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Putting lie to GOP fiction on health care

Heaven Sutt7 with her mother Ashake Banks. Heaven was killed Wednesday night caught gang crossfire her Austneighorhood.  |

Heaven Sutton, 7, with her mother Ashake Banks. Heaven was killed Wednesday night, caught in gang crossfire in her Austin neighorhood. | FAMILY PHOTO

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Updated: August 31, 2012 1:45PM



Now that the Affordable Health Care law has largely been declared constitutional by the Supremes, die-hard Republicans persist in resisting it despite its value to the nation and to the millions formerly shut out of access to medical care. It promises to make us a healthier nation, less burdened by fears of dying, or going bankrupt in case of catastrophic illness.

Always the mischief-makers, the Republicans continue to harp on the alleged cost burden. But the dirty little secret about medical-care costs is that we who are insured already pay extra to cover the mandatory emergency room care given free to the non-insured.

“Obamacare,” as the Republicans derisively called the act, corrects that problem by insuring essentially everyone. Which means insurers can afford to lower premiums without sacrificing their profit margins. This puts the lie to the GOP fiction that trillions in added costs shall bust the federal budget and comprise a new “tax” on taxpayers, as if there are no tradeoffs. In fact, the tradeoffs lie hidden in our existing way of paying for health care.

And further cost containments can be expected, once everybody is in the insurance pool — which is fundamental to the concept of insurance in the first place.

It’s hard to understand why the press has been so silent on both this aspect of the debate, and the fact that rising health-care costs outpacing inflation already threatened to undermine our economy anyway. The GOP likes to pretend these rarely acknowledged factors don’t matter, as they try to con voters, aiming only to deny President Barack Obama credit for any constructive initiative.

Reinvigorated federal sleuthing also is needed to catch more Medicare and Medicaid fraud to save millions of dollars.

Who knows? With progress like this, the U.S. may yet catch up with fellow nations overseas that deliver good health care to essentially all their citizens at less cost per person than we’ve traditionally been paying while serving a smaller percentage of our population. Call it pragmatism writ large.

Ted Z. Manuel,

Hyde Park

Medicare for all is the answer

While the Affordable Care Act will save many from dying for lack of health insurance, we still have a deadly health-care crisis. According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2016 and years following, the uninsured nonelderly will number at least 26 million.

Twenty-six million uninsured translates into 26,000 deaths a year for lack of health insurance. These needless deaths, if placed in a row of coffins, would every year stretch 30 miles — from Chicago’s Loop to Schaumburg!

Instead, we all could have health insurance under an improved Medicare for all ages. Let the needless deaths stop and Medicare for all begin!

Michael Brennan, West Ridge

Call in feds to curb violence

The murders of children because of Chicago gang violence are increasing without sign of abatement. Winter appears to be the only respite.

If we were dealing with child deaths from polio, tuberculosis or measles, a state of emergency would have been declared, along with a request for federal assistance.

Enough is enough. The anarchy being visited on Chicago’s poorest by the gangster psychopaths is beyond the control of a local civilian police department. Time to call in federal aid.

Peter A. Quilici, Skokie

Why we need Jimmy Carter now

Just when I think former President Jimmy Carter had faded from the world scene, he pops up and pens the brilliant and critically needed New York Times op-ed “A cruel and unusual record.”

Carter, who turns 88 on Sept. 1, still travels the world seeking peaceful solutions to the most intractable political problems, such as a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

To this human rights-loving American, his latest piece is almost too painful to read. Carter chronicles our catastrophic fall from championing passage of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights used by human rights activists and the international community to replace dictatorships with democracy and promote human rights and the rule of law. Since the September 11, 2001, attacks, the U.S. has abandoned 10 of the Declaration’s 30 articles.

How? By allowing indefinite detention or even targeted assassinations of persons, including American citizens, suspected of affiliation with terrorists organizations or “associated forces”; canceling restraints in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow wholesale violations of privacy rights; use of drone aircraft to bomb civilian dwellings in non-war zone areas that have killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children, and use of torture including waterboarding and intimidation tactics involving power drills, automatic weapons and sexual assault.

Carter didn’t mention U.S. policy of launching immoral, illegal and criminal wars of choice, but the millions of folks in the Middle East devastated by those wars would surely have added that little tidbit of U.S. inhumanity to mankind.

Carter has more moral courage and wisdom than any leader on the American political stage today. He continually holds up a mirror to show the grotesque caricature of a human rights beacon Uncle Sam has devolved into.

Sadly, we find that these atrocious policies have been institutionalized into our political culture, so much so that no one in the government or the media or the citizenry mentions them.

No one, that is, except James Earl Carter Jr. As painful as it is, every American with a heart and a soul should read Carter’s piece and ask whether this once great country has any future worth saving.

Though legally eligible, Carter is too old and too hated by the war and torture crowd to run for president. Maybe when the president is re-elected, he can appoint Carter to a new Cabinet post: secretary of the American conscience.

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn

Bishops should get on a bus and go home

As Carol Marin wrote about last Sunday, the Nuns On the Bus tour is two-week, 2,700-mile journey that the religious women are on showing how the poor are deeply affected by federal budget cuts but at the same time, in their wonderful quiet humility, showing the compassion and consistent service of our nuns to the needy.

Meanwhile, as Carol Marin mentioned, the bishops are investigating the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Sad to say Cardinal Levada has stated this could be a possible dialogue of the deaf that our sisters are not taking the Vatican concerns to heart. But I am wondering why the bishops didn’t hear the crying hearts of those children in Philadelphia who were left in endangerment as the monsignor, bishops and cardinal reassigned pedophile priests around their archdiocese.

Where was the listening ear toward the crying children of the Diocese of Kansas-St. Joseph where their bishop will be on trial soon for the very same thing?

As Carol Marin mentioned, and I have personally witnessed, “longstanding ovations have erupted in a grass-roots response in supporting the work of Women Religious.”

As it has been said, people vote with their vote and our laity have done that.

May I suggest to the investigating bishops of the LCWR that is time for them to get on their own buses and go home? Please stop the investigation and please go home and take care of our own People of God.

And with the result of the monsignor’s trial, the upcoming bishop’s trial and another lawsuit coming out of Joliet concerning another incident of child-abuse by a priest, as the Gospel tells us, it is time for us priests and bishops to take the plank out of our eye before removing the speck in our sister’s eye.

Rev. Larry McNally,

Oak Park



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