The Republicans claim more people will have access to health care under their new plan (“GOP reveals plan for health law,” March 7). When I go to the grocery store, I have access to meat that is $20 a pound, but that doesn’t mean I can buy it. We will all have access, but will it be affordable? The poor will pay more, and the tax on the wealthiest Americans will be gone. They will have plenty of money to pay for their full-coverage policies. The poor will have access to policies. What will those policies cover?
Carol Keymer, Plymouth
• • •
President Trump’s America is not looking “great” to me. As I see it, the changes Trump is requesting are being created at the expense of those who can afford it the least. Was Trump lying to all of us when he said that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act and give us a health program that was to be “so great, so beautiful, that we just will not believe it?” Perhaps that is because we cannot believe it.
We cannot believe it because changes to the ACA will be at the expense of those who are the most underserved in this country — those who live paycheck to paycheck. The working poor can’t take advantage of health savings accounts, because their family budgets are already stretched between rent, utilities and groceries. At the time when baby boomers like me are near or at retirement, the Republican plan will increase dramatically the amount insurance companies charge our aging adults, while simultaneously increasing the co-payments at the time of treatment. We will go back to deciding if we eat this month or buy medication. The Republican plan repeals the employer mandate, which allowed for those who work full time to receive insurance at a reduced rate because you work for that employer.
The Republicans will tell you that we cannot afford a comprehensive health care plan that provides care for all — an expansion of Medicare for all. I will tell you, as a nurse, that we must. Health care is constantly evolving and complicated. Even if you have the best insurance available, if you are introduced to a new virus because you live in a population of individuals who can’t afford care, you are at increased risk. The U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation, yet we rank poorly in outcomes.
With the proposed Republican repeal of the employer mandate, would it not be appropriate for Medicare to be offered to all? All other European countries, which have better outcomes, have a health care policy that cares for their populations. Why can’t the U.S. do so? I refuse to believe that the richest country can’t afford to care for its citizens. I believe it is because our politicians choose not to do so. The time has come for Americans to tell the political class that we demand that all Americans have affordable health care. Stand up for the underserved. Then, and only then, will we be able to speak to the “greatness” of this country. We will be speaking up for the heart of America.
Cheryl O’Daniel, Apple Valley
• • •
The “Trumpcare” replacement being proposed by the GOP doesn’t address the Medicaid federal funding shortage if passed as recommended by the president and the Republican-controlled Congress. Six out of 10 nursing home residents nationally currently rely on the Affordable Care Act Medicaid funding. The other issue of concern is for those in their 50s, with a 13 percent estimated increase, and early 60s, who would see a 22 percent increase, or five times what those in their 20s would be paying for medical insurance, before being eligible for Medicare.
Don Kerr, Woodland
• • •
I am writing in response to proponents of bringing the “high risk pool” health insurance concept (for instance, modeled on the 1976 Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association plan, as a March 6 letter writer suggests) from the perspective on one who was part of this pool for many years. It was created because people like me with “preexisting conditions” could not get conventional health insurance coverage. I can assure readers that it is only slightly better than going without any health insurance. I had a $10,000 deductible to afford the monthly premium, which means that I paid for virtually all of my health care costs or went without treatment. The ACA forces insurance companies to cover everyone, as it should.
Mary Jane Miller, Minnetonka
Enough already with this focus
I’m embarrassed and disgusted. How long do we have to hear about Vikings tickets? (“Chair skipped line, got best NFL seats,” March 5.) I never received a ticket, and I know both leaders, but I never dreamed that if they got special treatment it would be a major story in all of our news for three months or more (and it looks like now the Legislature will be in charge). Do you trust a legislator who as late as Monday morning wasted valuable time to speak of the ticket situation as if it were a national disgrace?
Our disgrace is that our Legislature cannot fix the problem in one meeting. Or maybe our biggest problem is that we elected the wrong people.
Donald Hill, Northfield
• • •
I can’t help but wonder why, with all the claims against former Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen concerning use of private boxes and ticket scheduling, nothing is ever mentioned about the facts that Kelm-Helgen managed the creation of this spectacular new stadium and that she did it on time and on budget while fulfilling commitments to disadvantaged contractors. Not that I believe the misuse of private suites and line-butting are good and right processes (though hardly new) — I don’t — but let’s put these procedures in perspective.
Kathleen Clarke Anderson, Minneapolis
A missed opportunity in poor example and anecdote about it
Steven L. Blue’s “checklist for effective leadership” (Business Forum, March 6) criticized a supervisor for suspending employees’ bottled-water privileges. Why not, instead, urge the company to issue reusable bottles to employees to refill at drinking fountains (or, if they were available then, bottle filling stations)? The cost to the company would be less, and the cost to the environment by not having to dispose of all those plastic bottles would be a lot less. That’s what I would call effective leadership.
Stew Thornley, Roseville
JOURNALISM AND SOCIETY
The things you see in the paper
I try to learn something new every day. From the March 7 paper, before I even finished my coffee, I learned that the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development believes that slaves were really immigrants, just trying to make a better life for themselves in America. And I learned on the front page that right here in the great state of Minnesota, a man searching through a garbage can for something to eat is considered a “nuisance.” What has become of us?
Ed Murphy, Minneapolis
The writer is executive director of Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless.
• • •
On page D4 of the March 7 Business section, I noticed the most peculiar small photo. It was a tiny picture, about 1½ inches square, of a very good-looking woman in a bikini. The Daily Markets page used this photo to grab attention for the declining quarterly results from retailer Urban Outfitters. I checked. This photo is on Urban Outfitters’ website, along with hundreds of other photos of T-shirts, shoes, menswear, sunglasses, bomber jackets and even furniture. Sexy eye candy for the NASDAQ? That is a new low.
Rochelle Eastman, Savage