Kentucky should go for single-payer health care law
Congratulations to Gov. Steve Beshear, our state employees and private contractors for the successful launch of Kynect.
This has brought some great positive publicity to Kentucky, including a half-hour segment on The Ed Show on MSNBC which included a tour of the Frankfort facility.
The governor used this time to tout several other successful progressive initiatives in our state.
I have recently seen articles on Vermont having approved a single-payer health care system, known as "Everybody In, Nobody Out."
All Vermont residents are covered with no plans, forms, deductibles or limits. It is estimated it will lower medical costs 25 percent due to the elimination of paperwork and the simplification of support systems.
Beshear should cement his legacy as a leader who, by improving access to health care, put the good of Kentucky's citizens first.
He should do this by exploring the "Everybody In, Nobody Out" system, and, if it makes sense for Kentucky, introducing the legislation to implement this system here in the commonwealth.
Sen. Mitch McConnell's comments on the new health care law indicate he believes his job is to sit on the sideline, criticizing, demeaning, attempting to defund and eliminate the Affordable Care Act.
Apparently our senior senator has become so accustomed to obstructionism he thinks that it is his elected function.
Of the 280,000 Kentuckians whose insurance policies will end because they fail to meet ACA standards for coverage, he never mentions how many will get better, cheaper, subsidized or equivalent plans under the ACA.
That apparently is unimportant, as are the 600,000 Kentuckians who have no health care and little hope of getting any without the law.
McConnell has no concern that high rates of bankruptcies due to health care costs or the limitations on coverage and the high cost of the most expensive health care system in the world have produced an overall health outcome in the United States below every industrialized country in the world.
His concern focuses only on the ACA increasing taxes or leading to termination of some policies because of a failure to meet a higher standard.
Has Congress ever passed a perfect law? Are laws immutable things that cannot be modified or improved to address problems that may exist?
Apparently so. if your goal isn't improvement but obstructionism. Working Kentuckians and their quality of life are not his audience or concern. Let's make sure next year, McConnell is no longer ours.
The real last word
One of my favorite reads in the Herald-Leader sports section is "The Last Word."
On Nov. 19, the quote came from New York Jets assistant coach and former Broncos running back Anthony Lynn. He recalled a former coach telling him at a young age that "black guys can't play quarterback."
Reading this brought back a memory of my own. In the mid-1960s, I was a running back for a high school in western Pennsylvania. We had an Irish-American quarterback who was injured early in his senior year. He was tackled by a Polish-American.
Our German-American coach replaced him with an African-American young man who finished the season at quarterback. The team played on without a hitch.
This memory may seem humorous except for the final chapter. Our African-American teammate was killed a year later fighting for all of us his first day in Vietnam.
By the way, the only "color" I could mention is the last name of my friend, which you can find on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. It is White.
Proud of health care law
Despite its beleaguered rollout, I still proudly support the Affordable Care Act and its principle that all Americans should purchase health insurance so that those previously uninsured don't simply show up at emergency rooms and receive care at the expense of others.
This individual mandate to buy insurance was a Republican idea based on personal responsibility.
When President Barack Obama co-opted the individual mandate rather than pursue a more progressive single-payer system, Republicans disowned the mandate and have tried to stymie the law, to the chagrin of millions of Americans who need health insurance.
This is most evident in states with Republican governors who chose not to set up state health insurance exchanges or accept expanded Medicaid funding.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear deserves praise for his leadership implementing the law and giving thousands of Kentuckians access to health care in a state that ranks low on many health indicators.
Kentucky is a model for the ACA's potential, no thanks to our obstructionist senators.
Those who have received notices of cancellation or increased rates must acknowledge insurance companies regularly cancelled policies and raised rates before the ACA.
After the website debacle, Republicans invoked the inefficacy of "big government." Their claim is inaccurate since one of the ACA's most successful elements thus far is expanding health care to low-income Americans through Medicaid.
It's time for Republicans to accept the moral imperative of expanded health care and encourage Americans to sign up for the ACA rather than play politics.
Emery W. Caywood
When our country was founded, senators, representatives and even the president were expected to spend time serving in Washington and then return to their homes and their careers alongside their fellow citizens.
Our founders never envisioned an elite ruling class such as exists today.
Though there are some exceptions, most political leaders have the following priorities:
■ Get re-elected and garner more power, money and prestige for themselves and their families.
■ Support their party, which supports No. 1.
■ Get federal money for their district or state, which supports No. 1.
■ Do what seems to be best in the short term for the United States, as long as it doesn't conflict with 1, 2 or 3.
■ Do what seems to be best in the long run for the U.S. — which is so far down the priority list it rarely comes into play.
Most don't begin their political careers with these priorities but once they are in the system, they learn the only way to achieve priority No. 1 is to become a team player and adopt these priorities.
There are exceptions, but they don't last long in Washington.
Supporting this elite class of politicians is a massive bureaucracy headed by other highly paid elites, long-term government employees protected by Civil Service rules and virtually impossible to fire or otherwise discipline.
The result is an unaccountable, bloated government careening from one costly blunder to another. We are in deep trouble.