Letters to the editor on ACA, school cuts, blaming Bush, homework challenge, driving age

10/31/2013 12:00 AM

10/30/2013 5:34 PM

ACA already making a huge difference

With all the negative press about the Affordable Care Act and the HealthCare.gov website glitches, I’m pleased to report that I am now enrolled in a new health insurance policy, effective Jan. 1, that reduces my deductible from $2,500 a year to $1,000 a year plus includes dental coverage that I never had before – at a total cost of about $100 per month less than my old policy.

I didn’t go through the HealthCare.gov website. I shopped the insurance company websites directly (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas and Coventry Health Care). They have easy-to-navigate and informative websites, so that you can sign up directly. If you are like me and don’t qualify for reduced insurance rates, the HealthCare.gov website is basically just a shopping portal to compare policies.

I hope the HealthCare.gov website gets fixed soon. But the new insurance plans are still out there and, for me, the ACA provisions that prohibit the use of pre-existing conditions to deny coverage or charge exorbitant premiums made a huge difference. Thank you, President Obama.



Whose expense?

Some anti-tax groups say that the state spends an average of $12,000 per pupil on K-12 education, suggesting that Kansas schools have plenty of money to educate our children. But that total includes designated funds that can be spent only for things such as capital outlay, transportation and retirement, not for teacher salaries. The base state aid that can be used for instructional staff is $3,838 per pupil. That amount is down from $4,400 in 2009. That is the reason many teachers have been fired or have not received an increase in their salaries. Remember, the Wichita school district had to cut more than 300 jobs because of that reduction in state funds.

Now, everybody loves to have their taxes lowered. But at whose expense? The children suffer the most. Who benefits the most? Well, just follow the money.

In a capitalistic society, you get what you pay for. I want our children to receive the best education money can buy, so they can graduate, get good jobs, and receive good wages and grow our whole economy in Kansas. They are our citizens of tomorrow, and we owe them that.



Don’t blame Bush

I am convinced that either columnist Leonard Pitts was out of the country during the Hurricane Katrina debacle, or he thinks today’s readers were (“Here’s to the dull and competent,” Oct. 28 Opinion).

In the news coverage during the event and the follow-up analysis of the disaster, it was established that neither the mayor of New Orleans nor the governor of Louisiana had any plans of any kind to deal with an unplanned disaster. President Bush requested permission to send in the National Guard and other federal services but was denied permission for several days. New Orleans had several hundred school buses that could have been used for mass evacuation early on, but they remained in their parking lots and were destroyed by the flood. There was no chain of command in the city or state governments in a condition to collect information for decision making or to make or communicate decisions to those where the action was. In the next election, Louisiana elected a Republican governor.



Hit the nail

I agree with columnist Leonard Pitts (“Here’s to the dull and competent,” Oct. 28 Opinion): Competent beats sexy. But I think that most Americans have some sympathy with computer problems because of our own frustrations with them. It was good to hear President Obama express his own frustration and say that he is trying to fix the problems with HealthCare.gov. But after all the hoopla, an apology might be in order.

I am still not sorry I voted for Obama, but he does appear to have hit the “nail” firmly on his own thumb.



Owes an apology

As someone with a degree in education, as well as a former member of the Wichita school board, I am deeply disturbed by the decisions made by Brianna Falvey, a fourth-grade teacher at Colvin Elementary School, regarding her challenge that all her students complete and turn in homework for 100 consecutive days (“Class misses homework goal, will start over,” Oct. 22 Local & State). It is absurd for her to have imposed such an unrealistic requirement on her students. The day has long passed when we teach effectively through punishment and humiliation.

Falvey owes an apology to her students, as well as to their parents and caregivers. Perhaps this will be an important “teaching moment” for all, including her.


Prescott, Ariz.

Lower driving age

The driving age in Kansas should change. Adults want to teach teenagers how to be independent, yet having to get rides from parents isn’t helping. Teens have so much on their plates with school, extracurricular activities and jobs that they need to get to, but that is hard for parents to do because they are very busy as well.

At age 15, teens should be able to get a less-restricted license. That isn’t asking for a lot.



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