Letters to the editor on health centers, tea party, ACA, congressional salaries, lower tax revenue, Derby sales tax, domestic violence

10/06/2013 12:00 AM

10/04/2013 6:37 PM

Supported centers before the ACA

Regarding “Moran, Pompeo called out for Obamacare hypocrisy” (Sept. 29 WE Blog excerpts): I have supported community health centers since I came to Congress in 1997 because they help underserved patients by providing them a wide range of preventive and primary health care services in their own communities. CHCs, which are primary care centers located in medically underserved areas that provide care to individuals regardless of their ability to pay, are a targeted initiative that addresses a specific patient access need. They also lower health care costs by reducing expensive emergency room visits and promoting disease prevention and wellness.

I did not vote for the Affordable Care Act because, as we are now seeing, it is increasing health insurance premiums, forcing Americans off their current health insurance coverage, and threatening the survival of hospitals and other providers in Kansas. The ACA is not the right approach for our nation’s health care system.

However, I want to make clear that my opposition to the ACA does not negate my support for CHCs. I supported CHCs long before the ACA was enacted and will continue to do so. For it to be suggested that I should abandon this important Kansas health care initiative I have supported for 16 years because I oppose the ACA is absurd.


Washington, D.C.

No do-over

From its inception, one of the chief precepts of the tea party was to return the nation to the constitutional principles of our Founding Fathers. Therefore, I was astonished to hear Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, explain his rationale for voting to allow the government shutdown.

In an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd, the congressman explained that he and his tea party colleagues did not hold office in 2010, thus never had the chance to actually vote on the Affordable Care Act. Using this type of illogic, lawmakers who were not elected until 1942 would have had the right to call for a revote on the declaration of war against the Axis powers in World War II.

If this is not the case, perhaps Huelskamp can agree that the Constitution is for all of us, winners or losers, and that he will allow the ACA to succeed or fail on its merits and stop asking for a do-over.



Dangerous game

There are many Americans who believe a much smaller and much less-intrusive federal government, one that prescribes and actively supports self-reliance, is what is needed to restore and grow the prosperity that only the private sector is capable of creating. That in itself does not make them tea partiers. Indeed, they distrust and are concerned with the extreme tactics advanced by the tea party, just as they are concerned with the entrenched mindset that opposes it.

What many of us recognize that mainstream media (Fox News included) and progressives entrenched in their ideology do not is that the tea party folks are a growing body of voters. They will continue to elect members to Congress who will faithfully discharge their wishes. It is a dangerous game to belittle them and to drown out their voice by playing them as ignorant and too mentally or emotionally challenged to live responsibly within the controlled state other ideologues want.

Tea party voices are only getting louder, and their power base is growing. The longer this nation goes on trivializing their sentiments, the more we risk a plight much greater than a mere shutdown of some government operations.

The president has shunned them with as much bullheadedness as they have. Because of it, he has shown himself to be an accomplice to the uncertainty that has unnerved us.


Rose Hill

Need health care

Thank you to local individuals and organizations supporting enrollment into Obamacare. I realize that benefits are not immediate but open enrollment has to start sometime, and so many cranks in Congress have done so many pranks.

I believe American citizens deserve health care, like citizens in other civilized countries.



Stop salaries

Yea – the Republicans have succeeded. At least they’ve partially shut down the federal government. Like a lot of other Republicans and anarchists, I was hoping they’d shut down the entire federal government. And I think they should discontinue congressional salaries as well. Since the Republicans have discontinued the wages for about 800,000 federal employees, I think they should also discontinue Congress’ mere 535 salaries.



A good sign?

“Baghdad Bob” is back.

State tax revenues were $8.5 million less than expected in the first quarter of this fiscal year. According to the Kansas Department of Revenue, that’s a good sign (Oct. 2 WE Blog excerpts). Because of the lowering of taxes, businesses may be buying stuff to gear up for increased production, the department said.

That reminds me of Baghdad Bob, the Iraqi information minister during the 2003 invasion. He saw a silver lining every time the Iraqi army took another whipping. He said, “No, I am not scared and neither should you be.” Or he would say, “I blame Al Jazeera; they are marketing for the Americans.”

At least the Kansas officials didn’t blame the media this time.



No tax increase?

When is a tax increase not a tax increase? Probably when the powers that be tell us it isn’t.

We in Derby are set to vote Tuesday on extending a dying sales tax – for good purposes, we are told. The original purpose for the continuance of the tax was for firefighters, library and parks. Now the Derby Recreation Commission wants part of the pot to build a new sports complex outside of town for revenue-producing events.

The credibility of the city government might be an issue here. Whom do we believe? If the DRC is getting into the for-profit business, then it doesn’t need taxing income; most notably, it no longer needs a share of our property taxes. That might not be a bad trade-off – lowering property taxes and raising sales taxes. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to debate it.

Ultimately, it’s still a question of the plausibility of governing bodies. The state government promised us a reduction in income taxes (mine went up), the federal government promises us all sorts of things, and now the local governments seem to be nebulous on objectives.



Break the cycle

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October brings focus to an epidemic that has impacted nearly 33 million Americans in the form of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. About 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women, but men and children are also victims. Domestic violence knows no race, gender or social class. Its impact is far-reaching, with its victims too often suffering silently.

In Kansas, there were more than 24,000 domestic violence incidents reported in 2011, nearly 30 percent of them in Sedgwick County.

Help is available as public and private organizations work together to serve those in our community. An outreach of Catholic Charities’ Harbor House shelter, the SAFE Project is a collaborative partnership with the Kansas Department for Children and Families. It provides help with safety planning, conflict resolution, responsible parenting and healthy relationships, career and employment services, medical and psychological-social services, and financial education and budgeting to qualifying domestic violence and sexual assault survivors and their families in 25 Kansas counties, including Sedgwick County.

Victims of domestic violence can break the cycle of violence today. For immediate safety needs, contact Harbor House at Catholic Charities at 1-866-899-5522.


Executive director

Catholic Charities


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