There are many who consider access to "affordable health care" as an "unalienable right." Is it a "right" to expect health care providers to take a pay cut? Is it a "right" to expect the taxpayers to pay? Do we want the government to print enough money to cover this?
As a family physician, most of the chronic conditions for which I see patients are lifestyle-related -- obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking, etc. Everyone has the opportunity to choose a healthy lifestyle. Why should someone who is serious about their health pay for the complications of those who are not?
The primary issue in health care is its cost. Yet the most important component of excess cost has not been addressed, that of tort reform. I don't see any reform short of the English or Canadian rule of "loser pays" (the opponent's out of pocket costs) being effective in curbing the lawsuit abuse and defensive medicine which is rampant in our current system.
Another factor affecting cost are the insurance mandates at the state and federal levels. If these are eliminated, and insurance buyers are allowed to pick and choose what is covered and what is not, costs will decrease.
DAVID CLOSE, M.D
I take issue with several comments regarding the Chattanooga Bike Share program. I personally know people who make use of the bikes to run errands during the day while at work. I have seen people riding them on the Riverwalk. I have seen people riding them downtown and in North Chattanooga. I think any transportation method that encourages people to get out and exercise, reduces pollution and saves energy is a good use of taxpayer money.
The initial startup costs and operating budget for the first year were funded through a federal transportation grant with some local funds. The goal is to be self-sufficient with revenue coming entirely from rental and annual subscriptions.
I would also point out that automobile use is heavily subsidized by the government. So if you consider Bike Share to be an aspect of mass transportation, a human-powered one, then it's not unexpected that it may require some additional support.
Rather than advocating removing people from office who supported the Bike Share program, I believe we should thank them for their forward-leaning vision, their leadership in continuing to make Chattanooga a sustainable city and the national recognition that Chattanooga has received.
This is a metaphorical critique of Cliff Hightower's non-fiction story, "City delays action on housing resolution," (Sept. 12).
After Dorothy led the Mayor and Minister of Munchkin Land out of the legislative chambers of White Diamond City, Jane Crow sang, "Caw! Caw," from the shoulder of the Scarecrow and the curtain surrounding the sanctorum of political pontification fell to the floor. The clamorous crassness of Jane Crow caught the ear of the Cowardly Lion who dropped his head and purred.
The Tin Man added his guttural tenor voice to the cacophonic chorus, while the Wizard remembered his most monophonic dictum: Not in my district. Then following the advice of the Scarecrow, the sanctum's whole choir doubled the time needed to search for harmonious excuses to do nothing. But on the Westside, Munchkins were singing, "There's no place like home," as they released a hot air balloon.
Cast: Dorothy, Courtney Knapp; Mayor, Joyce Hardwick; Minister, LeRoy Griffith; Jane Crow, Sally Robinson; Scarecrow, Mike McMahan; Tin Man, Peter Murphy; Cowardly Lion, Manny Rico; Wizard, Jack Benson.
PHYLLIS THOMAS, Minister of Social Work, Renaissance Presbyterian Church
Many thanks to Mary Headrick, candidate for Congress, for supporting the barge owners' request to increase the marine fuel tax that barge owners pay in order to generate new funding for the locks at Chickamauga Dam (article, Sept. 8). Mary would also fight for a long-term funding solution to lock construction and maintenance, including a federal block grant and the sale of low-interest government bonds.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is against the barge owners' request and all other efforts to secure new funds for the locks. He's signed a pledge sponsored by some Washington bigwig lobbyist not to raise taxes regardless of the benefits to Tennesseeans. Chuck won't even honor billionaire Warren Buffett's request to increase federal taxes on all billionaires.
Mary Headrick is a well-informed, common-sense candidate, physician and carpenter who understands the economic benefits to Tennesseans of moving goods on the river. She also supports Buffett's request for a higher federal tax rate for billionaires. After all, why should secretaries and many of the rest of us pay higher tax rates than billionaires?
Please vote for Mary. She pledges to work for the people in the 3rd District, not Washington bigwigs.
HORACE BARKER, Hixson
Isn't it awful that these nice people are forced to listen to prayers all the time? They should be able to go anywhere they want and not have religion pounded on their heads.
When they pull their American money out of their pockets, they see "In God We Trust" on it. Driving down the road, they see churches and crosses everywhere. In Washington, D.C., they see biblical quotes on public buildings.
Maybe we should just do away with all these things. It would make people who hate God and the name of Jesus Christ happy. Away with all those Christians who want to worship their God!
I could quote the Constitution and say that the church and state should be separate, but try as I might, I cannot find the wording there! But of course! It came from the Supreme Court in the early 1960s. No one stood up to their opinion.
The Supreme Court does not make laws. It just renders opinions on laws, so who is to blame for this opinion standing? We the people?
Fact is, we will all die one day. Then what? Read Psalm 9:17.
NELL MOSES, East Ridge
Recently in Pakistan an 11-year-old Christian girl with Down's syndrome and her mother were imprisoned for burning pages of a Muslim school textbook. This episode also caused Christian neighbors to flee their homes fearing for their lives. Such repulsive behavior is not something new for the righteous Muslims. I don't know why a poor little girl would incite Muslims by burning their religious school textbook, but I do know they look for the opportunity to create awe and fear amongst those who have a different religious orientation. They believe it's their religious duty to defend and protect Allah and his religion. In fact, they lack the sense of reflection and reasoning when it comes to their religion. To them everything religious is divinely revealed and infallible.
So often our religious convictions cause us to be mean and intolerant toward our fellow human beings, forgetting what the divine being truly requires from us: "To do justice and love kindness and to walk humbly with him."
I wonder how anyone's spirituality can be damaged just because someone burned the pages of their religious textbook!
AMOS TAJ, Ooltewah