Letters to the Editor

Letter: Insurance boon

January 4, 2014


To the editor:

Finally! At age 60, after more than three years of NO health insurance, one year of being unemployed, two years of part-time work without benefits (but I love my job), and having just barely achieved an annual income of 100 percent of the federal poverty level; I finally have health insurance again.

I would have been tickled if Gov. Brownback would have expanded Medicaid. But, sadly, never have I been so overjoyed to be so poor. For about $60 per month, I qualify for a plan with a $250 annual deductible and a $500-per-year maximum out-of-pocket expense limit. (Silver plans have the additional feature of subsidized cost-sharing expenses if you qualify.) And colonoscopies and mammograms are FREE for everyone! This must be what it feels like to win the lottery. Oh, wait, I just did win the lottery. The Affordable Care Act lottery. And isn’t that just a pitiful way to look at it?

“Shameful” is not a strong enough adjective to describe the actions of our governor and congressional representatives. Gov. Brownback refused to expand Medicaid, yet would not accept federal money to set up an insurance exchange at the state level. Kansas’ all-Republican congressional delegation continuously opposed the Affordable Care Act and supported all efforts to repeal it, including shutting down the federal government for 16 days (all while collecting their $174,000 annual salary).

When our governor and congressional representatives play politics with people’s lives, yet claim to follow Jesus, it’s time for them to get kicked out of their “temples.”


Rick Johnson 1 year, 9 months ago

Obamacare is just another word for welfare. IF you are not paying for your health insurance, your neighbors are! So thank your next door neighbor who is working their butts off for your free coverage the next time you see them!

Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

To subsidize your low rates, millions of people are paying much more per month and will have higher deductibles. They will also be losing access to the doctors they've used for years and the hospitals they've built relationships with.

Rick Johnson 1 year, 9 months ago

“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

Julius Nolan 1 year, 9 months ago

See the Fox News junkies are up and in full rant on this cold day.

Julius Nolan 1 year, 9 months ago

Typical Fox News junkie response. You know absolutely nothing about me, but based on my post, I must be an un-employed taker, as Fox defines them.

Julius Nolan 1 year, 9 months ago

Sure wish JW wouldn't delete posts responded to, at least say post deleted for violations of TOS as most reputable, ethical forums do.

Melinda Henderson 1 year, 9 months ago

"You can thank my kids who will do with less with what I earn so you can have something you did not earn."

Really? Pretty strong sentiment, don'tcha think? How does one "earn" insurance? By getting a job with benefits? I have a job. A good one, that utilizes my skillset. My employer isn't able to provide benefits, but he does pay his employees fairly and treats us with respect...something I certainly didn't experience at my last job. And, really, when you think about it, why should providing employees health insurance be an employer's responsibility anyway? I guess you kind of missed my sarcasm about winning the "lottery" when I said "And isn't that just a pitiful way to look at it?"

Would it be better if I, and millions of others, didn't have health insurance and got hit by a truck and ran up hefty hospital bills for the taxpaying public to absorb, one way or another? Or maybe you agree that it is okay to just play politics with people's lives and let them just die. Whatever, do you really have to accuse me of not "earning" the opportunity to have health insurance now?

Brock Masters 1 year, 9 months ago

The issue isn't whether or not you earned the opportunity to insurance but instead is are you paying for it or am I and other taxpayers paying for it? If your insurance is subsidized by the federal government then yes we taxpayers are paying for your insurance. Hence, you didn't earn it.

Melinda Henderson 1 year, 9 months ago

So if I'm uninsured and end up in the hospital racking up a huge bill that I couldn't pay, did I earn that? Or should I let politics be my death panel and make that decision?

I pay taxes. Am I not helping subsidize myself? And I am paying $60/month toward the cost of my premium.

Brock Masters 1 year, 9 months ago

Do you really think the true coat of your insurance is only 60 month? It isn't.

Do you actually pay federal income tax? Based on what you said your income is I doubt that you do. They may collect it but I suspect you get it all back.

You right a letter bragging how you hit the lottery so don't expect high fives from one of the people paying for your lottery win Yes, I wish you had access to affordable health care, but I shouldn't have to subsidize it for you. The government taking money from me to give to you is wrong.

Melinda Henderson 1 year, 9 months ago

I'll be happy to address your questions if you answer the ones I previously asked first:

If I'm uninsured and end up in the hospital racking up a huge bill that I couldn't pay, did I earn that?

Or should I let politics be my death panel and make that decision?

Brock Masters 1 year, 9 months ago

Earn racking up hospital bills? No, that is not someone earns, but it does happen.

The second question is tougher to answer. I do want people to have access to affordable health care, but I do not think the ACA is the way to provide it and I do not think I should be forced to pay for your health insurance. Tax me for the public good, I.e, roads, bridges military police, but don't take my money and give it to individuals.

So, knowing that you would not have health insurance, if I was in charge I'd end the ACA today. Doesn't mean we shouldn't look for solutions but the ACA isn't it

My main issue with your view is the sense that you earned it. You didn't. It is forced charity.

Melinda Henderson 1 year, 9 months ago

"My main issue with your view is the sense that you earned it. You didn't. It is forced charity. "

No. I questioned another poster who implied that one had to "earn" the right to have health insurance and I didn't understand that idea at all.

Brock Masters 1 year, 9 months ago

BTW it takes courage to write the letter and then come on here to defend your position. Kudos for doing it.

Melinda Henderson 1 year, 9 months ago

Thanks, but it shouldn't have to take courage to defend my letter as me. What a sad statement on our world today.

Melinda Henderson 1 year, 9 months ago

1) No. But my other option was to use the same tax credits for a Bronze plan with a deductible ranging from $5400 to $6350, which I knew I couldn't pay. I tried to be both fiscally and socially responsible in selecting the plan I did.

2) Yes, I really pay federal (and state) income tax. And, of course, medicare and social security (at the same percentage rates everyone else does). And, no, I don't get refunds.

3) My letter was not "bragging" about hitting the lottery. That was a sarcasm that apparently went right over the heads of everyone here.

Brock Masters 1 year, 9 months ago

Melinda, you sound like a nice and decent person. I truly mean this when I say I am happy that you have health insurance. It is horrible for a person to not be able to get medical care because they cannot afford it. Many families have lost everything because of an illness that bankrupt them.

I just disagree with how our government went about passing the ACA, the cost to taxpayers, the hidden taxes and the waivers given to select groups (Harry Reid and his staff for example).

Sarcasm is hard to convey verbally but even more so in the written word.

Again, happy for you and I wish you well in he New Year.

Melinda Henderson 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank you. I think there are far better solutions to the health care crisis our country has been experiencing than another version that continues to enrich the insurance industry, but unless and until partisan politics is removed from the equation I don't see much changing.

Phil Minkin 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't have any kids, but my taxes go to schools. I don't have a car, but my taxes go for roads. I'm not a farmer, but I pay for subsidies. We live in a cooperative society where we are all better off when we absorb some of the cost for which we see no direct benefit.

Brock Masters 1 year, 9 months ago

But you can, if choose to have kids and send them to school or drive a car. Farm subsidies are just as bad as the ACA.

I cannot choose to buy health insurance from the ACA at a subsidized cost. Thus, it is not for the public good. The public good means everyone, whether they choose to or not, has the opportunity to benefit from it.

Brock Masters 1 year, 9 months ago

I will give you the benefit of the doubt and reply to you. Denying people affordable health care because you're greedy is not silly.

Opposing the ACA because it is poorly designed, will not be sustainable, unfairly exempts certain groups, cancelled good policies when being sold in part on being able to keep your insurance, will result in more people staying part timers, requires the president to unconstitutionally change the law to make it work and despite what the SCOTUS ruled, the law is not Constitutional is not silly but is a legitimate reason to oppose. You may disagree with what I wrote but it isn't silly or greedy.

William Enick 1 year, 9 months ago

You're living in a dream world Brock. You should run w/Cruz for vice prezz...

Beator 1 year, 9 months ago

I could have sworn I was told differently.... The number of costly emergency room visits is set to soar under Obamacare, according to a "gold standard" Harvard study, which directly contradicts claims by President Barack Obama that his healthcare law would cut ER trips.


Katherine Baicker, an economist at the Harvard School of Public Health, said the study, which she helped to write, concluded that people who gained Medicaid coverage used ERs more often for "a broad range of types of visits, conditions and subgroups," including problems that could be treated in less costly settings


Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 9 months ago

A couple years ago, I gave a very ill elderly lady a ride to a doctor's waiting room. After we got there, she was apparently waiting for an indefinite time to be seen, and there was no telling how long it would be before she got to see her doctor.

Then, she started throwing up right in front of all the other people who were also waiting. I very quickly learned that if you do that, you'll be seen right away!

Scott Burkhart 1 year, 9 months ago

Melinda, I am truly pleased that you have healthcare that you can afford. It was not necessary for the Democrat Party and President Obama to traumatize the country with this law and all of the fiascos that have accompanied it, to achieve that end.

Julius Nolan 1 year, 9 months ago

Thing is, Obamacare is starting to work and GOP is panicked over that fact.

William Enick 1 year, 9 months ago

Panicked & it (Obamacare) hasn't even really begun to get going. Have you ever seen a group of people more naive than the GOP? It's really is astounding...and I am not trying to exaggerate here.

Melinda Henderson 1 year, 9 months ago

"Melinda, I am truly pleased that you have healthcare that you can afford." Thank you. I am pleased that I won't have to be a burden on society in the future.

I agree that it was traumatic getting to this point. But instead of providing any alternative, all the Republicans seemed to be able to do was to vote at least 46 times to defund the ACA and when that didn't work they threw a tantrum and shut down the government for 13 days. So what were the other options to "achieve [this] end"?

I refer you to my comment above: why is it the employer's responsibility to provide health insurance benefits to employees? What other country does it that way?

Brock Masters 1 year, 9 months ago

It isn't their responsibility, but it is part of a compensation package they offer to attract employees.

Melinda Henderson 1 year, 9 months ago

And if my employer doesn't offer that benefit and I can't afford an individual policy (as I couldn't prior to January 1st), then it's okay for me to just die when I could have been treated and lived to contribute to society (and pay taxes) for another day?

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 9 months ago

I am astonished at the comments on here. Perhaps, like many others, she has health problems that are serious, even life threatening, and need to be monitered.

There needs to be a way to get basic health care for everyone and to motivate people to get regular preventative care instead of waiting until life is threatened and then go to the emergency room. There are health problems that can be prevented, and believe me I know how hard it is to do that, because for some reason it just doesn't seem real until the macines are hooked up and you realize you have just run out into the street during rush hour traffic and are astonished that you got run over. (Metaphorically speaking.)

I do realize that the middle class are suffering because they don't qualify for any help and are increasingly in difficulty making essential payments. They also have elder parents who need more care which is worisome for all on so many levels. But, please do not take out your worry and frustration on those who need health care.

Brock Masters 1 year, 9 months ago

Keep in mind how we came to have the ACA. It was rammed down the throats of the American people who did not support it by using a political tactic to suppress a vote on it in Congress.

Why is this important? Because power is fleeting and at some point the GOP will be back in power. Who knows what they might force upon the people. The end does not justify the means.

Julius Nolan 1 year, 9 months ago

Problem is, with attitudes like yours and with the ACA starting to work as planned, the GOP will be history. Might start to drink a lot less tea, that will improve your health and outlook on life.

Bart Johnson 1 year, 9 months ago

" with the ACA starting to work as planned"

The plan was to dramatically raise my insurance rates?

Julius Nolan 1 year, 9 months ago

Did you have real insurance or so-called insurance? Would it really pay for anything? Sorry but I tend to not listen to anything posted where you are not identified. I realize that JW "supposedly" only allows real people to post, but pardon me why i laugh uncontrollably..

Mike Ford 1 year, 9 months ago

actually I work fulltime and it lowered my insurance costs greatly and I again have real insurance. You gotta love Kansas or any other red state. Repeat fibs until many believe it's true. FOXNEWS should've patented this approach.

Julius Nolan 1 year, 9 months ago

Actually Fox seems to patented the approach to the truly ignorant, gullible voters. Unfortunately that approach seems to work in Kansas and the other Red states.

Steve King 1 year, 9 months ago

My rates went down from $3,200 to $1,300 a month with a lower deductible and the same coverage. We signed up on the website with no challenges and received no credits. Because we're in a bigger pool. We already have our insurance cards. Everyone I know is having the same experience. If your rate went up maybe you had bad insurance.

We spent a billion a month in Iraq. We can't spare a couple of billion a year to help the less fortunate in our own country? Nonsense.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

A lot of those allegedly paying more are likely paying less because more millions will be paying into the pie. Some of those paying more may well find their insurance costs go from $18,000-$20,000 per year to something like $10,000 or less per year,

A lot of those allegedly paying more have been paying more for decades because 50 million could never afford the discriminating medical insurance industry.

If costs go up blame the insurance and pharmaceutical industries because they spend zillions of health care dollars on political campaigns to keep the very very profitable status quo which protects the annual flow of about $1.4 trillion tax dollars flowing into their cookie jars.

How is it CEO's are paid millions upon millions and receive millions upon millions for a retirement bonus? I believe it was a United CEO who received a $73 million golden parachute. Between the obscene salaries and golden parachutes and special interest campaign spending think how many more house holds could be afforded medical insurance.

I say dump the CEO's,BOD's and dump special interest campaign spending and dump the golden parachutes which demonstrate some reckless spending of health care $$$$$$$$$.

Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

In other rule-by-decree news: "…“We support allowing citizens to keep their health insurance coverage, but the only way to fix this problem-ridden law is to enact changes lawfully: through Congressional action,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The illegal actions by this administration must stop.” They say the healthcare fix was “flatly illegal under federal constitutional and statutory law.”…" http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/194265-11-gop-attorneys-general-accuse-obama-of-using

Julius Nolan 1 year, 9 months ago

As posted on a GOP controlled spin zone, Just shows anyone can try for their 15 minutes of fame, facts and reality aside.

Mike Ford 1 year, 9 months ago

the irony of one comment is that ACA was seen as a beginning point to solve a longtime problem of this country and it's uninsured populace. It's fairly embarrassing that a country we've had an embargo on since 1962 has better insurance than the US does. The ACA had provision for Medicaid expansion and state exchange expansion which would've made any of the launch problems of Healthcare.Gov a non issue. However when there are head in the sand anarchists who don't care about their fellow citizens who wish for things not to work what can be done? The GOP has no plan whatsoever and has repeated wholesale fibs for what four years. If one party does nothing to help solve a nationwide issue of humanity and acts as if their whole plan is to put the US in the driveway like a car on blocks I guess it's up to the Democrats to act like the adults here.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

A Simpler, Better Solution

By David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler_The New York Times, Room for Debate, May 29, 2013.

David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler are professors at the City University School of Public Health at Hunter College and visiting professors at Harvard Medical School.

They are co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program.


Steve King 1 year, 9 months ago

Insurance companies profits rose from 2.5 billion to 12.5 billion from 2001-2008. Premiums rose 150% in the same time period.

Mike Ford 1 year, 9 months ago

gee from 2000 to 2011 my premiums went from $36 to $73 a week four times a month. Not a coincidence I guess.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

It's good that Ms Henderson took some time to offer some facts countering the nonsense rhetoric.

The nation shells out more than 1.4 trillion tax dollars to the medical insurance industry annually. Bringing all in America under the Medicare Single Payer umbrella for less than than that would be fiscally responsible. The coverage would awesome. May as well get the best bang for the tax buck I say. The money is there why increase taxes or ask business people to pay?

IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL would cover every person for all necessary medical care 24/7 to include:

Wellness /prescription drugs / hospital / surgical / outpatient services / primary and preventive care / emergency services / dental / mental health / home health / physical therapy / rehabilitation (including for substance abuse) / vision care / hearing services including hearing aids / chiropractic / medical equipment / palliative care / long term care

No deductibles / No Co-pays ( some facts regarding respectable savings) http://www.healthcare-now.org/docs/spreport.pdf

http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-resources Physicians for a National Health Program

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 9 months ago

I fully expect that in ten years it will no longer be "Obamacare" but the ACA and the GOP will take credit for it.

Beator 1 year, 9 months ago

Once Obama gives Insurance companies their corporate welfare check to keep premiums down, credit will be due at some point.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

“The people in favor of a public alternative can’t scrape up the millions of dollars Baucus has received from the health sector during his political career. In fact, over the last two decades, the current members of the entire finance committee have collected nearly $50 million from the health sector, a long-term investment that’s now paying off like a busted slot machine.”


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