LTE FXTimes Medicaid Expan BN 9-13

Fairfax County Times

Dear Editor:

A recent letter in the Fairfax County Times —“Obamacare is the issue facing Americans”) made a number of unsupported assertions regarding the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).  Expressing one’s opinion is one thing, one’s “own facts” are entirely another. As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once noted: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

Examples of unsupported assertions of fact in last week's letter include this one: “3,000 bureaucrats will have access to your private health records.”  Where did that come from? This is an appeal to fear, not a statement of fact.

Those of us with coverage under a group plan or our own individual coverage (e.g. Kaiser Permanente, United Health Care, etc.) will essentially have no change regarding health care coverage and claims processing provided by any of the current insurance carriers under the Affordable Care Act.  It is simply untrue that the government will review an individual’s medical record when an insurance carrier processes a claim.

The writer further states that none of what President Obama claimed about savings is true. Do any data support that assertion?  According to a Henry J. Kaiser Foundation news release on August 14, “Americans currently buying insurance on the individual market would receive $2700 in subsidies (as tax credits) in 2014 under Obamacare” (kff.org). That sounds like some significant savings to me.  The Kaiser Foundation also noted: ““While premiums will vary significantly across the country, they are generally lower than expected.” (kff.org)

Yet another naked assertion is not “obvious” to me, but the writer thinks it should be: “It should be obvious to all Americans that this law…will cost all of us dearly in taxes and pass-through medical costs from our hard-earned pay.”  The fact is that commercial insurance enrollees already pay a “hidden tax” to cover uncompensated care provided for the uninsured—e.g., we in Fairfax County who are insured already pay INOVA for all the uninsured who pass through their emergency room with no insurance plan or with no individual financial resources to pay for their care (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/healthreform/).

Regardless of how unhappy people may say they are with the Affordable Care Act, the fact remains, as the Kaiser Foundation recently pointed out, “a majority of Americans (57 percent) say they disapprove of the idea of cutting off funding as a way to stop the law from being implemented, a finding that has been consistent in Kaiser Health Tracking Polls since January 2011” ((kff.org).

Why do we have Americans so comfortable with millions of their fellow Americans being uninsured?  Why do those opposing the Affordable Care Act think it is okay NOT to ban discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and to drop people from coverage? Does this discrimination advance the “American liberty” that the writer claims should be our “focus”?

I thought our system of government was one in which Congress passes laws, the president signs them, and then the laws go into effect.  The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) went through this process and was upheld in challenges at the Supreme Court.  Isn’t it time to let the law take effect, so that it may begin providing the expected improvements to our healthcare system which it sorely needs?

Bruce H Neilson
5102 Richardson Drive
Fairfax VA 22032
703-323-0457

Letter to Richmond Times Dispatch Electric Chair

Richmond Times Dispatch

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

Social Action Linking Together (SALT) is in full support of Virginia Delegate Scott Surovell in his opposition to Virginia embracing the electric chair to execute condemned prisoners.

Whether 85% of the states have abolished the electric chair, as asserted by Delegate Surovell, or 77%, as asserted by the Richmond Times Dispatch, is irrelevant. The point that should be made is that it is inhumane; it is cruel and barbaric.

Consider this account reported in a study by Professor Professor Michael L. Radelet of the 
University of Colorado:  On August 10, 1982, in Virginia, Frank J. Coppola was executed by electrocution. Although no media representatives witnessed the execution and no details were ever released by the Virginia Department of Corrections, an attorney who was present later stated that it took two 55-second jolts of electricity to kill Coppola. The second jolt produced the odor and sizzling sound of burning flesh, and Coppola's head and leg caught on fire. Smoke filled the death chamber from floor to ceiling with a smoky haze (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/some-examples-post-furman-botched-executions).

This account by Radalet is #1 in 42 additional stories of botched executions that he recounts. We can certainly do better than this, unless we want to align ourselves with the cruel and barbaric.

A more critical issue for all of us is this: Do the guilty forfeit their right to life? Is execution the means of administering justice for various crimes?

Regards,

John Horejsi
SALT Coordinator

SALT Letter to the Editor in Washington Post 1/25/17

Dear Editor:

Why does so much legislation in Virginia die a silent death?

Too much legislation in Virginia dies without an officially recorded vote, unfortunately. Voters hoping to track legislation will routinely get no more information than “subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote.” Virginia citizens are routinely left in the dark, having no idea how legislators voted.

Social Action Linking Together (SALT), the Virginia Catholic Conference and other faith-based advocacy groups unfortunately witnessed legislation dying without an officially recorded vote on January 23, when the legislation they supported, “HB 2181 Food stamps; eligibility to receive benefits if convicted of drug-related felonies,” was “tabled,” i.e., killed via an unrecorded voice vote by legislators on the House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee: Criminal Law.

They did this “killing” without any transparency or accountability; no one knows how the individual legislators voted, other than the individual legislator that moved his lips to support or oppose the legislation and those that can read lips.

Killing legislation without a recorded vote has to go.  The editorial staff of newspapers and all Virginia voters need to applying pressure to Virginia legislators until transparency and accountability become realities in the Virginia General Assembly.

Regards,

John Horejsi
Coordinator of SALT

Letter Editor Every Child I

Connection Newspapers

Dear Editor:

We seem to have money for everything these days--bank bailouts, congressional investigations, even potential invasions of Syria. Just not our kids. We slash food stamps and cut early education and our elected officials just whistle past the graveyard. New polling shows Virginians think these priorities are all wrong, and expect our leaders to invest in our kids. We should make those running for office in Virginia this year tell us where they stand on these issues. John

John Horejsi