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Greater infringement

"Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care," said Idaho's U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador. Representative Labrador later explained his meaning: People who do not have health insurance and are in danger of dying can always go to the emergency room for medical services.

Representative Labrador is absolutely correct. But that is exactly the problem. Providing modern medical care is a social good. To fulfill their function, medical facilities must be available 24/7/365 whether they are being used or standing idle. The people who use them without having medical insurance or otherwise paying are free-riding on the people who do pay.

Forcing potential free riders to buy health insurance is no more onerous than requiring people who buy gasoline to pay an excise tax to maintain the roads (roads are another social good).

The only ways to stop potential medical facility free riders is to either turn them away and let them die, subsidize them, or require them to buy insurance.

As it turns out, requiring people who do buy health insurance to pay for the free riders is probably a greater infringement on their liberty than requiring the free riders to bear their fair share of the medical costs.



A drawn-out process

My wife and I were married in 2013 after recovering from the grief of losing our spouses. She is a nuclear physicist specializing in medical radiology, a Polish national, and the love of my life. After going through the intensive (and expensive) process of obtaining her permanent residency card, two years later we had to renew her status by proving that our marriage was indeed legitimate. To that end we supplied the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with documentation of our joint banking account, home mortgage, joint tax returns, car insurance, and letters from friends and family attesting to our relationship.

We waited more than a year for their determination, only to be informed that we are still deemed guilty of a fraudulent marriage because we did not adequately prove our innocence. We are now gathering more letters, credit-card statements, and financial documentation, along with the other flotsam and jetsam of a life together such as library cards, dental-care receipts, and U.S. Tennis Association and AARP memberships to reinforce our case.

We are also dealing with the outrage of being unjustly accused and the anxiety that comes with thoughts of "what if this goes badly wrong?"

We have found something positive in this experience, though. If anyone has doubts about the power of the USCIS and the rigor of their vetting process, please take comfort in the fact that the "metaphorical wall" that immigrants must climb to enjoy U.S. citizenship is high enough to disrupt even the lives of 68-year-old retirees.

Is this a great country or what?


Hot Springs Village

Role of government

Our federal government should get out of the business of insurance. It should get out of any and all business.

That is not the function of our government according to the Constitution. Law is.



Medical-care delivery

Ruud DuVall concluded his "Medical care's a right" letter by contending, "We have a moral and legal obligation to provide everyone with medical care."

After having implied that we should all be covered by a single-payer system such as Medicare, he laments that in our Medicare system "... the government pays, but the marketplace does a poor job of controlling medical costs," and contends that "[w]e must regulate it, and pay for it from general revenue. If we do this, our medical care will cost less than we pay now, and you will pay less in taxes for medical care than you currently pay for medical insurance."

I might have agreed with Mr. DuVall 60 or more years ago, when socialistic ideas seemed attractive to me, and before I realized that implementation of those ideas is often accompanied by unintended consequences.

Implementation of a scheme to control costs of providing medical services by governmental edict (i.e., regulation) would undoubtedly ultimately result in (1) lower quality of services rendered, (2) reductions in research and development of innovations, and (3) gradual moving of the brightest and best minds from medical services to fields less regulated.

The capitalistic marketplace has its shortcomings, but really seems to be the only vehicle by which a society can enjoy the best of products and services at fair prices--in an economy where both individuals and entrepreneurs are well-rewarded for effort, innovation, and investment in production of needed goods and services.


Little Rock

Feeling hopelessness

I think Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor of Arkansas, needs to be impeached. I believe there is a hidden agenda to re-incorporate all of the Jim Crow laws in Arkansas. Arkansas has always been backward but at least you were hopeful for progress. However, with Hutchinson's administration, it seems it is a feeling of hopelessness and no progress.

I think the ultimate game-changer was when Hutchinson proudly scheduled four black inmates and four white inmates to be executed even though reportedly only one inmate wanted to die. I am not talking about what the inmates did or did not do; I'm talking about the theater of the whole process. The message was loud and clear to me: "Arkansas will kill black boys just like an animal." I think Arkansas has the worst public education system ever, horrible job growth, but Arkansas can kill.

Also, I am ashamed to say there are 21st century Uncle Toms; I believe this is part of why Arkansas is backward.



Editorial on 05/10/2017

Print Headline: Letters

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