This week’s Viewpoints
Future of Obamacare
In a recent “Viewpoint” letter to the editor, Jim Leschke took Republicans to task for making countless attempts to repeal Obamacare when they knew it was futile. Now those self-same Republicans who rode to election or re-election victory on the promise to repeal Obamacare and essentially control the federal government are waffling. They are saying they will amend it or they will repeal it when they have something to replace it or are putting forth any number of variations. He is having none of it and demands they follow through on their promise.
OK, let’s repeal Obamacare by February. Ignore the fact that 21 million Americans would immediately lose health insurance. Ignore that millions of low and middle income Americans will lose federal subsidies which help them afford insurance premiums. Let’s keep the two most popular provisions- allowing children to stay on their parents plan till they turn 26 and the prohibition against discriminating against patients with pre-existing conditions. Sorry, but Obamacare was put in place with intertwining “carrot and stick” incentives and you just can’t keep some parts and drop the rest.
For example, say you keep the pre-existing condition ban, but repeal the rule that requires insurers to offer all customers in a community plans at the same price. That allows insurers to charge patients with serious illnesses, like cancer or heart problems, premiums as high as $10,000 or more a month. If you no longer require everyone to buy insurance, healthy patients will wait till they get sick to buy insurance and insurers would be serving a sick population and lose money. Where will all those who lose coverage go for care? Yep, to your local hospital emergency room, resulting in billions of dollars in uncompensated care being provided.
Yeah, repeal Obamacare and put in place a hodgepodge, catch-all of tweaks which require large up-front cash outlays for tax-deductible health care premiums or tax-free health savings accounts from people that can’t afford those outlays. And hand out non-inflation adjusted vouchers which will be worth nothing in five years.
However, as P.J.O’Rourke is often quoted “The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.”
John Kocovsky, Hazelhurst
How would you feel?
Have you ever thought what it would be like to be in a wheelchair? Just by the quick response given for the reason for the steepness of some new handicap ramps in the new business area of Rhinelander, I would suggest that the project manager and street supervisors borrow a wheelchair and solely navigate the business area.
There is nothing passive about being non ambulatory. I was unaware of the challenges and frustrations of being wheelchair bound until I escorted a relative who was burdened by a wheelchair. How the grade of the sidewalk overworks one arm continually compared to the other, the thought of the helplessness and embarrassment of tipping over.
Do you know what those yellow cross diagonal lines are for by the handicapped parking? That is space intended to allow people in wheelchairs to open their car doors all the way so they can slide from the chair onto the vehicle seat. Can you imagine coming out of a store in inclement weather only to find out that you could not get into your car because someone was thoughtless and parked in the prohibited marked area?
Think about crossing a crosswalk with heavy traffic in a wheelchair. Do you think you could quickly get out of the way? Or better yet, think how it would be like to go into a restroom. You would have to use the stall. How easy would it be to wash your hands or to get a towel? Do you ever think what thoughts a handicapped person has when they see a healthy person park in the handicapped parking spot because they have their relative’s handicapped tag hanging from the mirror? Imagine what it would be like if you wanted to go to the store, movie or out to eat but there were no handicapped spots open so you had to go back home. How would you feel?
Food for thought.
Craig M. Strid, Rhinelander