Letters to the editor on Medicare, Howell, insurance commissioner, Israel and Gaza

07/31/2014 12:00 AM

07/30/2014 5:12 PM

Expand Medicare, don’t gut it

This week marks the 49th anniversary of Medicare. Medicare has provided universal health care for millions of Americans older than age 65, as well as disabled individuals. But cronies of the corporate insurance industry, such as former vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., want to gut this program and leave a privatized shell for future generations.

More privatization and cuts are the last things Medicare, or any part of our health care system, needs. The only real way to fix our national health care struggles is through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system such as that proposed by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., in his Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act (H.R. 676).

A Medicare-for-all system would replace the private, for-profit insurance industry and ensure every uninsured American has access to health care while dramatically cutting costs. That’s something every lawmaker should agree with, even in this divided Congress.



Howell diligent

Jim Howell has served the people of his district for four years as a state legislator and is respected as a committed leader. Howell is adept at analyzing needs and finding practical solutions and is deeply committed to upholding the Constitution. His diligence and work ethic are to be admired.

Howell was a primary promoter of the Property Tax Transparency Act (HB 2047). He dug into the details and nuances of the bill and was instrumental in working to get this important legislation passed. Howell also has been the legislative “go-to guy” in protecting citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

Howell is an Air Force veteran with 23 years of local aviation experience and has two bachelor’s degrees, including one in management and efficiency. Howell has served on numerous legislative committees, including government efficiency, general government budget, judiciary, pensions and benefits, and federal and state affairs. He currently serves as chairman of the south-central Kansas delegation.

His life experience provides this district with someone who truly understands the issues. As a Sedgwick County commissioner, Howell would bring the same attitude of service, a voice of reasoned logic, and an ear to listen.

We strongly endorse Jim Howell for District 5 county commissioner.






No crusader

The Kansas insurance commissioner’s position includes the administration of the department, regulating and reviewing insurance companies operating in Kansas, licensing insurance agents, assisting consumers, handling consumer questions and complaints, educating the public about insurance, and letting legislators make the laws. I will not vote for an insurance commissioner candidate based upon his religion, his opinion on the Second Amendment or his attitude about the Affordable Care Act.

Kansas doesn’t need another Kris Kobach-styled crusader intent on legislating his own views as opposed to doing the job he is elected to do. Candidate Ken Selzer’s ads, for example, indicate he is not the man for the job.



Right to defend

“Israel engaged in ethnic cleansing” (July 25 Letters to the Editor) was shocking in its anti-Semitic tone and inaccuracy. Yes, Israel is bombing Gaza, trying to destroy the tunnels that lead to its own nation and the missiles that Hamas is hiding in schools and hospitals. Israel Defense Forces have warned Gazans to evacuate each area that was a target, but Hamas told them to stay. Israel stuck to the five-hour cease-fire to allow medical aid and food to reach the people of Gaza; Hamas broke the cease-fire after two hours. Israel offered to extend the weekend 24-hour cease-fire an additional four hours; Hamas said “no.”

Hamas started the bombings and has stated repeatedly its goal of annihilating Israel and all Jews, with Christians right behind. Israel has every right to defend itself, and a discerning person will see how it has made every effort to avoid civilian casualties. It is the terrorist group Hamas that Israel is after – a group that hides behind civilians and has no regard for life.

As for the comment that Congress and our president cheer Israel on and send more tax money: The Obama administration has turned its back on Israel.



The justifications

Israel’s apartheid-like occupation of Palestinian territory – with continual confiscations of property, harassing checkpoints, arrests of innocents without charges and brutal punishment of protesters – is justified as self-defense. Other justifications: labeling the protesting victims as terrorists, the need to protect tourism at places where the enemy-loving Jesus taught and was crucified, defending rights, security, lessons of the Holocaust, and justifications from biblical history.

These justifications are to show that Israel’s dehumanizing occupation is normal, just and acceptable. Israel’s justifications are the same ones used in our U.S. history of confiscation, torture, slavery, Indian reservations and “hired” oppressors in Latin America. The justifications are standard ones used by many nations.

To preserve our humanity we should create a Justifications Anonymous and have participants expose and puncture one another’s “acceptable” justifications.


North Newton

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Letters to the editor about Tuesday’s primary election must be received at The Eagle by noon Thursday in order to be considered for publication.

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