Reader letters, March 22

Mar 24, 2017

Child victims show courage in court

To the editor:

This is in response the to story in last week’s paper titled, “Rape rap avoided with plea deal.”

For a child to come forward about sexual abuse takes tremendous courage. For a child to take the stand in front of the perpetrator and 12 strangers takes super-human strength.

That is what our current system asks of children who seek justice.

The child in this case showed super-human strength by facing the man who did such horrible things to her.

Unfortunately, for most people, the truth is too hard to believe. It is easier to believe that things like this don’t happen to children.

We, as a society, and as future jurors, need to be more informed on the complicated dynamics of child sexual abuse. We need to listen with compassion to any child who comes forward with the deepest, darkest secret of their lives.

For the professionals who worked with this child, and for professionals who work with these types of cases every day.

Thank you for what you do and for who you are for these kids. This child and all children who are abused are my heroes and they deserve our utmost respect and adoration.

Paige Gilliland

Clyde

There is much at stake in healthcare debate

To the editor:

If you pay attention to any kind of news reporting, you have heard about the issues surrounding the moves that are being made in Congress and supported by President Trump to repeal and replace the ACA, more commonly known as Obamacare.  This issue is personal for me because my sister will be without healthcare soon unless a very generous program replaces the ACA.  After reading Paul Ryan’s proposal, it doesn’t appear that is part of the GOP plan.

My younger sister has severe rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.  She is also 62 years old with low income.  Her position as an adjunct faculty art teacher in a junior college as well as teaching art classes at a local nonprofit do not provide employer-based health insurance.  Her medications, necessary to keep her from becoming crippled from the arthritis and enabling her to breathe, would be unaffordable without insurance.  She has been able to purchase health insurance supported by subsidies through Obamacare.  Regular healthcare and medications for her conditions have enabled her to keep working and remain a productive member of society.

Under the GOP’s “American Health Care Act,” older Americans can be charged up to five times the amount of a policy for younger individuals.  The subsides to buy health insurance will not be based on income and are much less than those offered with the Affordable Care Act.  My sister will not be able to afford the increased premiums so will have to drop her coverage.  Dropping her coverage will further penalize her if she tries to purchase insurance again.  Healthcare savings accounts will be useless to her as she has no money left over after paying her basic bills.

When you are struggling to put food on the table and can barely afford the one bedroom apartment you live in, having extra money to put into a tax-free medical savings account is a joke.  In addition, paying for medical services and medications without insurance coverage puts the individual healthcare shopper in a position of paying more for services just because they are paying the posted prices, not the lower prices negotiated with insurance companies.

Most people agree that the ACA needs improvement.  My sister’s rates have increased every year, and she has had to change plans each year to afford the premiums.  This means she must change physicians also.  Moderate income folks find the Silver or Gold plans unaffordable, as they don’t qualify for subsidies.  Lower priced (Bronze) plans have huge deductibles and co-pays, which makes them as unaffordable as the more expensive plans when you need healthcare.

My sister finds plan selection difficult, as they vary widely in coverage and available physicians.   Solutions to these issues are not being addressed in the replacement plans proposed by the GOP.  Unfortunately, access is about to get less affordable and even more limited if you are low to moderate income and especially if you are older.

And now the CBO has told us that in the next 10 years, 24 million Americans will be without healthcare if the ACA is trashed and the American Health Care Act is adopted.  Older and low income Americans are at the greatest risk.  I do not understand how Congress and President Trump can tell the constituents they have been elected to serve that this legislation will benefit them.  And what do they think will happen when millions of folks lose their healthcare?  Do they care about the real suffering that will occur?

Under the GOP plan, insurance companies will not be forced to provide coverage for mental health treatment or drug addiction.  They will not be required to utilize a high percentage of their fees for healthcare provided.  In other words, Americans will pay more and get less.  How can they think that Americans will view this is a “good deal” for them?

I have lived in Scotland and have several friends in Canada.  It always amazes me that every other developed nation on our planet provides their citizens with adequate healthcare irrespective of their income or employment.  My friends and acquaintances in these countries do not have excessive wait times for surgical procedures or to see a physician for a health problem.  They are all very satisfied with their healthcare and do not see it as a liberal or conservative issue.  They consider providing healthcare simply the right thing to do, and can’t imagine living in a country where affordable healthcare access isn’t available to all.

Kathie Johnson, RN

Waynesville