Bidding complaint is sour grapes
I have been reading about a contract for the new Wichita airport terminal that was awarded to the second-lowest bidder. Generally, the company with the lowest bid receives the award, if it follows the specifications. But in this case, the lowest bidder was rejected, because it did not follow the rules that the government required for the project. Now it is claiming unfairness.
I am not a resident of Wichita or Sedgwick County, nor involved with either company. I am not an attorney. But I am a retired building contractor of 22 years. After I lost a bid, I would have liked a second chance, especially after I knew what my competition was bidding. It never happened.
At the rally led by Catholic bishops in Topeka, speakers protested the federal mandate for health insurance coverage of birth control as an attack on religious freedom (June 30 Local & State). Gov. Sam Brownback called the mandate “an affront to people of faith.”
But there seems to be little recognition that the Catholic position infringes on the rights of women (and men) who hold different religious or philosophical beliefs. And it is largely because of this intransigence on the part of Catholic and conservative Protestant groups that insurance coverage for legal reproductive treatments and procedures, such as contraception and abortion, has not been widely available.
In a more rational scenario, reproductive health concerns would be considered an essential part of health insurance coverage for women, as they are for men. How people choose to deal with their personal health concerns, in consultation with their physicians, need not reflect in any way on the employers that provided the insurance.
For that matter, in a more rational scenario, employers might not be the providers of insurance. Perhaps individuals should be able to choose, based on their health care needs and budgets, from insurance exchanges as provided in the Affordable Care Act. Or Medicare, with its supplemental options, could provide a model for a single-payer solution.
Mandate a big deal
Why did thousands of Catholics stand in the hot sun for two hours in 100-degree weather June 29 in Topeka? They were not only rallying behind their bishops. They also understand and see the significance of the birth-control mandate.
What happens next year when the mandate is fully implemented? Do the Catholics go against their consciences and provide sterilization, contraception and abortion-inducing drugs, or do they close their hospitals, schools and charitable institutions? Do they pay fines, or go to jail for refusing to comply with the mandate?
This mandate strikes at the very heart of the Constitution, the First Amendment and religious freedom in America.
The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Obama administration’s mandate prevents the Catholic Church from exercising its religious beliefs. In fact, it forces Catholic hospitals and institutions to act in opposition to their beliefs.
This is a big, big deal for all religions in our country. About 54 percent of Catholics voted for Barack Obama in 2008. I wonder why he would pick this fight with people who voted for him.
WILLIAM L. PURCELL
Thanks for support
State Sens. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, and Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, led an effort during this past legislative session to provide crucial state funds to the state breast- and cervical-cancer control program, Early Detection Works. EDW provides cancer screenings for low-income women who are without insurance. Funds for the program come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it has been underfunded for several years.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Mid-Kansas and Greater Kansas City affiliates each provide private funding to the program to assist in supplementing the CDC funding. In the past five years, these affiliates have granted more than $1 million to Early Detection Works.
Even with private funding, the need has grown too large. There are 400 to 600 new applications for services each year. In December the program ran out of funds, with no new funding available until the new fiscal year on July 1. As of April, nearly 900 women were without services, and the numbers have grown each month.
Schodorf and McGinn were made aware of the shortfall and worked with the Senate Ways and Means Committee, EDW staff and the Kansas Komen affiliates to add $407,000 in state funding to the 2012 budget to offset the shortfall. This additional funding allowed EDW staff to again provide these crucial services, which can detect cancer in its earliest stages.
Kansas women owe their thanks to Schodorf and McGinn and the entire Senate Ways and Means Committee, and, for shepherding the funding through the House, to Reps. Pat Colloton, R-Leawood; Jo Ann Pottorff, R-Wichita; Kay Wolf, R-Prairie Village; and Don Hill, R-Emporia. Our thanks to all those involved in this process.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure