Resistance to reform is not fully considered

The Affordable Care Act has nothing to do with saving or not saving for retirement, nor does it have anything to do with irresponsible spending on home loans, or especially on senseless wars. It has to do with pooling health risks in order to bring health care costs down for everyone.

While it is a pay-it-forward kind of system, it is not entirely the burden of the young (“One generation bearing the financial burdens of another,” Letter of the Day, Sept. 21).

A healthy young man like the letter writer will pay much less in premium than will a moderately healthy 60-year-old like me. His premium may be even less if he qualifies for subsidies, and he will actually have health insurance that covers routine care, mental health care and catastrophic events.

What people seem to forget is that they, or someone they love, may be the next person who is just two days away from a cancer diagnosis, or 10 pounds away from getting diabetes, or five miles away from a serious car accident. Those are not age-related events. We all need insurance these days, since the medical costs for treating those events are out of reach for almost all Americans.

The ACA seeks to provide better health care for more Americans at a lower cost. Whether or not it is successful depends on everyone getting on board and helping to make it work.


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I’m not sure if state Sens. Michelle Benson and Sean Nienow simply don’t understand MNsure or if they are deliberately trying to mislead people (“Are you worried about MNsure? We sure are,” Sept. 21).

The alarm that “not a single dollar” has yet gone toward medication for seniors is completely misplaced. MNsure isn’t for seniors; Medicare policies won’t be sold through MNsure or any of the other “Obamacare” exchanges. Further, coverage purchased through the new exchange doesn’t begin until Jan. 1, 2014 — so it’s also hardly an outrage that “checkups for kids and preventive care for women” haven’t yet been paid for.

As for the security concerns: An employee — since fired — attached the wrong file to an e-mail. That’s absolutely a serious concern. However, it was not a breach of the MNsure website. No consumer data was released, and the data did not pass through the site that consumers will use to compare and purchase insurance.


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Debating the burden of a shutdown

My husband and I have been anticipating a long-planned Amtrak trip to Glacier National Park, but with the uncertainty of a possible government shutdown, we’ve had to rethink those plans.

If the government closes, Amtrak might not run. If the government closes, Glacier National Park will be closed. Worried, I called the Amtrak reservation number to inquire about cancellation penalties.

As I was talking with the pleasant gentleman who answered, it occurred to me that, to this man, this is about more than a ruined trip; it may mean no paycheck.

he car rental and hotel we are booked for will have one less customer during their slower season. The park rangers will be furloughed. The train attendants, conductor and engineers may not be able to make their mortgage payments.

My husband and I can always travel another time, but these people are innocent pawns in a selfish partisan showdown.

JODY KOCI, Burnsville

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Fear and money. Those are two major components of our current political system.

Not reason or facts. And journalism fails us by utilizing press-release reporting that never delves into a story, but takes at face value what politicians say.

Take the looming government shutdown. Wailing is at a fever pitch over the terrible consequences when government “closes its doors.”

Well, in the last shutdown in 1995-96, critical government operations continued, and when it was all over, Congress granted back pay to those who had to stay home, meaning that government employees didn’t lose a dime.

Can we end this endless cycle of misinformation, bombastic rhetoric and media manipulation?

Yes, by public financing of elections that would allow intelligent, reasonable and principled candidates to ask for our votes.


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Intemperate criticism misses several points

The staff of the Star Tribune editorial pages must surely have chuckled when they decided to run the offensive Sept. 22 letter (“Treat killer cats and hunters the same”) that called for Minnesota’s hunters to be neutered. I’m not laughing.

Besides leading the battle to conserve habitat to the benefit of all state wildlife, hunters nationwide positively impact the economy by more than $24.9 billion annually. We support more than 600,000 jobs, many of them in this state.

The letter writer also is out of touch on one other matter: The fastest-growing demographic in hunting is the growing number of young females taking up the sport.

STEVE PENNAZ, Independence

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There, you’ll find the good, bad and ugly

Gilbert Newman Perkins provides an interesting and informed perspective on rap music (“Bring in the noise? No, it’s poetry,” Sept. 23), although he is strangely insensitive to its all-too-common degradation of women.

Incongruous to this literary review of the linguistic subtleties of the genre is his secondhand opinion tossed off without support or rationale that fatherless homes result from unemployment.

It is clear to anyone who really wants to know that the separation of sex from commitment has justified irresponsibility by men and lack of a father has made young women unaware that they deserve better than they are getting from men. And rap tells the whole story, whether in iambic pentameter or not.

ROSS S. OLSON, Minneapolis