Published Friday, July 6, 2012 at 1:00 am / Updated at 3:32 pm
The Public Pulse, July 6

Taxpayers again left with tab

It seems Obamacare is just another example of the American taxpayers footing the bill for more financial irresponsibility.

When our government runs out of money, it doesn’t lay people off or take pay cuts. It raises taxes and cuts services.

When General Motors and Chrysler mismanage themselves into bankruptcy, taxpayers have to bail them out.

When our health care industry operates inefficiently — spending millions every year on sprucing up buildings instead of acquiring the latest technology, or performing unnecessary diagnostic testing to protect itself from lawsuits — once again the taxpayer is going to have to fix it.

Instead of finding more effective and efficient methods of caring for the elderly and chronically ill, it was easier to raise premiums on the younger and healthier sector and use that increase to pay for the growing costs of those who require more care.

In the interest of fairness, how about government employees at the local, state and federal levels contributing the same percentage of their premiums as the private sector? Then take the billions of dollars this would save and give it back to the taxpayers so they can afford insurance.

Troy A. Burress, Papillion

Paying for our own health care

Unless people were born at home, all of us have needed and received health care. Finally, our government is acknowledging this reality, and like it or not people with health care insurance have been paying for the health care needs of the uninsured.

The Affordable Care Act addresses these realities.

Marcia Shadle-Cusic, Omaha

Health care could boost taxes

I understand that when hospitals provide medical care to the uninsured, the cost is passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher insurance premiums to help pay for it. Socialized health care pays those same costs, but now the government controls how it gets paid by taxing us.

We can choose bankruptcy to avoid paying health care bills, but bankruptcy does not shelter us from the long arm of the IRS.

In order to pay for all of the Medicaid expansion, the government will end up being cold and calculating in determining when and if we receive medical care.

Mark A. Anderson, Omaha

Prepare us for health care law

I believe Gov. Dave Heineman isn’t doing his job. He’s not preparing Nebraska to be ready for the new health care laws.

He is not going to take the new Medicaid, which would help the people of this state, and he is not setting up the exchanges that have to be set up.

He is doing this because he believes this law will be overturned after the Nov. 6 election. But he also believed the U.S. Supreme Court would say the law was unconditional, and the court didn’t do that.

Our governor doesn’t appear to be for the people of Nebraska and is holding the party line on everything.

What has the governor done? He is hurting our state by doing nothing when he has a job to do that will help many of our citizens. This sort of partisanship has to go.

Kathryn Edwards, Omaha

DHHS works to build families

I believe a June 18 news story, “Outside Omaha, no ‘aftercare’ services,” incompletely described the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ commitment to families whose children are no longer state wards.

I feel strongly that it’s important for families to stay connected to services they received while their children were in our custody or to develop new relationships with community resources that can support them.

In fact, many families continue the very same relationships with community providers they had when their children were state wards, such as therapy, support for domestic abuse victims, addiction counseling and more.

Other families don’t use services right away but will at some point in the future for the well-being of their children. That’s why DHHS staff provide transition information about services when our custody ends — so families know that community services are available if needed.

When our custody ends, our direct involvement ends, but not our commitment to support families and keep kids safe.

The article mentioned Right Turn and Nebraska Family Helpline as helpful services. These and many other programs are funded by DHHS, yet delivered by community organizations. While we no longer have a formal relationship, a family can contact their former DHHS worker.

The article suggested aftercare services don’t exist outside Omaha because the department isn’t replicating a specific service provided by a contractor. The fact is that aftercare isn’t universally defined; it’s a system-of-care component that DHHS supports and funds.

We want families to succeed and be strong without the state having continued involvement in their lives. We’re funding these services because we believe it’s important to help families learn about and build relationships with community resources after their children leave our custody.

Isn’t that what our work is about?

Thomas D. Pristow, Lincoln

Director, Children and Family Services

Nebraska Department of HHS

Vets appreciate Cold War salute

I want to give The World-Herald a great big thank-you for honoring all of us Cold War veterans at the Home Run Derby and fireworks at TD Ameritrade Park.

I also thank the Hy-Vee stores for the picnic for all of us and our families. We all served our country because we wanted to. We did not expect any thanks or recognition, but you went the extra mile and gave us a great memory.

Dale Marples, Omaha

Kerrey’s wife not a Nebraskan

For those even remotely considering voting for Bob Kerrey for U.S. Senate, I would urge them to read his wife’s article, “The (Not So) Good Wife,” in the July issue of Vogue magazine.

In the article, Sarah Paley has only negative things to say about Nebraska and seems to have no plans to ever move to the state her husband wishes to represent. She apparently believes we all wear pant suits, spout anti-abortion slogans and carry guns.

Why in the world would we want someone who is so dismissive of us to be even peripherally representing us in Washington? She wonders if she will be a liability to her husband. Wonder no more; yes, she is.

Mary Virginia Corkle, Omaha

Politicians to follow same rules

Rancher Deb Fischer, a Republican running for Nebraska’s U.S. Senate seat, is one of the privileged few with a sweetheart deal on federal grazing leases, which amount to about $100,000 less than comparable leases in the private sector.

I find it ironic that of the five-member Nebraska congressional delegation, the only Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson, blew the whistle on this issue. Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., tried to justify these low fees by saying producers are required to maintain fences and wells and ensure adequate wildlife habitat.

To refute Sen. Johanns, one must remember only that before the white man settled this country, there was a lot more wildlife and no fences or wells, and the wildlife got along just fine.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

I believe reasonable people would agree that no one should receive subsidies like this. This can happen only when citizens elect politicians who don’t believe in fairness or take their fiduciary duties seriously.

G.R. Muhm, Ames, Neb.

Can’t get benefit and criticize it

My explanation for why Bob Kerrey has a problem with Deb Fischer leasing grazing land for less than market value contrasts with Mark C. Wallick’s July 1 letter.

Fischer is promoting herself as a fiscal conservative who believes we should keep the government out of our personal business and minimize welfare, health care involvement and government handouts in general.

She, however, is perfectly willing to put the $100,000 a year of savings from the government in her own pocket.

Kathy Peterson, Omaha

Pray for future of United States

America seems to be changing right before our eyes. Come January 2013, we may not recognize what we call home. So what can we do?

Pray, and on Nov. 6 go to the polls and vote. Take advantage of our right as citizens of the United States and do our patriotic duty. May God continue to bless America.

Joyce Hanson, Omaha

U.S. needs to care for its own

The United States gives nations with dictators millions. They buy weapons to kill their own and their neighbors. Then we spend billions to kill the dictators.

But when it comes to feeding and taking care of our own, we can’t afford that. I thought we were a Christian nation. Talk is cheap. Tell me, what would Jesus do?

Larry Allison Sr., Omaha

More assimilation is needed

People from diverse countries came to America long ago and created the “melting pot” of the world. They learned a common language and followed a process to be legal citizens.

They didn’t celebrate their heritage. They left it behind to celebrate the independence of their new identity as Americans.

Now, we are asked to celebrate our diversity and put up with constant requests to use either Spanish or English to communicate and to accept illegal immigrants as fellow citizens.

Is it any wonder that some of us resent this assault?

Wayne Smith,

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