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Letters to the Editor

April 02, 2010

Health care bill could lead to higher taxes



To the editor:

Whether you currently have medical insurance or not, the need for health care reform cannot be questioned. As Americans, we must realize that everyone has the right to agree or disagree with the bill that Congress has passed and recognize most people on either side are not acting like the few idiots that the media likes to focus on.

Having read the 21-page document filed in federal court asking for the revocation of the health care bill, one important issue became clear. The health care bill might be deficit neutral at the federal level, but it does so by shifting a significant part of the cost to the states, many that are already struggling with deficit budgets.

If I recall the recent headline in The Herald-Mail, 261,000 additional people will be covered by publicly provided health plans in Maryland. If, as stated in the papers filed in the suit, the federal government will pick up 67.64 percent of the cost of this expanded program, that will leave our states with having to come up with rest of the cost of this federally neutral bill. By 2011, the percentage of federal funding decreases to 55.45 percent.

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I cannot say if these figures apply to Maryland, but with recent layoffs and forced unpaid days off at the state level, the only way to cover the increased cost will be increased taxes at a time when having less disposable income is not what the economy needs. Interestingly, with a yearlong debate over this bill, I never heard anyone mention this impact at the state level.

The general thinking is the suit has no basis in law and will fail. That might be true. But our nine justices are human and if this case does reach the Supreme Court, will remarks about the court made at the State of the Union address come back to haunt the president?

Only time will tell what happens.

Clifford Lane
Hagerstown




Stricter penalties are needed for animal abuse



To the editor:

Lately, I have noticed, in growing alarm, the vast increase in animal cruelty acts in the Tri-State area. Three separate acts of abuse were documented in the Tuesday, March 30, edition of The Herald-Mail.

I will not compare animal life to human life, though it is tempting. What I will do is point out to our readers that life is life, that a heartbeat is a heartbeat and that barbaric acts that inflict harm on life should be punished.

Do we as a society value all life so little that we feel like it's OK to harm the defenseless creatures around us?

What if I, in a fit of rage, did something to hurt a screaming child? I'd be punished, incarcerated, shunned by society, forced to pay for emotional distress inflicted upon the family and so on. Why is it acceptable to neglect, harm, kill and torture animals? Many of us in our community have pets. What are we waiting for? Write to your local elected officials to demand stricter penalties in cases of animal abuse.

In these harsh economic times, don't take out your aggression on the defenseless animals in your community. These animals could be someone's best friend, child, family, support system, stress relief and love. I am ashamed to live in a community where so few people have reverence for animal life.

A. Rhianon Lightner
Hagerstown

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