Health insurance problem is bigger than graduation gap

Your excellent article about college graduates having to grapple with getting dropped from their parents' health insurance ("The graduation gap," July 29) was only one piece of an alarming problem in Minnesota and nationally.

I recently saw an interesting report by Families USA on the website, titled "Dying for Coverage in Minnesota," which describes our unfortunate state of health care. In 2006, people between the ages of 25 and 64 were nearly 10 percent uninsured. Uninsured Minnesotans are sicker and die sooner than their insured counterparts. This report also states that in 2006, twice as many people died from a lack of health insurance as died from homicide. With these types of problems, the larger population is paying the price for the lack of sufficient health care for everyone.

In 2007 there were 450,000 Minnesotans without health care. This number is rising. We need to hold our politicians accountable for this. This, together with concerned and active citizens, can bring rise to affordable health care for everyone. There are plenty of resources in our health care systems, but they are not distributed properly to meet our community's needs. This has happened because health care has become something other than it should be. Big money is going toward middlemen, insurance companies, expensive pharmaceuticals (with twice as many lobbyist as legislators) and highly paid CEOs. It is time we establish health care as a basic right for everyone and still maintain our high level of health care quality at a more effective and efficient cost.

Other countries have universal health care, live longer and have much lower infant mortality. So should we. Do not be lulled into the fancy advertising, and carefully crafted media messages that surround you. The companies that are turning a profit paid them for. After all, your health is at stake.


Plenty of drilling rights

Once again the so-called liberal Star Tribune panders to the oil companies.

In your June 29 editorial "Offshore drilling worthy of debate," there was no mention of the over 60 million acres of offshore drilling rights the oil companies now hold and do not drill on. No mention of the tens of thousands of capped oil wells such as the National Oil Reserve in Alaska, which has proven reserves larger than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that is just sitting there. Or thousands of capped oil wells in California, Texas and Oklahoma to mention a few that the oil companies choose not to pump the oil out of.

Before we put the environment at peril by granting more offshore drilling rights, shouldn't the oil companies use what they already have? The mainstream media have been AWOL on this issue!


Energy debate is incomplete

I agree with your June 29 editorial that offshore drilling needs to be part of the debate in the nation's transition to a long-term sustainable energy policy. However, the current administration has not included other issues that need to be in the debate.

Where are the administration's calls for development of solar energy, bio-mass energy, on-shore and offshore wind energy, engineered geothermal energy and ground-source heat pump technology? Where are the administration's calls for tax and other federal policies designed to drive development and adoption of renewable energy sources as well as to encourage energy conservation?

Until the administration raises the issues of offshore drilling and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the context of a coherent long-term sustainable energy policy, the administration's call to consider these options should be dismissed as irrelevant to any debate about the historically high prices for oil and gas.


Civilization isn't threatened

Having read the July 29 letter "Gay prayer service / Thanks be to church," I'm certainly not going to call the writer a homophobe or hating of gays at all. However, I also don't think he has thought things through before he wrote his letter.

In essence, he stated that if gays can marry, no one is going to have kids because opposite-gender marriage is hard.

First, nothing prevents same-gender couples from living together now. They just can't protect themselves legally as married couples can. Second, anyone who thinks living with another person is easy, regardless of gender, hasn't tried it. Third, most people who live together do so in part for the amorous opportunities involved. No heterosexual wants to be amorous with someone of the same gender any more than someone who is gay wants to be amorous with someone of the opposite gender. Lastly, some people want kids, both gay and straight. Some because they are fun to have, and some because they are fun to make.

Birth rates are falling primarily because people have insecurity in their lives, and because birth control is more readily available. Further, if gay people could marry, we'd probably feel safer to adopt the kids that other people make and then decide they don't want because "they are more fun to make than to have."

Civilization will go on with same-gender couples being able to marry. It will just be happier for more of us.


God's narrow gate

I believe Katherine Kersten summarized the St. Joan gay pride issue brilliantly in her June 30 column. I'm not sure what kind of pastors are affiliated with David McCaffrey's Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), but this group's inability to understand that the celebration of a Biblically sinful lifestyle may be rejected by a church, is perplexing to me.

Like it or not, the Bible teaches that sexual relations outside of a man-woman marriage is sinful. It's just one example out of many of God's Word being a narrow gate, unlike the gate of the world which is wide and prideful. You may reject Christianity and the Bible, that's your decision to make. But to claim that Christianity is hateful because it rejects behavior contrary to God's Word (a black and white standard in today's gray world) is to show a great deal of ignorance and intolerance. Yes, God wants us to recognize and hate sin, but Jesus went to great lengths to teach that although we are to hate sin, we are to love the sinner.

Katherine hit it on the head: The Bible teaches that we are all sinners and fall short of God's glory. Because of that, we cannot be reunited with God unless the sins are forgiven through a perfect sacrifice -- Jesus. We live in sin every day but it is the repentant heart and willing submission to God that separates the Christian life from the secular life.

CPCSM's unwillingness to separate the sin from the sinner and subsequent acceptance of a lifestyle which the Bible condemns, is sinful in itself as false teaching. Again, you may not like the teaching, but it is very clear in the Bible that any sex outside of a man-woman marriage is sinful. Jesus even stated that the mere thought of sexual relations with anyone other than your spouse was sinful. How does CPCSM reconcile these teachings as it advances the "pride" agenda? For McCaffrey to call St. Joan's decision "spiritual violence" is insulting and grandstanding.

The one area McCaffrey is correct on is that this issue needs considerable prayer -- not for the world to be accepting of such a lifestyle or to build one's pride in it -- but rather prayer for repentance and the Truth. No different than prayer for any other sin.