The ACA and costs: Many questions


I am thrilled that the Affordable Care Act was passed. It is a first step to show that change is possible. This transition is not easy, and many more concerns are accruing for those who already are paying for insurance and cannot afford the high deductibles. I am wondering if Medicaid will be able to fully cover the bills for individuals with long-term medical needs, and whether this is sustainable? Will copays be reduced? Are health care costs going to be similar or competitive throughout the states? Are deductibles going to be lowered?

It will be wonderful to have a system in which no one is refused health care based on income, health history and age. Now, I hope for discussions among state legislatures about some of these other pertinent questions.


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According to the New York Times, "the Congressional Budget Office estimates that private health insurance premiums will increase by 5.7 percent each year, on average, from 2012 until 2022. But premiums would be getting more expensive with or without the law." So, should we not see a reduction in premiums now that so many more people will (have to) buy health insurance? And, more intriguingly, where will all the penalty/tax money collected end up?



So far, let's call the amendment unhelpful


Last I read, groups on each side of the marriage amendment in Minnesota had raised $6 million to forward their positions. Regardless of your stance on the amendment, it should be clear that $6 million could be much better spent on feeding the hungry and housing the homeless than on an amendment to the state Constitution that changes nothing. (Gay marriage is already illegal in Minnesota.)

MARY MCFetridge, New Hope

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To Minnesotans who have decided to boycott General Mills because of its recognition of gays and lesbians as people who deserve equal rights, don't forget to also boycott other companies that have been cited as having policies friendly to gay and lesbian employees, including:

Allstate; Amazon; American Airlines; Apple; Applebee's; Banana Republic; Best Buy; Clorox; Coca-Cola (which manufactures Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Fanta, Vitamin Water and Dasani); Costco; Delta Air Lines; Ford; Gap; General Motors; Gerber; Hilton Hotels; Home Depot; IBM; Kraft; Levi's' Marriott International; McDonald's; Microsoft; Nationwide; Nike; Old Navy; Olive Garden; Pepsico (which manufactures Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, Sobe Life Water, Lipton Iced Tea, Amp energy drinks and Aquafina); Procter & Gamble; Red Lobster; Rite Aid; Sears; Southwest Airlines; St. Jude Medical; Starbucks; State Farm; Target; United Airlines; UPS; Walgreens; Walt Disney Co.

Does this sound ridiculous yet? Think about it.


Private enterprise

Government's crucial supporting role


A June 27 letter writer, responding to a commentary about public workers, stated, "There is no net GDP gain when you forcibly take a dollar out of the community in the form of a salary for a government workers vs. a voluntary exchange when someone freely gives a dollar to purchase an item the buyer perceives is of more value [the writer used Apple products as an example] than the dollar in his pocket." The "forcibly take" is disturbing, because this is a democracy -- would the writer prefer another form of government?

But, to the central premise, there would be no Apple absent government (and its employees). The government defines and protects private property. It provides copyright and trademark patents for private companies and their products and provides a legal system to resolve conflicts. It provides the infrastructure -- roads, waterways, airports, ports, bridges, dams -- necessary for the conduct of private business. It provides security for all, and secures sea lanes for companies such as Apple to send material and products to and from China. It provides the system that educates Apple's future employees. Well, the list is endless ...


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The June 27 letter writer is flat-out mistaken about GDP. This index counts dollars in circulation. It counts the same dollar over and over as it changes hands (the multiplier effect). It cannot distinguish between a tax dollar spent and "a voluntary exchange when someone freely gives a dollar to purchase an item." Nor can GDP distinguish between funds borrowed or taxed.

Government undertakes grand scale projects, from the moon landing to the Normandy landing from Hoover Dam to the damn Vikings stadium. Government hiring and handouts remedy business cycle panics. Government wastes money, but never on the scale that consumers do. Much consumption is bilked out of purchasers to acquire fun possessions that interfere with their productive work lives. Government tends to knuckle down to functional, boring, profitless tasks, but could do better.


The culture

Our throwaway, bullying society


The June 28 article ("Is disposable fashion worth the price?") highlights a trend that has been occurring for decades. Remember the phrase "they just don't make 'em like they used to?" Everything from shoes and clothing to appliances and automobiles, not to mention cheap plastic products that are meant to be tossed after one use, demonstrates a form of instant gratification. Corporations benefit, hoping we buy more and buy more frequently, but I wonder what it does for our society, our environment and our souls.

A meaningful life is one that values a conscience, thinks long-term, cares about others and lives purposefully. Let's not throw it away!


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We have seen so many articles about how damaging it is when kids bully one another. Is not the June 26 article "Bachmann: Pop-culture punching bag" a report on adult bullying? Cracks about hair, clothing, etc., hurt no matter who does it. What example are we giving when adults are allowed to pick on one another but kids are told it is wrong?