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Letters to the Editor: A Public Forum
Politics Redux
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 • Posted August 6, 2014

Dear Joe,

We hope that it’s okay to address you by your first name, as, after reading your editorial, you must feel that you know us so well (the “GOPtea” that is). It’s hard to know where to start to disassemble such disjointed misinformation, but we will endeavor to do so.

Joe, what happened to the “civility” that was supposed to be the hallmark of the current administration? The title of your editorial “Sadism as a Political Strategy” was not only combative, but also cruel. We know you were trying to be provocative and you succeeded. Can’t we as a civilized people disagree without being disagreeable? Oh, that’s right, we don’t live in a civilized nation according to you.

Many of the “facts” that you stated in your editorial lean more towards fiction then being factual.

While you say that the “GOPtea” have “…opposed every single advancement for non-rich, non-corporate People, since at least the 30’s,” all evidence is to the contrary. Joe, the GOP and the TEA Party are not one in the same. All GOP members are not part of the TEA party and vice versa. The TEA Party organization, founded in 2009, transcends party lines and is an ethnically and racially diverse group. The TEA Party acronym simply means “Taxed Enough Already”. The GOP (Republican) stands for Grand Old Party. It was the party of Lincoln and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an Independent, not a Democrat, and aligned himself with the Republicans in Congress during the fight for civils rights. Senator Everett Dirkson (R) of Illinois is the politician that wrote much of the language and pushed through the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, contrary to the popular belief that it was President Lyndon Johnson (D). It was Southern Democrats led by Senator Al Gore Sr., who opposed and filibustered the legislation. Joe, the Republican opposition to this filibuster defines our party’s position on racial equality.

You argue that those in the GOP were happy with the system as it was prior to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). This is untrue. Republicans were very eager for reform, but not the “comprehensive” reform as it was passed. Incremental steps toward bettering the situation could have been taken. Medical malpractice (tort) reform, as passed in Texas, has resulted in lower malpractice premiums for physicians, resulting in an influx of providers to the state. As a result, we in Texas are not experiencing the same levels of physician shortages as those states that have not passed such legislation. Another example of common sense reform would be to allow individuals to shop for medical insurance coverage across state lines. By expanding the pool of potential clients, insurance companies would have to become more competitive in their pricing. However, this is an example of capitalism, which is in direct opposition to the People Centered Government System to which you refer. This theory is based upon the belief that economic growth does not inherently contribute to human development. David Korten, a leading architect of this system stated in an interview on The Green Interview, that much if not all the suffering and poverty in the world is because of policies promoted by the US and led by “Wall Street corporations in their drive to pillage the world.” Joe, this pessimistic view of capitalism is one that we choose not to share.

Pertaining to your references to Romenycare and other models of socialized medicine – Joe, please read the Constitution and its amendments. Massachusetts was well within its rights under the 10th amendment, as a free and sovereign state within the bounds of our federalist republic and the Constitution which defines it, to institute measures to which its citizens agreed. The states of our Union have been referred to as “laboratories of innovation.” What works for one state may not work for another.

You state that the income threshold for Medicaid eligibility for a family of four in Texas is $231/month. Per the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website, the 2014 levels are as follows: $298/month for adults, $3,935 for children ages 0-1, $2,862 for children ages 1-5, $2,643 for children ages 6-18, and $3,935 for pregnant women (source: http://www.medicaid.gov/AffordableCareAct/Medicaid-Moving-Forward-2014/Downloads/Medicaid-and-CHIP-Eligibility-Levels-Table_HHsize4.pdf). As you can plainly see, although the threshold for covering adults is very low, the threshold for children and pregnant women is much higher. We in Texas care for our children; however, we also believe in personal responsibility.

Speaking of Medicaid, let’s talk for a moment about the Medicaid expansion. As you correctly stated, Texas opted out of the expansion. The expansion of Medicaid under the PPACA is fully funded to the states by the federal government for a period of three years. Following that, Uncle Sam picks up 90% of the tab for the expansion until 2022. While that sounds like a pretty good deal, consider how much that 10% represents to the taxpayers of the State of Texas. After 2022, there is no provision for the federal government to fund the expansion; the states will pick up the entire tab. Per the Texas Comptroller’s office, the State is projected to provide $35.6 Billion in public assistance programs for the fiscal year 2014. The Heritage Foundation (admittedly a conservative think tank) reports that Medicaid already consumes 20% of the state’s annual budget and projects that the costs to Texas for the Medicaid expansion could exceed $27 Billion over the next decade. It would quite literally bankrupt the state. Now, where does the federal funding for that 100% for three years and 90% for a few more come from? Cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates. We see enough doctors’ offices that do not accept Medicaid due to extremely low reimbursement rates. Cuts to Medicare reimbursements will essentially equalize the rates between Medicare and Medicaid. These supposed cost savings will likely have the unintended consequence of seeing providers refuse Medicare as well.

We would like to give you an example from the Valhalla of single payer systems. The father of a close family friend was diagnosed with prostate cancer. This gentleman lived in New Zealand, a country which boasts a universal/single payer system. He was in his early seventies, and otherwise in excellent health. Due to his age, he only “qualified” for one month of radiation. He died due to this lack of treatment. In the United States, the five year survival rate for prostate cancer is almost 100% according to the American Cancer Society. This man’s death was completely avoidable and a direct result of a single payer system that assigns value to a person’s life based upon their age. One of the many disturbing facts about this is that while we in the US are horrified by this man’s death and what it represents, the man’s family calmly accepted his death as part of the system. That is a system that we cannot in good conscious promote.

You state that the implementation of the law has moved forward. Not exactly. Parts of the law have been implemented, but others have been delayed over and over again by executive decree. Why delay parts of this wonderful legislation? Because the effects of full implementation will be catastrophic. One of the delays is the so called employer mandate. Millions of employers will not be able to afford to continue to provide insurance for their employees. It is cheaper for these employers to simply pay the penalty rather than pay for the new minimum standards set forth by the PPACA. These minimum standards include mandatory maternity coverage and pediatric coverage on all plans. Why does a post-menopausal woman need maternity coverage?

Obama infamously stated, “Let me be clear. If you like your coverage, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep him. Period!” This has turned out to be an utter falsehood. This statement only applies to policies that were in effect at the time that the PPACA was passed (2010) and have remained unchanged. Due to the fact that almost no policies stay the same over a period of four years, millions of Americans have lost the coverage with which they were happy. Once forced off of their plans, these Americans were left no option but to go to healthcare.gov in an attempt to seek coverage through the PPACA. After spending $840 million on the development on this website (source: CBS news), the site crashes, loses information and is susceptible to hacking. Joe, apparently this gives you a nice warm and fuzzy feeling. For the rest of us it induces nausea.

Don’t confuse the fact that people disagree with you with being uninformed. We are incredibly well informed. One of our members (and authors of this letter) is a student obtaining a Masters degree in Clinical Practice Management; the study of the PPACA has been a large part of her curriculum.

Joe, we believe that Obamacare has managed to wreck one of the world’s finest health care systems. People from all over the world, from countries with single payer systems, have flocked to the United States to obtain medical treatment that was denied by their home countries. Were there problems with our system? Certainly. Did it require “comprehensive reform” – no. Furthermore, the tone of your editorial does not promote civilized discourse or a united community. We would be pleased to continue our conversations on various topics pertinent to the upcoming elections; however, we request that you desist with the slander and blatant untruths. Work with the facts. As has been seen with internet posts and rumors, if you repeat a lie enough times, it becomes truth . An infamous dictator from the 1930s and 1940s espoused this mantra to enslave a populace. Joe, we challenge you to do some research outside of partisan sources.

Respectfully,

Joni Matthews, Kati Vinson, and Fran Rodriguez

1st and 2nd Vice Presidents and Member of the Mason County Republican Women

P.S. Joe, you stated quite proudly that you are a Deputy Voter Registrar. Quite frankly, after reading your editorial, we are not very comfortable with you in this position. We hope that you can maintain a more non-partisan affect while serving in this capacity.

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