Forum, Nov. 13: Get Health Care While You Can

Sunday, November 12, 2017
Get Health Care While You Can

A few weeks ago, I paid my last $380 bill for treatment of breast cancer. In February 2014, a cancerous lump was found, and I was without insurance. During the three years prior, I could not afford to pay for insurance on a $10-an-hour wage. When I moved into a managerial position at $13.50 an hour, it was still impossible.

There was no doubt that I was waiting until the last minute to enroll in the Affordable Care Act. Since the doctor’s phone call, however, that “last minute” came quicker than I thought. Thankfully, the ACA marketplace had a health insurance program that “would do.”  Though the deductible was high, I had the assurance that 1.) I would not be denied because of my pre-existing condition and 2.) after the $6,000 deductible, everything would be paid for. That’s exactly what I needed.

Don’t get me wrong, the Affordable Care Act has its “opportunities for improvement,” but I am extremely grateful that I was able to plug into it. In Nora Doyle-Burr’s recent article in the Valley News regarding bi-state access to health insurance, she did an excellent job of sharing the real challenges around choosing health care for the coming year. She also supplied resources of help at the end of the article. I suggest taking a look at http://bit.ly/ACADoyle-Burr.

There is no doubt that health care as we know it is being attacked. Instead of focusing on how to improve it, there is a decided effort to destroy what good there is left. Still, I encourage those who qualify to enroll in the Affordable Care Act while it is still around.

There is a minimum penalty of $695 in 2017 if one chooses not to have health care. To see if you qualify, go to healthcare.gov. If you need help enrolling, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov. Get it while you still can!

Cayla Dyer


What Paul Ryan Doesn’t Say

House Speaker Paul Ryan included this in his Nov. 9 email newsletter to constituents: “There is a lot of rhetoric and hyperbole out there surrounding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. If you cut through the noise, one fact remains: At every income level, there is a tax cut for the average family.”

Technically true!

He goes on to offer a number of details that are also true, but he omits the largest detail about the Republicans’ tax legislation: It will benefit large corporations and the very wealthy most of all, and will make the gap of economic inequality wider than ever.

Follow the money, and vote for legislators in state and national elections who will work for us, not corporations. Big donors donate big to the Republicans, who then support legislation to help the big donors and their friends accumulate even more wealth, and they’re taking it from everyone else.

Among the best examples in this area are the Republican efforts to defeat all consumer-friendly legislation, plus deregulating corporations so they can make larger profits at the expense of our natural resources and the economic well-being of the 99 percent.

“The best that money can buy” is a pretty good description of the current Republican Congress, but voters could pay attention to what they’re doing, and change this in the next elections.

Michael Whitman


Pointless Gun Legislation

Senate Democrats have responded to the shooting in Texas with a pre-drafted bill to outlaw certain guns and accoutrements. Here we go again.

This is virtually identical to the so-called “assault weapons” ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2004. The effect of that ban was … nothing. There are valid reason why it failed.

Murder by long guns — rifles of any type from flintlocks to AR-15 clones — is very rare. In 2015, there were 322 of them. Over twice as many people were murdered by hands and fists.

For 30 years now, a Congress full of failed lawyers has been unable to come up with a coherent legal definition of what an “assault weapon” is. They are reduced to banning weapons by name. A moment’s reflection will show the uselessness of that idea; all the manufacturer has to do is change the name.

Another useless idea is to ban magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. This is silly because there are already millions of them out there and anyone with a bit of experience in sheet metal fabrication can make them.

There is also the political angle. The Democrats here are playing to their base. They know there is no way this measure will pass Congress and then a presidential veto. They forget what has happened before — loss of Congressional majorities due to their fixation on gun control.

It is said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. This idea has been tried before. It failed. What makes the Democrats think this failed policy will actually succeed this time?

Patrick O’Connor