Nation tired of tea party
To the editor:
“There are no winners here.”
Harsh words, and they were uttered by president Barack Obama after signing the agreement Oct. 16 that ended the tea party Republican-instigated federal government shutdown. Sixteen days of layoffs affecting 800,000 federal employees, closed facilities, neglected national security procedures and a financial loss of over $24 billion was finally over, as Texas’ bedtime-story savant Ted Cruz and his like-minded gang of GOP malcontents and crybabies finally gave in to the inevitable.
The Republican Party lost again, just as they did during the two similar shutdowns during Bill Clinton’s presidency back in 1995-96. The court of public opinion has spoken, as after concatenating most polls between 63-80 percent of Americans and a whopping two-thirds of registered Republicans disagreed with the shutdown. And the prevailing, inarguable fact is that most American citizens across all political lines save for the ultra-right-wingers are sick and tired of the continuous hatred and gridlock demonstrated day after day from the conservative tea party faction of the present-day GOP. The sole purpose of this latest subterfuge was their attempt to derail the Affordable Care Act, the landmark Obamacare law that is opposed by nearly every GOP lawmaker in America.
But the ACA is simply the latest in a long line of necessary and successful ameliorations effected by the Democrats over the past five years that together have pulled us out of the rudderless morass we were ensconced in back in 2008. An amazing amount of positive legislation was unsuccessfully filibustered and denigrated ad nauseum over that period by Washington Republicans before Democratic passage, legislation that has placed America in the vastly-improved state that short-memoried citizens are taking for granted now. These include 2009’s Economic Stimulus Act, the GM/Chrysler bailouts, 2010s Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (which serves as a regulatory watchdog to prevent last decade’s housing, business and jobs failures from recurring), the wide expansion of hate crime protections, as well as the ACA.
Just Google “Obama’s top 50 accomplishments/Washington Monthly” for a memory refresher, a list that all Obama-bashers should either stay away from or just pretend doesn’t exist. And anyone still arguing about the necessity of the gradual implementation of Obamacare should check out the millions of families busily signing up for benefits on the online marketplace healthcare.gov, despite all the system problems and slowdowns that are currently being redressed. Or talk to some of the American families and our elderly who have already been enjoying the earliest benefits of the law since last year. And the good news is that the slowdowns and inaccessibility of the website should be fixed before the end of November, giving customers plenty of time to sign up for assistance.
Furloughs are over, parks are reopened and government funding is congress-approved through Jan. 15, with the option of continued federal borrowing through Feb. 7. If Cruz, John Cornyn, Jim Inhofe and the rest of these quixotic “leaders” have their way we can all look forward then to another tug-of-war between America’s financial solvency and tea party Republicans, in their continuous efforts to drag us all back to the past before the November 2014 elections. All in the name of hindering a president whom they have hated more and more with each successful legislative gain his administration has made, by a ragtag movement that wouldn’t even exist if John McCain had won election in 2008.
William F. Klessens
No facts behind claims about Obamacare
To the editor:
Too many of our elected representatives, both from the right and the left, make inflammatory statements without producing any factual data to support what they are saying. What those on the right, both in government and their big money supporters, have been saying about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reflects this lack of fact-based argumentation.
An extreme example of nasty, hysteria-inducing claims with no fact support is the despicable ad showing an evil Uncle Sam figure about to perform a gynecological exam on a young woman and the repeated statements from elected representatives that the ACA is socialized medicine or a government take-over of health care. Not true! Under socialized medicine the government owns the hospitals and employs and pays the doctors, nurses, technicians and support staff from administrators through janitors. We have one bit of socialized medicine in the United States — the VA system. The current major government involvement in health care is Medicare which is an insurance plan administered by the government with medical care provided by independent doctors and hospitals. Medicare is extremely popular with its enrollees.
The ACA expands the number of people covered, not by government insurance, but by existing private insurance companies who will contract with existing hospitals and doctors to provide the same kind of services that they do now. So the ACA provides commercial insurance health care coverage for millions more people and puts in place rules to make sure coverage is effective as possible — no excluding people with pre-existing conditions, no annual or life-time caps, requires coverage for a variety of preventive care, reduces drug costs for senior citizens and more.
Another claim made by the right but unsupported with any evidence is that the ACA is a job killer. They support this claim by referencing the shift to part-time employment. However, this trend began as a result of the recession, long before the ACA became law, and this trend has reversed this year as the recovery continues. Studies by a number of economists find no support for the allegation that the ACA is having any significant effect on jobs but that does not stop the right from saying it repeatedly as if it were a fact while providing no support for the assertion.
There are other claims about the ACA that are not fact based but probably the most outlandish is that the ACA provides for death panels and rationing of health care through the Individual Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). In reality the IPAB is set up to make recommendations to help control Medicare’s overall costs. It has no function to make decisions about individuals’ health care. The ACA law specifically bars the IPAB from any recommendation to ration health care or restrict benefits.
Statements like this, masquerading as reality, hurt our democracy in two major ways. First they distort public information and understanding of reality when an informed public is essential to a functioning democracy and second they make it much harder for our elected representatives to work together to find reasonable solutions to our very real problems
We need Sanders or Kucinich for president
To the editor:
While criticism of our drones-use in Pakistan makes the news, I’m sending postcards to both Obamas: “Our USA in perpetual war and thus ‘preferring’ drones-murder in other countries is suffering illness. We drag others into our illness. It’s ill to support war-machinery industry over all other kinds of production.
“Hillary would not get us out of this, nor would Kerry or Biden. We need a President Bernie Sanders or a President Dennis Kucinich. Each has integrity, cause-and-effect awareness, kindness. Not happening in D.C. at this time.”
When Dr. Helen Caldicott speaks to the NH Peace Action audience on Nov. 9 in Concord, I hope we hear support for our USA getting past and surviving its illness that makes warring our dominant, outreach lifestyle.
Lynn Rudmin Chong