published Friday, July 6th, 2012

Court ruling seems to go two ways and other Letters to the Editors

Court ruling seems to go two ways

Surprisingly, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts, a Bush appointee, became the swing vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

I can't take issue with much of the case law underlying the court's decision. One question, though. How can the court rule the payment for not having required insurance is a penalty, not a tax (thus allowing the court to make a ruling by exempting it from the Anti-Injunction Act), while simultaneously ruling the mandate is constitutional by treating the payment as a tax under Article I of the Constitution rather than a coercion into a commercial transaction, and thus a violation under the court's interpretation of the commerce clause? It seems the court has ruled the government can have its cake and eat it, too.

By the government's argument (and the Supreme Court's ruling), the ACA is in fact a tax, mainly one on the lower-income middle class who doesn't carry health insurance and doesn't qualify for government subsidies. How does President Obama justify the ACA with his campaign promise to not increase the tax burden on those in the middle class?

One thing I think we can all agree on: It will certainly be an interesting topic of discussion during this election season!


AMA unit limits number of doctors

The article "A mixed diagnosis for doctors in overhaul" (June 29) quotes an AMA official saying, "Without the assurance that Medicare payments will be adequate, fewer people will go into medical practice."

However, it's the AMA's own Council on Medical Education and Hospitals that limits the number of doctors by limiting medical school enrollment.

Every year many more qualified medical school applicants are turned away than are accepted into medical school. The AMA argues they are assuring quality students, but it's not about standards. It's about limiting the number of medical students to limit the number of doctors.

The AMA is a strong trade union that has created a shortage of overpaid doctors and a shortage of medical care for the rest of us. That's why we must book an appointment weeks or months ahead, just to then wait hours to see a doctor for a few minutes and pay out the nose. Health care in industrialized nations without the AMA is better and less expensive. Don't buy the propaganda, talk to people from other industrialized nations. U.S. health care is so bad, sober-minded people think the government can do a better job.

WILL SANDS, Harrison

Starnes has proper qualities for bench

Hamilton County voters have the opportunity to elect a competent and outstanding individual, Gary Starnes, as General Sessions Court judge. Gary possesses the experience, qualifications and qualities necessary to serve as judge. Before opening his own law firm in August of 1993, Starnes practiced law with the Spears, Moore, Rebman & Williams law firm for six years. He frequently serves as a special judge in the Chattanooga City Courts and in the General Sessions Court, which office he is currently seeking.

His combined experience of 26 years handling complex civil cases gives him the knowledge to make sound decisions. He has managed his law firm with honor, dignity, and puts in countless hours seeking what is best for his clients, while never losing sight of his family or community. He is an active supporter of the Children's Advocacy Center, Chambliss Children's Home, and the Shepherd's Arm Rescue Mission, and a member of Stuart Heights Baptist Church.

The Chattanooga Firefighters Association and International Brotherhood of Police Officers have formally endorsed Starnes for General Sessions Court judge. Gary has the energy, experience, knowledge, loyalty and work ethic to make the judicial process as efficient as possible for Hamilton County. Please vote for Gary Starnes as our next General Sessions Court judge.


Cyclists must be responsible

In response to "Enjoy Riverpark, but beware bikes," (letter, June 30); bikes themselves are not the problem; it's bike-riders who have no concern for the safety of others.

It is shameful and a tragedy this lady's experience on the wonderful Riverpark turned into a painful and expensive injury. Some riders think the Riverpark is some type of race track and become a danger to others.

These riders think they can yell out "on-your-left" and pass anyone at reckless speeds. The posted speed limit for bikes on the Riverpark is 3-5 miles/hour. Park rangers should do a better job enforcing these speed limits. In fact, Rangers should start patrolling the Riverpark on bikes themselves, like the Chattanooga police bicycling downtown.

Also, the offending biker should have been immediately stopped, identified, cited and made to pay restitution for the lady's injury. People should immediately call the police or the park rangers when such reckless endangerments or injury occur.

I have ridden the Riverpark for many years and have never seen an accident; so, I can hopefully think this type of accident is very rare.

However, bikers need to be constantly responsible and not reckless; and there is a need for greater scrutiny by park rangers when bikers do become reckless.


'Equus' production solid in all areas

I am an admitted theater snob. I love the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera and the Tivoli and have supported these for years.

I found myself at Barking Legs to see the production of "Equus." To say it was amazing doesn't say enough. The acting was superb all the way around, set design was brilliant! The nudity was so well done and such an integral part of the story. I have changed my mind about local theater and so stunned that we have this caliber of productions in Chattanooga!

I am a convert and look forward to more outstanding productions -- so well done!


Hoss is driven to be fair, honest

I support Bryan Hoss as the new judge in Soddy-Daisy. Having known Bryan for over 20 years, I have a good understanding of who he is. As a classmate, a teammate and a friend, I have never met someone who is more passionate about what they do and driven to be fair and honest with everyone he encounters. Never has there been a deadline Bryan hasn't met. Not only does Bryan show passion and great drive, but he has both the experience needed and is a great character builder for others as well.

Bryan's work as a lawyer for the past 12 years offers the experience that Soddy-Daisy deserves. Bryan also has the ability to make someone want to be the best person they can be. I believe that when Bryan is on the bench, he will have all parties feeling as if they will be better people no matter what their reason for being in his court room.

Over 40 years of having an out-of-town judge, Soddy-Daisy needs to continue that tradition by putting Bryan Hoss on the bench!


Lasley maintains a balanced life

As a lifelong resident of Soddy-Daisy, I feel it is extremely important that we elect someone for city judge who is not only knowledgeable, impartial, fair-minded and compassionate but who also has a vested interest in the well-being of our community. In my opinion, this person is Marty Lasley. I have known Marty for most of his life, first as a lively preacher's kid at Oak Street Baptist Church, through his years at Soddy-Daisy High School, and later as an eager young law student.

For the past 25 years, Marty has distinguished himself as a top-notch attorney with a well-documented record, unsurpassed by any of his opponents for this position. Most impressive to me, however, has been his ability to maintain a balanced life while excelling in his chosen profession.

Despite his success, Marty has been able to maintain an attitude of servant-hood to his Lord and his fellow man, his devotion to his family, his keen sense of humor, and his undying love for his hometown. That's the sort of person I want to see as Soddy-Daisy City judge. I hope that you agree!


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anniebelle said...

Yes Mr. Paul, when Americans who have been here-to-fore willing to let pundits and President Obama-haters define what is actually in the ACA, they will wonder why they were told all these lies about their health care. This will in actuality affect about 2% of our population who have the funds to pay for insurance and choose to freeload on the healthcare system. NO ONE other than the freeloaders will be 'taxed' as you choose to call it. 50 Million people in this country who have no health care and no funds to provide insurance for their families will finally live in a country that believes health care is a right not a privelege and those of us who pay, through our insurance premiums for their showing up all over this country in our emergency rooms, will not be squeezed any longer. Don't let other people tell you lies about something so important to this nation and our people.

July 6, 2012 at 7:15 a.m.
riverman said...

Now that's funny, a liberal Democrat like anniebelle worrying about, "freeloaders." How about the," freeloaders," on welfare, food stamps and public housing Annie Pooh?

July 6, 2012 at 10:19 a.m.

Oh, the level of misunderstanding regarding this topic is simply unbelievable and sad. First, unless you have been living under a rock recently, you would realize it is not the author who has dubbed the ACA penalty a tax, but rather the Supreme Court of the United States. In fact, in a rather clear majority opinion (or have you not read it?), the court found that the only way it could be Constitutional is if it was a tax.

And, more importantly, let's address this grossly inaccurate "2% freeloader....50 million people" statement (because it is also clear that you have not read the ACA, either). The ACA requires all individuals and families carry health insurance. Those that do not, regardless of reason, are taxed when they file their return at the end of the year. Thus, the act affects the entire US population financially; the question is simply to what degree. Before we run and say that low to middle class families who previously could not afford insurance are suddenly covered, it is vital that we understand exactly what the act provides for in terms of subsidies (which, it is evident from both this forum and the public discussion most do not understand). The act provides percentage subsidies based upon a family's financial position relative to the federal poverty level (for a family of four, that is currently $23,050 annually). The act only provides 100% subsidies for those families and individuals at or below 133% of the poverty level (or $30,657 in the above example). (And I don't know about you, but I have a family of four, and we would be hard pressed to make ends meet at $30k/yr). Therefore, anyone above this level not currently paying for insurance will face an effective tax, either in the form of a penalty for opting out of the insurance mandate or in the form of increased out of pocket expenditures by purchasing health insurance without 100% subsidies. Furthermore, these subsidies are tax credits the government will pay families once a year when they file their return, not on a month to month basis. So, the actual monthly budget impact could be substantial for some families.

Please, it is best to research a topic before espousing a woefully inadequate understanding.

July 6, 2012 at 2:29 p.m.
riverman said...

But Independent, I thought Owebama said no one making under $250,000 would have their taxes raised. I didn't major in math, but it appears to me that $30,000 is less than $250,000. But once again, never confuse a liberal with the facts.

July 6, 2012 at 3:38 p.m.
anniebelle said...

On the other side of difficulties with health care messaging, Jay Carney told reporters in a gaggle en route to Ohio that, despite the taxation clause majority opinion by the Supreme Court, the ACA is a penalty, not a tax. From the transcript: MR. CARNEY: But if I could just add as a matter of policy, it is simply a fallacy to say that this is a broad-based tax. That's not what the opinion stated that was authored by the Chief Justice. The Affordable Care Act is constitutional under Congress's taxing authority, but this is clearly a penalty that affects less than 1 percent of the American population. And it is a penalty you only pay as a matter of choice, if you're in that 1 percent and you can afford health insurance but choose not to and therefore choose to pass the responsibility for your health care to every other American, which I would note that Governor Romney, when he was governor, thought was unfair and therefore instituted a penalty -- and clear the President does, too, which is why the penalty that's part of the Affordable Care Act was modeled very much on what Governor Romney implemented in Massachusetts. Q: Does the President believe that the mandate can be a penalty on the state level but a tax on the federal level? MR. CARNEY: Look, it's a penalty. It affects 1 percent, and perhaps less, of the population. It is a — I don't know about you, but you don't get to choose whether you pay your income taxes — most people don't. I certainly don't. This is not a tax in that sense at all. It is a penalty you pay if you fail to buy health insurance but can afford it. And the reason why the penalty is important is that it's simply not fair to get a free ride and force other — every other American to pay for your health care if you can afford it. So that's why it was the right approach when it was implemented in Massachusetts and it's the right approach as part of the Affordable Care Act.

July 6, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.
riverman said...

This is just unbelievable, you liberals must live in a fantasy world. Here are the facts, if it is a tax it is upheld by the SCOTUS. If it was not a tax,it would have been overturned. Your ambulance chaser argued on the second day that is was a tax. Have you libs ever taken a reading comprehension course?

July 6, 2012 at 5:02 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Is the mandate fair or is it repressive? Is it a tax or is it a penalty? These are absurd questions that shouldn't even be brought into the discussion. But they exist in the first place because conservatives are so inistent that our health coverage be treated like a commodity and sold on the free market, as if it were just another widget, or a pair of shoes or a pack of gum.

The health care of the citizens of this country needs to be taken out of the private sector all together. It is an essential service that is too integral a part of the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of every American. It is a right, not a privilege, that every individual and family should have, regardless of income or station in life.

Until we take it out of the hands of private businesses whose only intent is to increase profits at all costs and who care not one iota that 50 million Americans cannot afford or do not qualify for their exorbitantly priced insurance, we will continue to have inane arguments about what is really nothing more than a matter of semantics.

July 6, 2012 at 5:53 p.m.
Livn4life said...

Wow Rickaroo, you really really must just be living in the wrong country. The health care of this country DOES NOT NEED to be in the hands of an inept government. Why anyone cannot realize the government will be inept at running this. Then what, oh new mandates and Taxes/Not Taxes/Penalties will ensue. This is only the beginning. As for just whom will be affected, just wait and see how they, what's the Eric Holder term, oh yeah inadvertently underestimated who all would be impacted. This is just like those Obama voters underestimated how he'd interpret no tax increases for those making less than was that not originally $125,000.00. I am amazed that anyone believed such campaigning nonsense.

July 6, 2012 at 6:38 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Baseless rhetoric.

July 6, 2012 at 8:55 p.m.
anniebelle said...

I also remember when Medicare was first introduced to this country. There was also millions spent on ads to try to stop it, it was going to ruin our country, Ronald Reagan even had an infamous ad against elderly people receiving quality health care. Turns out it just happens to be one of the most efficient and effective programs this country has ever provided it citizens. Just be careful with the ones that would have you believe this ACA is somehow detrimental to this country, just the opposite.

July 7, 2012 at 5:42 a.m.
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