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ACA and Apocalypse

Our readers write.

Rx for Debate

Why I oppose the Affordable Care Act ("Rx for Change," Editor's Notebook, August):

  1. The plan imposes the doctrine of community rating, in which all customers have to be offered the same rates, regardless of their health risks. This forces young people to pay far more than their actual cost, while subsidizing older patients.
  2. It allows companies to drop their coverage and substitute a payroll tax. Because healthcare costs are growing rapidly, most companies will dump their plans. It would likely cause between 4 and 6 million Americans to lose their employer-sponsored insurance.
  3. The public plan will be so heavily subsidized that Americans will tend to over-consume expensive medical services just the way they do now under regular Medicare. Only this time, the number of patients will be almost three times larger.
  4. The demand for health services will soar. But the government will keep a lid on prices, so Americans will be faced with rationing. Without more physicians, those receiving the extended insurance will not be able to find healthcare providers.
  5. The plan increases the cost of hiring workers without increasing their productivity. Employers will therefore have to either raise prices, lower wages, reduce or eliminate benefits (such as pensions or 401ks), hire fewer workers or all of the above. Employees will be the net losers under this mandate, with the low-skilled suffering most.
  6. It was passed nefariously. Obama promised a debate on C-SPAN that did not materialize. He promised that the bill would be online for five days before a vote. He swore it was not a tax to the American people and told the Supreme Court it was a tax. And Pelosi had the gall to say we have to pass the bill to know what's inside it.

Yes, there are delicious tidbits in the act. But I would rather see the bill repealed and have our government work on ways to improve the current system. Open insurance plans across state lines, bringing more competition and lowering rates. Reform frivolous lawsuits by making the loser pay all the costs. Open the market to cheaper drugs from Canada or Mexico. Give tax credits and other incentives to doctors who donate their services to the poor.

Lionel De Leon



Editor's note: While impressed with the specificity and thoughtfulness of reader De Leon's letter, we couldn't help wondering whether he knew what it was like to have to obtain his own health insurance — the theme of our editorial. His gracious reply from our followup email exchange is also worth sharing: "Yes, I had insurance when I worked for Verizon and today I have insurance through [my employer]. So I am one of the lucky ones, I agree (and see the argument from a different perspective than if I had to provide my own insurance).

"We definitely need some sort of healthcare reform and a means to take care of the less fortunate. I don't know what the best solution is, but I fear that this Affordable Care Act will end up just like all other government programs: the post office is defaulting, Social Security is unsustainable, Medicare/Medicaid is going bankrupt, government workers have benefits that are unrealistic and burdensome, etc. When the baby-boomers were the working class, there was a large tax-pool to draw from. As they move into the retirement age, the pool is shrinking and the nation is moving toward a fiscal cliff with no politicians on either side seeming to give a hoot.

"I don't mean to sound like a nay-sayer and hope that our nation can actually come up with a bipartisan health-care plan that helps those who need it most."

We would add only two points in response. One small factual correction: The Obama administration in fact argued before the Supreme Court that the mandate was not a tax; it was the Court that declared it a tax (thus preserving the mandate while not buying the Commerce Clause argument). And one larger truth: In our current hyperpartisan political system, regardless of who prevails in November it's highly unlikely that any alternative healthcare reform could pass. So the ACA, however flawed as reader De Leon argues, is the best we're likely to see. As people who don't have the luxury of employer-provided health insurance, we can't help but view it as an absolutely essential reform.



Thanks for the enlightening and informative article, "Rx for Change." I hope people who don't have to worry about their health insurance read it. We buy our own insurance and have concerns about our health care.

Jackie Blurton

Silver City KOA


During my childhood, I went to see a wrestling match with my cousins. Quite entertaining, but my dad let me know that the whole match was rigged. Good lesson for watching the world.

For decades we have had transportation and electric generating systems that pour astronomical amounts of toxic gas and minerals into our air, water and land. We have used toxic chemicals in "agribusiness" to avoid using proper farming methods and have put toxins in our food. We now let oil companies "frack" our municipal water supplies, turning them into toxic waste sites. We have been commercially encouraged to be gluttonous and physically inactive. When all of this causes illness, we go the "healthcare system" to get drugs to suppress our body's warning signals (like disconnecting a gauge that indicates a problem) and encourage degenerative diseases to start. (However, we continue a "war on drugs" in Mexico!) The one thing we don't do is to correct our ways and encourage good health.

Now we get a rigged wrestling match between "Obama/RomneyCare" and the Tea Party's "WhoCares?" healthcare plans. Both do nothing to improve our health. Both do nothing to reduce costs. Both leave folks with a very high cost of medical care. All of this occurs because it is "profitable" to a small number of people. I think I'll call it ObamaRomneyWhoCares? Wealthcare. Here's to your health!

Charles Clements

Las Cruces



Cooperation vs. Catastrophe

In the August issue of your very excellent newspaper, there was an interview conducted by Larry Lightner ("Doomsday Scenarios") in which Mr. Lightner spoke to three different men with basically the same point of view. The word "apocalypse" was tossed around without a sense of the true gravity of the word. I agree with these gentlemen that there is a very real possibility of very hard times ahead of us. Our financial system is teetering on collapse. Also, I agree that we must prepare for what lies ahead.

But I take exception with their "doomsday scenarios." Their approach to this looming possibility is to arm and isolate themselves. They are fearful someone is going to come to take their mac and cheese. Really? Would that be the best way to approach a situation as devastating as they put forth in their scenarios? I think not.

When a natural disaster happens somewhere, people with resources help the people who don't have resources. Cooperation and sharing becomes the humane response. If people choose to prepare for the very difficult times we face, those preparations should center on community cooperation. We have a much better chance of not only surviving but also leading fulfilling lives if we work together. Everyone has a talent that they can contribute. In return, people are fed, people have shelter. People share in the necessities of life, so the need for violence is stifled. I would freely share my mac and cheese.

If this catastrophic scenario indeed happens, how would you want to react to it? With fear and isolation or with humanity and cooperation? We all have choices to make. This one seems like a no-brainer to me. Peace.

Chris Aquino

Silver City




Let us hear from you! Write Desert Exposure Letters, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email letters@desertexposure.com. Letters are subject to editing for style and length (maximum 500 words, please), and must be in response to content that has appeared in our pages. Deadline for the next issue is the 18th of the month.



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