Letters to the editor about insurance exchange, ‘No Labels,’ park maintenance, city rebates, disability benefits, church-state separation, skycaps

07/28/2013 12:00 AM

07/26/2013 5:18 PM

Roberts is right about uncertainty

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is right to “crusade” against the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” because of how it increases uncertainty and hurts health care providers and their patients (“Insurance exchanges lowering rates in some states,” July 21 WE Blog excerpts). Claims that New York’s health insurance rates have declined thanks to the law fail to capture the dysfunction of the New York insurance market and ignore recent estimates that eastern New York will face rate increases of 30 to 39 percent.

The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make health care more affordable, but it doesn’t. It only spreads the cost across taxpayers and forces everyone to buy insurance. Kansas is lucky to have a senator who understands that Americans need a reform that doesn’t simply pass the buck.


4th Congressional District


Insurance savings

Competition works. Obamacare is lowering insurance rates by an average 50 percent in New York, 29 percent in California and 20 percent in other states where implemented. So be sure to write to Gov. Sam Brownback and thank him for blocking Kansas from developing its own insurance exchange.



Cross the line

The current dysfunction in Washington, D.C., is disturbing, but not as disturbing as the future of our state and country will be if we allow this direction to continue. It’s time we demand that our Kansas representatives work with the elected officials of other states, and parties, for the benefit of our country.

One way to accomplish this is by asking our representatives to join No Labels Problem Solvers, a coalition of nearly 80 Democratic and Republican members of Congress who are trying to work across the aisle to help solve the problems our country faces.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, is the first from the Kansas delegation to “cross the line” and become a Problem Solver (July 22 WE Blog excerpts). Although I disagree with Jenkins on some policy issues, she should be commended for deciding she wants to be part of the solution, not the problem.

I call on U.S. Reps. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, to become No Labels Problem Solvers and help end the gridlock in Washington. For more information on No Labels, visit www.NoLabels.org.



Better usage

Over the past decade, I have been a frequent visitor to Swanson Park and have watched many changes taking place there. Swanson used to be a beautiful nature park with wildflowers and grasses, various wildlife and many varieties of birds. But because the city of Wichita saw no need to maintain the park, cedar trees took over, destroying the habitat.

This year, the city finally reacted. It removed many of the cedars and has put the park on a maintenance schedule that includes regular mowing of the remaining wildflower meadows, and edging and sweeping the sidewalks. Isn’t there a better usage of our resources than to be edging and sweeping sidewalks in a natural habitat where trees drop leaves and animals leave droppings?

Before city officials cut any more park activities to balance their budget, perhaps they should take a deeper look at how they are spending the resources they do have.



Expand rebate

The Wichita rebates for water conservation are only offered for energy-efficient appliances, etc., purchased from May through December 2013. The city reports that most of the rebate money is still sitting untapped, and it’s only good for the last six months of this year.

I purchased all energy- and water-efficient appliances three years ago. The city wonders why nearly $1 million sits yet unclaimed. Maybe those of us who understood the wave of needed energy and water conservation should also be allowed to dip into the rebate pool.

Many Wichitans purchased high-efficiency appliances over the past few years when drought and associated issues were blazingly evident. We should be included in the rebate program for our proactive conservation consumerism.

Rewarding only reactive efforts perpetuates a belief that one need not care until the last minute. It also perpetuates reactive consumerism.

Wichita missed the boat. The “Every Drop Makes an Impact” rebate program would better serve our community if it also rewarded those who are proactive in their stewardship of our resources. A behavior noticed is a behavior repeated. Please notice those who are proactive. That is the win-win watershed.



Not bums

To the people who judge those on Social Security disability benefits (July 25 Opinion Line): What if it were you or someone you love?

Granted, there are the people who work the system. But that does not mean all people on disability benefits do so.

You should deal with days hanging out in the bathroom because the medication that you are on to keep you alive makes you sick, or watch as a loved one is hooked up to tubes and wires because of complications from his illness. If those people are having a good day, let them do what they can.

You may see them mowing or cleaning up their yard, but what you don’t see are the days afterward when they are so worn out they can barely get out of bed.

People on disability are not bums. They are working-class people who, because of whatever has happened, are no longer able to function as normal working people. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to work.

Are you going to hire people who may or may not be able to come to work because of their illness, and give them two- or three-hour breaks because they cannot keep up? Are you going to help your disabled neighbor cut his grass or help him pay for someone to do it for him?

How would you like to be unable to do anything, even though you are having a good day, because your neighbor will judge you if you did?



Keep separate

The U.S. Senate recently proposed S. 1274, which would allow mosques, temples, synagogues and churches destroyed or damaged by natural disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy, to receive federal financial aid. This would violate the establishment clause, which prohibits the government from funding religion, and also the First Amendment’s right to free exercise by forcing all Americans to fund houses of worship. Congregations should be responsible for rebuilding their own struc-tures.

There was a time in Colonial Virginia when colonists were expected to pay for the salaries of Anglican ministers, regardless of their own faith. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison argued that this stripped colonists of religious freedom. S. 1274 would do the same thing by forcing everyone to participate regardless of personal beliefs.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Call or write Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran to let them know that this bill is unconstitutional and a dangerous attempt to circumvent church-state separation in America.



Great Plains Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State


Some courtesy?

When I recently took my daughter to Wichita Mid-Continent Airport on her way to Fort Jackson in South Carolina, she asked the skycap for some assistance. He responded that a cart was $4. He then pointed to me, her 57-year-old mother, and stated that I could help her unload.

Is it unreasonable to expect some courtesy or assistance if you are in the military and have heavy luggage?


Conway Springs

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