Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on general aviation bill, Boeing failures, KanCare, insurance exchanges, entitlements

Positive news for general aviation

Wichita and its general aviation industry have been through a lot recently. That’s why I’m so pleased there is some positive news for our industry, thanks to the hard work of Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita (July 17 Business Today).

The U.S. House overwhelmingly passed the Small Airplane Revitalization Act (H.R. 1848), which was “piloted” by Pompeo with the help of other general aviation advocates in Congress. This bill directs the Federal Aviation Administration to modernize and revamp the regulatory structure for the light end of the certified fixed-wing aircraft segment.

These changes will allow industry and the FAA to develop and adopt more effective, consensus-based compliance standards that will spur manufacturers’ investment in new aircraft designs and help put critical lifesaving equipment into the existing fleet of airplanes. As FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told the Wichita Aero Club last year, these recommendations will help double safety while cutting certification costs in half for the lighter end of general aviation aircraft.

It’s important for policymakers to continue to understand and develop forward-looking policies to help manufacturers compete in a dynamic global aviation marketplace. Pompeo is committed to helping lead this charge.


President and CEO

General Aviation Manufacturers Association

Washington, D.C.

Boeing failures

With the latest Boeing 787 fire (July 13 Business Today), can business now admit that the model of outsourcing work for the cheapest labor is an abject failure?

If experienced Wichita and Seattle aircraft workers had built the Dreamliner, it might have cost more, but it would have been on time and would not burst into flames at the drop of a hat. Did Boeing actually save more on labor than the delays and groundings have cost it and its stockholders?

And – oh, yeah – if Boeing had paid U.S. workers to build the 787, they’d be able to afford to fly on one once in a while. As it is, the Dreamliner is reserved for oil sheikdoms and East Asian businessmen.

Boeing needs to show a commitment to quality by bringing back domestic manufacturing and jobs, and other local manufacturers need to take note of Boeing failures and not repeat them.



Not in KanCare

Although Kansas Aging and Disability Services Secretary Shawn Sullivan and other state social services representatives sought to reassure parents of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities that KanCare will not impair services for their children, comments made at the public hearing told a much different story (July 16 Local & State). Caregivers and service providers all recounted problems and specific concerns they already have encountered, either as part of the pilot program or on the medical side of KanCare that began Jan. 1.

Among many questions raised was how this change would achieve the stated goal of improving outcomes and saving money. Parents said they are satisfied with outcomes now. Savings seem to result from reduced payments, making it difficult for some providers to participate in the new system.

The biggest problem I see with placing our current system under managed-care organizations is accountability. Private insurance companies must answer to their stakeholders; the state is accountable to us, the residents. Placing intellectually and developmentally disabled services under KanCare will not be in the best interest of those who cannot speak for themselves. It is up to those of us who are able to speak out to advocate for them and demand that these services not be included in KanCare.



GOP gall

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was bemoaning the fact that the state insurance exchanges most likely will not be in place when the individual mandate takes effect (“Roberts’ GOP weekly address blasts Obamacare,” July 2 WE Blog excerpts). Apparently he has forgotten that our GOP governor, Sam Brownback, returned the $31.5 million that Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger was ready and eager to use to set up an exchange in Kansas. Had the governor not returned the money for the exchange, I am sure that Praeger would have had an excellent exchange system in place.

It takes a lot of gall for the GOP to cause the exchanges not to be set up and then complain about them not being set up.

It should be noted that the Affordable Care Act already has made it possible for millions of Americans to benefit, by allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plans longer and closing the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole.”



Not entitlement

In a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, Michael Boskin of Stanford University referred to Social Security as an entitlement. That suggests that Social Security retirement is on par with programs such as Medicaid and state welfare programs. Why don’t you just tell the population of retired folks who helped build this country that they are lazy bums who receive a government handout every month?

It was the government that forced them to invest in Social Security with the promise of a minute check every month when they retire. Those are the same folks who give up a lot of tax money to support all the other programs.

I understand the definition of “entitlement,” but it just chaps me that talking heads on the television and people who get to voice their opinions in major periodicals consider Social Security to be an entitlement. We worked for it, and it is owed as promised.