Free market fails in health care
Modern medicine has allowed most of us to live into our 80s. Most of our health care costs will be needed in our elder years and will be higher than we will be able to afford. Prudence requires that we set aside money while young, but practical considerations make this unlikely.
Given Medicare and Medicaid, it makes economic sense to spend our money on our youthful needs rather than putting money aside for our old age. But “economic sense” does not solve the underlying problem.
The free-market system assumes that people will be rational, but if we become health care wise only in old age, it will be too late. We must be wise while young, but the free-market system guarantees that we won’t be.
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The solution is to have universal health care required by the government and supported by taxes on all. Given the history of health care in the United States, this means that the current young healthy generation will be subsidizing their parents (which they are already doing), but in the long run, each generation will be subsidizing their own elderly needs.
That the United States still depends upon the free-market system for health care explains why our health care costs are close to double those of other advanced countries with no better outcomes at the national level. In the United States, those who have access to the health care system get the best care in the world, but those who don’t often live at a third-world health care level.
Gerald H. Paske, Wichita
Facts about war
President Trump asked for a whopping $54 billion increase in defense spending. He says we have far too few aircraft carriers – we need a 12th (Russia and China each have only one aircraft carrier).
“We will build a Navy of 350 surface ships and submarines,” Trump said – an increase of 74 ships. He added: “We have to start winning wars again. I have to say, when I was young, in high school and college, everybody used to say we never lost a war. We never lost a war, remember?”
This is an alternative set of facts that probably came from watching TV shows and movies about World War II. However, when Trump was growing up, the United States was not winning wars. In the early 1950s, America fought an undeclared war in Korea that no one won but that took the lives of 36,574 Americans with 7,800 still missing. When he was in high school, we began sending advisers to Vietnam, our longest war until Afghanistan and the “War on Terror,” and another war we did not win. Today, we are Vietnam’s major trading partner.
Lesson? Alternative facts and romanticized ideas of war make poor policy.
Gretchen Eick, Wichita
Duane Goossen asked us to “offer credible ways to reduce expenses or let the Legislature proceed to roll back the 2012 income tax cuts” (“So what do budget cutters want to cut?” March 12 Opinion). Examine the major difference between government and the vast majority of the private sector retirement plans.
Though most private corporations provide some holiday pay and some sick leave, there is one benefit seldom provided – company-paid retirement plans. There was a time when those plans were offered to a small percentage of private companies, and most of those are now only a long-past memory.
During my many years as a budget “cutter,” there were some principles universal for companies of all sizes. First, the owner of the company had more authority than the manager, bookkeeper, secretary, etc. Second, when the owner sells the company, the employees must adapt to the new owners or leave. Finally, the owner makes the final decision on all financial and personnel matters. Does that remotely resemble government entities?
My budget solution is to eliminate the government retirement plans for all but those very near retirement and provide options for a 401(k)-type plan. Goossen and most government employees choose to ignore the financial waste before them.
Robert Wine, Wichita
Cleaned up first
I read with interest the “Forward Wichita” supplements in the Sunday Eagle a few weeks ago. I found a rather important missing item in one of the articles. In “Several factors played role in downtown development,” there was no mention of what was probably the one action that made the development possible.
In the early 1990s, then city manager Chris Cherches had the foresight to realize that nothing major would take place if Wichita waited for the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the underground water that permeated the area. With his leadership, the city agreed to take the lead in the cleanup, and the issuance of certificates of non-culpability to property owners and occupiers in the polluted area.
With full agreement of EPA and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, these actions allowed the commencement of the revitalization of downtown. Everything else followed.
And, of course, many years ago what is now the CorTen building was offices only on the second floor. At street level, it was a Sandy’s restaurant.
John M. Davis, Wichita
I voted for Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., in November, and I respect Kansans who vote Republican. The Party of Lincoln has been part of Kansas since our founding as a free state, after years of fighting pro-slavers during Bleeding Kansas.
But the GOP has abandoned its principles. What would Abraham Lincoln think about Steve Bannon, who has links to white supremacists, being chief strategist to our president? What would Lincoln think of the Congress that supports this president?
I ask south-central Kansans, Republican and Democrat, to choose Democrat James A. Thompson in the District 4 U.S. House election on April 11. Thompson is a veteran who experienced homelessness as a child. As a lawyer, he specializes in civil rights, fighting modern-day forms of slavery. He would complete Mike Pompeo’s congressional term (through the 2018 elections), defending what Kansas’ founders stood for: liberty and justice for all.
Let us honor Kansas history by choosing Thompson on April 11.
Avery Udagawa, Wichita
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