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Letters 3/1-8

Readers React, Saving the Affordable Care Act & More.


Saving the Affordable Care Act

The Republicans have released an outline of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. It should be noted that Representative Greg Walden is one of the principle architects of the plan. This plan will not provide health insurance for everyone and will leave millions uninsured or underinsured.

The Republican plan uses a tax credit to subsidize the cost of health premiums. The ACA also issues a tax credit. The ACA tax credit is based on income. The Republican tax credit is based on age. For example, a 45-year-old man would get the same tax credit amount whether his income was $25,000 or $100,000 per year. The credit is not designed to nearly cover the cost of the health insurance premium. It will be far easier for the high income individual to make up the difference than the low income individual.

The Republican plan has an answer to this problem. It will allow for the sale of catastrophic health insurance. The ACA requires all health insurance policies to cover a standard set of benefits. These standard benefits will be weakened or eliminated. The catastrophic plans will have high deductibles and will likely include annual expense maximums and limits on coverage for expensive diseases and drugs.

The tax credits and catastrophic plans are a recipe for disaster. The high income individual will use the tax credit to buy comprehensive health insurance. Those with lower incomes will be stuck with a catastrophic plan. The high deductible of a catastrophic plan will put a visit to the doctor out of reach for many. Many people will decide to forgo health insurance altogether.

The Republicans should improve the current system and increase the number of people with good health insurance coverage. The Republican plan will leave many without access to doctors and with the insecurity that goes with it.

—David Gurule

Switching Habits

It is likely that the majority of adults in the USA both own a dog and eat red meat. I propose that if most of these folks were to replace one bad habit with one good habit, it would help to slow our biosphere's ongoing rush to eco-catastrophe. My suggestion is for people to substitute walking their dogs twice per day for eating mammal flesh twice per day.

The advantages of walking your dog twice per day is that you and your dog get health-promoting exercise and you get a break from following your ant-trail to-do list; and in getting to know your neighbors and neighborhood better, social anxiety and paranoia fade away. If you are cruelly old-school and consider your dog to be mainly your burglar alarm, then regularly walking your dog helps you to understand that your dog is infinitely more: he or she is your completely devoted best friend!

Red meat is ecologically and sociologically expensive: it takes many more times the resources to make a pound of beef or pork than it does to make a pound of beans or rice, and fat-clogged arteries increase health care costs for everyone. A tremendous side benefit to consuming less beef is that IT HELPS TO GET THE ECOSYSTEM-DEGRADING, BOVINE MONOCULTURE WITH ITS MYOPIC AND VIOLENTLY ANTI-GOVERNMENT HUMAN COMPONENT OFF OUR PUBLIC LANDS! A psychological benefit to eliminating all red meat consumption is the realization that you are not contributing to any mammal's distress in any way, including its final trip to the aptly named slaughterhouse.

Humans must stop treating the biosphere and all its varied components so carelessly if we want our species to continue as passengers of a functioning spaceship for more than a few generations into the future. Dogs are not burglar alarms to be kept in kennels or tied up. All animals want to live a contented life, whether they be human, dog, pig, or cow. A perspective of humanity as an equal part of the biosphere instead of the whip-wielding boss of the biosphere is the necessary psychological and sociological foundation for ecological sustainability. If adopted by enough people, trading this one bad habit for this one good one could be a significant step in that direction.

— Eddie Kinnamon


Who tends to look forward? Those with a future. Who looks backward? The washed-up. The old. The chronically infirm. The fat man on the couch, hand in the cheese dip, boasting about his high school baseball letter.

Donald Trump is a rear-view mirror guy, as embodied by his pledge to "make America great again." Hence rearward we go. Back to racism, sexism, corporate malfeasance, health care for the privileged, and an environment unfit even for human life. The only thing new that Trump points toward is a catastrophic struggle with climate chaos. I'm not saying the alternative offered by Democrats was exactly alluring. Democrats are the middle-aged dude with three kids and a mortgage stuck in an accounting job, but who really should have been a writer or an artist...maybe even a pro athlete.

The Dems made all the wrong decisions, all the conservative compromises, stopped striving. They fell for the sure money instead of the risks and rewards. And so, as long as you believe what the black-box voting machines spit out, Americans rejected another four years of Democratic drudgery in favor of daydreams of a glorified past—a past, if it ever existed, that was tarnished mainly by the things Trump trumpets. Unless Americans decide at some point to trust upstarts like Bernie Sanders or the Green Party with the car keys, we're stuck with the United States of Senescence. We'll see whether the guy with the flat butt, big belly, and flabby arms can still strike a fast-ball. We'll see whether a face lift and a hair weave gets you to the prom.

— Matt Orr


Matt: Mmmmm... cheese dip! Really, where would we be as Americans without liquid cheese that people can dive a whole hand into? Fun fact for you: The Crock-Pot began its ascent into every American kitchen in 1972... so let's not try to take 'Merica back to "good ol' days" that go any further back than that. Wait, no, make that 1973... the year of the Roe v. Wade decision. But definitely no further back than 1970, the year the Environmental Protection Agency was established...Anyway have some coffee to go with that cheese dip!

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