Letters to the Editor

December 15, 2009

GOP health care alternative is not a solid plan

To the editor:

I have read much about the so-called Republican alternative to Obamacare on the Opinion pages lately. And I am rather disappointed about those suggestions.

1. Tort reform - Great idea, I fully support that. We also need to abolish class-action lawsuits and punitive damages, and we need to introduce the "loser pays" rule (and let me add, if an attorney is paid out of the settlement, loser pays means attorney pays). One question though: Why - if it is so easy and beneficial - didn't the Republicans pass tort reform when they had a majority in both houses and a Republican president to support it? The Republicans are obviously not sincere about this.

2. Buying health insurance across state lines - There is nothing wrong with this suggestion except that it will have no net effect. The market forces will drive up prices in low-premium states and drive down prices in high-premium states. The average health insurance cost will remain the same.


3. Eliminating unnecessary tests/procedures - This suggestion is a bit nave, as it assumes that there is a sharp line separating the necessary from the unnecessary. Even if there was, I wonder who would actually determine on which side of the line a specific test/procedure would fall. Death panels come to mind. I am surprised conservatives are endorsing them ... But seriously, there is no sharp line. In any given medical case, there may be tests/procedures that are a) hugely beneficial at minimal cost, b) reasonably beneficial at reasonable cost and c) marginally beneficial at exorbitant cost. Clearly, we would like to consider the test/procedures in c) as "unnecessary" at some point, but at what point? Without precise guidelines on what "unnecessary" means, saying that we want to "eliminate unnecessary test/procedures" is gibberish.

4. Taxing health insurance premiums - Republicans never hesitate to increase the tax burden on ordinary, responsible, hardworking Americans, while giving the wealthy and freeloaders a break. This is another example. To make it worse, there doesn't seem to be a clear plan on how the tax revenue is to be applied to help uninsured Americans. Can I just cancel my health insurance and go to the government and say, "Hey, I'm uninsured, pay my health care bills?" Yes, Obamacare raises taxes, too, but Obamacare specifically targets those who currently do not pay their fair share of the nation's health care cost.

It seems to me that the Republican alternative is merely a decoy, designed to kill Obamacare - and then to die. I don't like Obama's health care plan either, but it is the only real "plan" we have.

Hans K. Buhrer


Paper's Hottest Man contest is laughable

To the editor:

Thanks to The Herald-Mail. I haven't had such a large laugh in a long time. I needed that.

Hagerstown's Hottest Man?


If, after living in this town all of my life and knowing of or about most of the parade of "hotties," I didn't know the backgrounds of most of them then it wouldn't be as laughable.

My vote goes to the gentleman who was raised by good parents; who assumed responsibility for the actions of their offspring and taught them the difference between right and wrong; who has shown respect for himself and all the people with whom he interacts on a normal basis; who treats not only the females, but the males in his life with not the self-absorbed type of ego that would allow himself to have his body put on display in the local newspaper, but would realize that he is forever framing himself as an object, not a being; who has a job; and who has a girlfriend or wife that he treats as an equal and gives her the right to say "no"; and finally, a man who knows his need of God.

Also, if there were a Hagerstown's Hottest Woman contest, the mindset of the people who are "yahooing" the men might have a different take on the females.

Shame on The Herald-Mail. Are you really that desperate to sell papers?

Harold Edward Wills


Money talks, but it also tells lies

To the editor:

Tim Rowland, our brilliant and underrated local columnist, wrote on Nov. 8 about the demise of world-class boxing and the decline of Major League Baseball (MLB), and thus of baseball as an American sport in general ("Money issues could make baseball a forgotten pastime," page A8).

He ascribed this to the failure of MLB to levy a team salary cap, thereby allowing the New York Yankees and their notoriously profligate owner, George Steinbrenner, to buy up an all-star team that could beat everybody and win the pennant and the World Series.

He was right. Steinbrenner is killing MLB, and the commissioner needs to stop it by imposing a team salary cap similar to the one that has worked so splendidly in the National Football League.

Tim could have pointed out the similarity to national politics. The Republicans, with their deep corporate pockets, are free to tell all sorts of outrageous lies, and the Democrats have to go begging to their constituents for enough money to answer up. Money talks, but it also tells lies.

Burr Loomis

Chambersburg, Pa.

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