Were it not for omissions and unsupported assertions, it would be heartening to read U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess’ praise of government-enacted healthcare plan. (See: “Medicare Part D is just good medicine,” Dec. 18) He omits the difficulties encountered in passing Medicare Part D, including threats to a congressman prepared to vote against it and threats to the Medicare actuary who wanted to reveal the program’s true costs.
It would be interesting to see any evidence that Part D decreased invasive procedures and overall medical costs. However, costs of Part D are less than estimated because of an increase use of generic drugs and because enrollment was less than expected. Costs could have been even lower if Medicare had been allowed to negotiate prices, as the Veteran Affairs department does. But this bit of the free market was too much for Republicans and their drug company allies.
While Burgess praises Medicare Part D’s alleged role in preventive care, he has not been so forthcoming with praise for true preventive care in the Affordable Care Act.
Although the Democrats believed that Part D was flawed, they were not obstructionists. I wish the same could be said for Burgess and the Republicans when it comes to the ACA.
— Franklin B. Gluck, M.D.,
Term limits needed
Political change is difficult where congressional districts are gerrymandered as in Texas. Winning a primary leads to victory in either Republican or Democratic districts. The system gives the incumbent advantage over any challenger. Even members of the incumbent’s party find it difficult to defeat him.
Here’s much wisdom: In a representative democracy, you get a better-functioning government if representatives are changed regularly.
Until we get term limits, I suggest everyone disgusted with the status quo in Washington vote in the party’s primary where change is needed most — for Texas Congressional District 6, the Republican primary.
Rep. Joe Barton will have served 30 years at the end of 2014. A vote for Frank Kuchar might bring about much-needed change; if so, citizens in District 6 get a different good man with fresh thinking from a different perspective.
— Glen E. Terrell, Arlington
Job for NSA workers
It appears that the National Security Agency will soon be forced to abandon its massive, world-wide, bulk collection of phone records. That’s a good thing.
But, alas, what will become of all the government employees involved in the project? They won’t be terminated because the government seldom terminates anyone.
Let’s put them to work tracking down and prosecuting companies that are violating the federal Do Not Call laws. The technology to track phone calls apparently exists.
— Larry McGuire, Crowley
U.S. not included
What do the following countries have in common?
Norway, 1912; New Zealand, 1938; Japan, 1938; Germany, 1941; Belgium, 1945; United Kingdom, 1948; Kuwait, 1950; Sweden, 1955; Bahrain, 1957; Brunei, 1958; Canada, 1966; Netherlands, 1966; Austria, 1967; United Arab Emirates, 1971; Finland, 1972; Slovenia, 1972; Denmark, 1973; Luxembourg, 1973; France, 1974; Australia, 1975; Ireland, 1977; Italy, 1978; Portugal, 1979; Cyprus, 1980; Greece, 1983; Spain, 1986; South Korea, 1988; Iceland, 1990; Hong Kong, 1993; Singapore, 1993; Switzerland, 1994; and Israel, 1995.
Answer: They all have government-sponsored or mandated universal healthcare. Please notice the wealthiest nation on earth, the U.S., is not included.
— Fred Darwin, Arlington
Obama signs up
How can anyone think that it is sensible or helpful that the president with unlimited staff and resources could only enroll for healthcare with the help of said staff?
Does anyone honestly believe that the article and the president’s actions were helpful, instructive or informative to Americans, or that it demonstrated the usefulness of the system?
Quite the contrary.
— Larry Clark, Granbury
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