Email letters, November 15,  2013

Obamacare now known for lie after lie after lie

One version of the three greatest lies is: The check is in the mail. I’m just going to stop in and have a beer. I’m from the government, and I am here to help you. These have been replaced by: If you like your current health care plan, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period. Obamacare will lower premiums for the typical family of four by $2,500 per year.

I’m not talking about fibs or half truths, but blatant out-and-out lies. Now there are more lies trying to explain the deception that the president and his acolytes knew weren’t true when he repeated them over and over and over.

Dr. Michael Pramenko’s Sunday column starts out with a quote from Hubert Humphrey, “Compassion is not a weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.” Funny how Democrats are always compassionate with other people’s money.

The first thing we need to understand is the idea of insurance. Insurance implies that someone is taking a risk, and insurance companies employ people called actuaries who set rates on the amount of risk that the insurance company is going to take. So, if someone is a poor driver his or her insurance rates are going to be higher than someone who has a good driving record.

The big deception in Obamacare is insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. This is like wrecking your vehicle in March and buying insurance in May to get it fixed and having someone else pay for it.

It is nice that Pramenko and President Obama are able to decide for us what “good” insurance and what “junk” insurance is. Remember, they are smarter and know more than we do. I feel sure that Pramenko gave a “fair” analysis to the competing Republican plan.

Do we need health care reform? Absolutely. Should we turn over one-sixth of our economy to a government that has lied to us, to the IRS, to a government that has proved over and
over again that it can’t run anything from Social Security, to Medicare, to rolling out a website?

Should we expect our government officials to live with the same laws that they pass for the rest of us? How about using this golden rule for our society, one that will define us: TRUTH?

MICHAEL HIGGINS
Grand Junction

Krauthammer backs the rich, while middle class disappears

Several years ago I decided not to read newspapers or magazines for a month. When I began reading again, I was surprised to see that not much had changed. It appears worse today. Last month China was taking over the world; today China is “desperate.” 

Obamacare is enacted by Congress and approved by the Supreme Court. For those many conservatives that don’t understand, it is the law of the land. Yet they continue to insist that the world is coming to an end, similar to the crazy credo of doomsayers with their placards.

Conservatives continue to bad-mouth, They rant, trying to declaim the law that is. Glitches are not collapse, but they continue to undermine the law with their fear mongering. Is it any wonder that enrollment rolls are low?  In the “land of laws” shouldn’t conservatives be accepting and working toward trying to improve it.

The approach conservatives have taken makes them appear retarded and unlaced. It also seems weird that Charles Krauthammer, at a time when the upper 10 percent of people have more than the lower 90 percent, at a time when the lower 47 percent don’t count, at a time when the middle class is fast disappearing, at a time when the minimum wage is not a living wage, would suggest that “Obamacare is the largest transfer of wealth in recent American history.” 

If so, isn’t it about time? Conservatives would prefer adding billions to their billions. Isn’t that sick?

JOSE U. LUCERO
Grand Junction

Column on marijuana arrests was misinformed, misguided

The recent column by Bill Grant discussing “harsh” penalties for marijuana possession is misinformed and misguided. Grant premised his column on the mistaken idea that “many of our young people have had their lives ruined for an activity now legal in the state.” In asking the governor to commute those sentences, he posits the simple question of whether the punishment fits the crime. The conduct he refers to, which is now legal, is the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.

The lowest classification of offense in Colorado is a Class 2 petty offense, which is the level for the possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. (It was one ounce until 2012.) Amendment 64 now decriminalized the first ounce, so this offense now applies to a person’s second and third ounce.

A Class 2 petty offense in Colorado carries NO possibility of jail or prison, and a person may not be arrested when caught committing it. In fact, the harshest possible sentence the court may impose is $100 in fines and 16 hours of community service. It is worth noting that this is the same maximum fine for rolling through a stop sign. The officers write the offender a ticket, just like for the traffic violation.

Grant then cites a bogus figure of 108,000 people being “arrested” for marijuana possession. While this number might represent the number charged with the offense, a person cannot be arrested for this offense unless he or she refuses to sign the ticket promising to appear — a law which has been in effect since at least 1994. To put it simply, no person since at least 1994 has been incarcerated because of a small amount of marijuana. Not one.

Furthermore, Colorado law permits people to seal the records of these offenses, a mere one year after completing the sentence.

We are now learning all of the other negative effects to our society of characterizing drug use of any kind as “no big deal.”  The recent article about the massive increase in school expulsions was a reminder of that fact.

In Colorado we have not treated marijuana harshly historically — now even less so. It is still a serious issue, however, that parents, teachers and many other community members do not appreciate being dismissed as unimportant.

DAN RUBINSTEIN
Chief Deputy District Attorney
Grand Junction

Channel 12 panel discussion on seasonal workers airs all of November

With immigration an ongoing topic in Congress, you may be interested in the local impact of seasonal workers in Mesa County. A recent panel discussion, organized by the League of Women Voters of Mesa County and the CMU sociology club, is available on Channel 12 and covers a variety of issues related to seasonal workers in our communities.

Panelists include facilitator Abigail Richardson, PhD, CMU assistant professor of sociology and faculty sponsor of the sociology club; Bruce Talbott, owner and operator of Talbott Farms; Molly Greenlee, Migrant Education program coordinator; Nicole Bernal Ruiz, Hispanic Affairs programdirector; Tom Acker, Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition board member; Julie Mamo, executive director of Grand Valley Peace and Justice; and Jerry Otero, regional director, office of U.S. Sen. Mark Udall.

Cable Channel 12 (Charter) is our local public access television, utilized to educate ourselves on events, people and our heritage here in the Grand Valley. The panel discussion on seasonal workers will be broadcast at 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily through November.

Watch and enjoy; then act and speak up locally for changes that keep our community fair, vibrant and strong.

TANYA TRAVIS
Spokesperson
League of Women Voters Mesa County
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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Michael Higgins’ on line-letter – “Obamacare now known for lie after lie after lie” – employs a dishonest definition of “lie” (properly, “an untrue statement made with intent to deceive”).

Nothing in the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) – as enacted on March 23, 2010 – required anyone who “liked their current health care plan” to change plans.  Rather, all policies then in-force were “grandfathered” – regardless of whether they complied with the ACA’s minimum coverage standards.  To suggest otherwise is to “lie”.

Likewise, nothing in the ACA required anyone to change doctors.  To suggest otherwise is to blatantly “lie”.

Similarly, according to the CBO and the Kaiser Family Foundation, the ACA “will lower premiums for the typical family . . . by $2500 per year”.  To deny that fact is to “lie”.

Unfortunately, the ACA failed to prohibit health insurers from “baiting and switching” previously “grandfathered” policies and/or from marketing non-compliant policies after March 2010 (which they knew would have to be upgraded or cancelled by January 1, 2014, but failed to so inform their trusting customers), and/or failed to require insurers to upgrade those policies into compliance rather than cancel them. 

The ACA also failed to require insurers issuing cancellation letters in 2013 to fully inform affected policyholders of their available options – leaving such details to state insurance regulators to oversee (and underestimating insurers’ “intent to deceive”). 

Higgins also deceptively distorts the concept underlying the ACA – which both expands and reforms the health insurance marketplace and entails no “big deception” as to “pre-existing conditions”.  Rather, the premiums (whether subsidized or not) paid by millions of new insureds will offset the actuarial “risk” of “pre-existing conditions” – if the “risk pool” includes sufficient numbers of healthier insureds.

Ultimately, Higgins’ “big deception” is “absolutely” admitting that “we need health reform”, without offering an honest alternative to “ObamaCare”.

Thus, Higgins is “now known for lie after lie after lie”.

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