsibility and that selection is again necessary this year.
As a police officer and president of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am familiar with Judge Megan Thornton's experience, expertise and knowledge as a district court judge.
Decisions with serious ramifications must be based on fair assessments of the Constitution and case law. The confidence to render important decisions is gained through experience.
Judge Thornton has 13 years of experience and has exhibited a history of sound, logical rulings. For this reason, the FOP has once again endorsed Thornton for District Court judge and urges Fayette County residents to protect our community by returning her to the bench.
Kerr loses vote
I have voted three times for Alice Forgy Kerr, but not again.
I do not gamble and haven't visited Keeneland in five years, but I support the horse industry and the nearly 15,000 Kentucky jobs with it. We stand to lose them, and quickly, because Indiana and Ohio are aggressively racing to lure them away.
Kerr voted against expanded gambling just like her mentor, David Williams. Kerr voted against Williams 30 times out of 2,900 votes. She has either done a fine job of representing Williams' Burkesville or a bad job of representing Lexington, maybe both.
Don Blevins has served independently and honorably as a councilman, and his effective management as Fayette County clerk saved millions of dollars.
I am a conservative who appreciates fiscal responsibility, a strong work ethic and a commitment to meet local needs. In addition to these traits, Blevins has demonstrated uncommon common sense.
Barr the answer
A friend in Cambodia sent me this quote from a Vietnamese woman commenting on Ho Chi Minh City's fancy new infrastructure. "Slavery with a pretty face remains slavery because communism is enslavement of the mind and body, and all the shiny structures and highways cannot change that."
Seeing what Barack Obama and Congress are doing to our once-great nation, I view teleprompter mendacity as similar "shiny structures." When did America become so stupid that black is white, up is down and you can spend more than you make without going bankrupt?
We must vote out incumbents on Nov. 2, and install fiscal and social conservatives.
Anyone who heard Andy Barr interviewed by Leland Conway knows that Barr is the responsible choice over the Nancy Pelosi/Obama robot Ben Chandler. Hearing Barr answer pointed questions with right and responsible solutions was rousing.
Jeff "Mario" Smith
A matter of style
I go to the mall looking for something to wear ... have for several years. I don't want something cut "up to here" or "down to there," as I am an older woman.
Nothing is made in the United States any more. I am tired of "made in China/Indonesia/Japan/the Phillipines," wherever. I want something made here at home. I want to see people put to work here, not just in the clothing business, but in all kinds of manufacturing businesses right here in America.
I want to see people put to work. They don't have to have college degrees to work in factories, either. Everyone can't be a CEO or a big boss. We need to bring manufacturing back to the United States.
Also, have people lost their minds, buying thread-bare jeans and clothing for high prices, calling it "style"? Get real.
Keep tax rate
As a full-time student and part-time employee, I don't think that the tax rates for 2011 should go back to the 2000 rates.
Currently I am paying 10 percent in taxes according to the 2010 tax schedule. My school schedule doesn't allow me the time to work, so therefore I don't make a lot of money.
In 2000, the tax schedule was taking out 15 percent for people who made less than $26,250, and that's if you're single, but people who made $288,350, and single, married or heads of household, were paying 39.6 percent in taxes.
The people who work part-time in a fast-food restaurant making minimum wage can't really afford to be paying 15 percent taxes, when they barely make enough money as it is. So therefore I think that the tax rates for the "poor" people shouldn't go back up, unless you make over $200,000 a year and can be considered "rich."