Letters to the Editor

January 6, 2014

Letters to the editor on health care freedom, gas prices, politics

Many object to Obamacare in the belief that a government intrusion into health care impinges on their freedom. This is mistaken, since their freedom has already been lost.

No freedom in health care

Many object to Obamacare in the belief that a government intrusion into health care impinges on their freedom. This is mistaken, since their freedom has already been lost.

Anyone with insurance is governed by the insurance company. Those without insurance are governed by the exigencies of the emergency room. The goal of an insurance company is to provide profit for its investors. The goal of the emergency room is to minimize the cost for treatment of the uninsured. Neither institution is primarily concerned with the good of the patient.

One result is that Americans pay double for health care while, on a national basis, receiving no better care.

That this basic fact is almost totally neglected is quite astonishing. In no other area are Americans willing to pay consistently exorbitant costs for what they receive.

Our willingness to do so in the health care realm is largely the result of propaganda spewed forth by extremely wealthy ultraconservative organizations. These organizations also do their best to undermine trust in government. Unfortunately, their propaganda has been overly successful.

Americans seem to have lost sight of the fact that in our democracy, we the people control the government. If we cannot trust ourselves, whom can we trust?

The real choice we are facing is whether to trust for-profit hospitals and insurance companies, or to trust our government, a government we control.



Gas puzzle

The recent hikes citywide in the price of gasoline brought to mind a recent trip to Denver. Upon reaching the area where I would be spending the major portion of my time, I was gratified to see not one but two Conoco stations on opposite corners of a nearby busy intersection. Gas was $3.53 per gallon at one, $3.29 at the other. Naturally, I filled up at the cheaper of the two thinking I had done so before the inevitable price increase.

The next morning on the way from my hotel, I noticed a convenience store selling gas at $3.05. Upon reaching my destination, I saw that neither Conoco station had made even a 1-cent change in its price of the day before, nor did either price change the entire week I was there. When I left five days later, I filled my tank with the $3.05-a-gallon gas near the hotel and headed home.

Station owners in Wichita maintain that their prices merely reflect what the market dictates, so I am left wondering why Denver seems to be immune to the vagaries of the market. Do the local stations all buy from the same supplier and have their tanks filled on the same day, making the same-day raises possible? Do the Denver stations operate on greatly differing overheads? It is a puzzle.



It’s all politics

“It is all politics.” How often do we hear that statement?

There is nothing wrong with the political process, as anything that involves public policy or public funds involves politics.

We do face serious problems at all levels of government, and such issues need to be fully discussed and analyzed. Perhaps someday such issues can be discussed on their merits without name-calling.

Soon after Sept. 11, 2001, the two major political parties came together as one. But this harmony didn’t last, as Republicans started to blame President Clinton’s administration for the attack and Democrats blamed President Bush. When in doubt, one party can always blame the other party for placing politics over country and for causing gridlock.

Let’s just accept the notion that in the public domain, politics are with us on a daily basis.

So when someone tells me that “it is all politics as usual,” my answer is: “Yes, it is all politics, and don’t you ever forget it.”



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