It would seem that the current attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act is stalled, but for how long? What will the next version of the bill contain? Initially, the senators negotiating the Better Care Reconciliation Act did so covertly, without any indication about which group of Americans were the most at risk of losing their health care coverage. Who will the next bill target, and as concerned citizens, who do we protect? Will we need to advocate for children with complex medical conditions who depend on Medicaid to receive necessary therapies? Will we need to advocate for student friends who are able to complete degrees because they are covered on their parents’ medical plans? Will pregnant women be targeted once again or all women who use birth control or who receive routine mammograms? What about the Americans over the age of 65 who may be diagnosed with dementia, diabetes or a stroke? Will we need to fight for people who depend on Social Security disability or the families who have relied upon Medical Assistance so that their children may receive care? And what about Americans like me who have decent insurance through an employer, albeit one with a high deductible, but who may also lose coverage at the whim of that employer? The Republicans negotiating the BCRA did so in secret for far too long. We the people deserve to know the contents of any bill so that we may advocate for or against it in true American fashion.
Hannele Nicholson, Minneapolis
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I’d like to cut through all of the smoke and mirrors and discuss the real reason behind the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The truth of the matter is that the Republicans are looking for a way to close the deficit, and that isn’t a bad thing of itself. What’s bad is all of the deceitful rhetoric that covers a wide span from misdirection to baldfaced lies about their replacement for the ACA.
Can you imagine what it might be like if they had the courage to frame this debate in a truthful manner? Maybe then we could have an honest national debate on the subject. I admit to being the last person who would want to see the ACA stripped to the bone. At the same time, we have a crippling deficit that has grown by leaps and bounds due to 16 years of war and the worst recession our country has ever known. Try to picture an honest debate that promoted both sides of the argument without taking it behind closed doors. Who knows — maybe the word “compromise” might be spoken once again in Washington.
Come on, Congress! We know this is all about the budget, so cut the BS. Put your cards above the table and get on with the business of the land in a manner that respects the people who voted you into office.
Dale Jernberg, Minneapolis
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In response to the June 28 letter “Why Medicaid might matter to you, even if you are not ‘poor,’ ” we should not depend on government to take care of long-term care. This is an individual responsibility, and insurance can be purchased to cover this risk. Long-term-care insurance pays if we need care at home or in an assisted-living or nursing-home facility. This is no different from any other risk we all have a responsibility to manage.
Medicaid as we know it today is definitely not anything one should strive for. Fewer facilities are accepting Medicaid patients due to the low reimbursement, and the red tape that is involved in working through the system is very frustrating. Too many people have their head in the sand and fail to plan for long-term care and end up losing their hard-earned retirement income because they think it won’t happen to them or they just don’t want to deal with it because it is too depressing. Look into the purchase of long-term-care insurance that will help protect your assets and minimize the burden of caregiving for your spouse and children. It is worth it. I have had two parents and one sister need long-term care without insurance, and I wouldn’t be without it.
Carol Burk, Victoria
$15 MINIMUM WAGE
The moral case and the cost-of-living numbers merge
The proposed $15-per-hour minimum wage for Minneapolis is just short of what it takes to meet basic living expenses for just one person. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development estimates the cost of living in Hennepin County for a single person with no dependents to be $31,724, more for those over age 50. That requires an hourly wage above $15. Many Minneapolis workers have others dependent on their earnings. A wage rate of $15 an hour is simply basic for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” values fundamental to our nation. The core question behind this debate is whether we in America treat workers as commodities, a vestige of slavery, or do we treat workers as persons and make America great by investing in its people.
The Rev. Christopher Hagen, Minneapolis
There are two kinds: Syria’s, and those sprayed on food
The hypocritical attitudes of the current administration in Washington were clearly depicted on Page A4 of Wednesday’s Star Tribune with the juxtaposition of two news stories.
One article notes the White House’s warning that the Syrian regime would “pay a heavy price” if it used chemical weapons against its own people. The next article describes the EPA’s reversal of the ban on spraying chlorpyrifos on food in our country.
The EPA’s own studies have proved that chlorpyrifos harms children’s brains and that pregnant mothers “ingesting even minuscule amounts” can interfere with babies’ brain development. Is there a connection between this chemical and the 78 percent rise in autism in the last decade?
Why would EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt side with Dow Chemical rather than the American Academy of Pediatrics, whose 66,000 members are deeply alarmed with the decision? Could it be that the $13.6 million Dow spent lobbying last year or the $1 million donated to President Donald Trump’s inaugural influenced Pruitt’s decision?
The big question to be answered: Why is the White House outraged by the Syrian children being sprayed with chemicals while allowing chemicals to harm American children? Just whom is the Environmental Protection Agency protecting?
Kathleen Ziegler, Lino Lakes
Former volunteer tried to spin the controversy. Not buying it.
The recent counterpoint by a former volunteer attorney for the Twin Cities Pride parade had an interesting approach (“Pride-police controversy was a media conflagration,” June 27).
The Pride organizers should have called Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau — period.
We have an openly gay police chief who has taken part in the festivities in past years. The chief and organizers could’ve discussed the concerns given the recent Jeronimo Yanez not-guilty verdict and how to handle any changes. For the chief to be blindsided by the changes — given her position, professionally and personally, along with her past participation in the event — was just wrong.
Trying to distribute the blame after the fact just does not cut it, no matter how you try to spin it.
Online media is fast-moving. You need to plan your public communications and get it right the first time. Otherwise it will take on a life of its own. And then you end up with the mess the organizers had.
The blame need not be spread around in this case.
Teresa Maki, Minnetonka